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« Book Suggestions for Black History Month | Main | Contempt »

How Are You Doing?

By Ken Poland
February 17, 2013

Incomes are flat in recovery, but not for the 1%. Incomes rose more than 11 percent for the top 1 percent of earners during the economic recovery, but not at all for everybody else, according to new data.

I'm not a research economist and I don't pretend to say the above is accurate to the nth degree. But as I observe the situation around me, I'm inclined to put a little trust in those figures.

The big farmers have gotten bigger, the small farmers have pretty much folded and become 'hobby' farmers. The total number of economic farm units have steadily decreased. Is that decrease an indication that the middle farm income units are losing while the biggest units are gaining? When will this trend end?

The 'mom & pop' entrepreneurs have, essentualy, dissappeared in the business world. Small companies have been swallowed up by bigger companies and those bigger companies have been forced to merge with conglomerate holding corporations. The compensation for the top level management of those merged entities have steadily increased while the floor level management and line workers have even been decreased in total compensation and benefits. Those decreases may not be reflected in paychecks, but the essentials those paychecks are expected to cover have increased.

When is enough enough? The 'scrooges' at the top refuse to acknowledge the depravity of the destitute, pay survival wages, and make equitable health care and retirement available to those at the bottom. Many of them cling to the mantra that they made it on their own and everyone else can do the same. Sure, some of them appear to have done just that. But, for most of them, they have enjoyed generations of inheritance and special privilege of family and wealth. Hope, education, and opportunity is not equally available to all economic levels.

Does the millionaire need more millions? Is civilization best served by the survival of the fittest? Without economic and social regulation, the greedy nature of man allows individuals to ignore basic needs of others. Oh yes, we like to think that 'good' will overcome 'evil'. This appears to be the hope of Christianity and all of mankind. But, the historical reality is, in this world and in this time, it doesn't. Without some kind of social enforcement of conscience, things just go from bad to worse.

If we don't come to terms with the political divide over economics and we fall off the fiscal cliff, as has been predicted, who will be most apt to survive economically? Who will not be able to hold on long enough to retain their investments and style of living? Will the millionaires have to liquidate all their savings and business holdings to provide the basic essentials for their daily living? The top tier will most likely be able to absorb more of the bottom tier's business holdings, thus leaving them in a stronger position to see bigger profits, if and when the economy does recover.

Third world nations have always had a few ultra wealthy and a multitude of survivors, hoping for enough to maintain their existence from day to day. Is that what we want in the U.S., today? If it isn't, then we had best figure out an equitable way to share the wealth of this country. We had best figure out an equitable way to finance our government to protect the lives and investments of everyone. The life and investment of the millionaire is no more sacred than the life and investment of the pauper.

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