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On Wealth Disparities

April 17, 2012

Minimum wage today has been shown to be lower than minimum wage was in 1968, adjusted for inflation. From a policy perspective, it’s incredibly silly that minimum wage isn’t automatically indexed to inflation in the first place. Unfortunately, none of the people on minimum wage can afford their own lobbyists to broadcast messages about the class war that’s hurting their clients, and so stories like this frequently fall through the cracks.

… So I’ll just have to temporarily put on my “Lobbying for the Poor” hat and give a look at the state of being poor in America today.

The Buffet Rule couldn’t even make it through the Democratically-controlled Senate. Mitt Romney, presumptive GOP presidential nominee, was recently caught discussing the complete elimination of the Department of Housing and Urban Development as one of his first moves if he gets elected. Obama has been criticized for wanting to reduce wealth disparities when under this administration tax levels have remained at record lows across the board. Moronically deflated capital gains taxes allow the wealthy to pay far lower tax rates than (quite literally) EVERYONE else. Pro-life conservatives are all abuzz about cutting all planned parenthood funding should a Republican win the presidency, even though only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s activity is in any way related to abortions, ensuring that the already limited access that low-income women have to affordable family planning and healthcare will only become less and less available. All this is happening, and the pundits and Republican leadership continue trying to tell us – get this – that there’s a class war going on. Not only that, they’re seriously telling us that the victims are *rich* people. This is actually a thing. They’re saying it over and over and over again and some people actually believe it. This is slightly terrifying.

If a marginally equalized tax burden on rich people is class warfare, then I’m a class warrior. The real class war is by the rich and for the rich, and that’s why these people pay so much lower taxes in the first place. Until 1981 the top tax bracket paid an income tax rate of 70%, whereas the current debate is about whether or not to raise it from 35% to 39.6%, a comparatively tiny shift. The real problem is that the rich also own all the metaphorical megaphones in our society, and it has resulted in the broadcasting of the idea that rich people are victims in this so-called “class war.”

If there’s any single thing that should be painfully obvious about America, it’s that, in America, any semblance of a class war on the rich has become a virtual impossibility. The entire system is designed to be rigged in their favor, and they spend what are, to the layman, unfathomable sums of money lobbying to rig it even more so that we, the public, who are supposed to be in control of the democratic process, can’t even see them rigging it, let alone un-rig it all.

I’m no posterchild for the Occupy movement, but if you follow and understand what’s been going on in the annals power and you’re not angry right now, you’re probably missing the point.

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From → Economics, Politics

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