The few who understand the system, will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on its favors that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantages… will bear its burden without complaint, and perhaps without suspecting that the system is inimical to their best interests. — Rothschild Brothers of London communiqué to associates in New York June 25, 1863
Is it me, or has the blatant disregard for the lesser people economically in the society, to the advantage of the well-to-do, become more painfully obvious of late? Of course, it’s been around a long while in the United States; I’ve seen the Gilded Age mansions. But in recent decades, income inequality is not just on the rise, but in full gallop mode.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on April 9, 2015. Among the topics she talked about was the inability of our federal government to lower the interest on student loans – the outstanding debt jumped to $1.3 trillion in 2014 from $1.2 trillion, an increase of $100 billion in one year – because the Republicans blocked it, citing that the Congressional Budget Office does not use “fair-value accounting” to measure risk. But for reasons she explains, this is a bogus argument.
Moreover, if the crushing burden of student loans were lifted, these people could be buying houses, and other goods and services, stimulating the economy. Meanwhile, the financial industry is getting loans at or close to ZERO percent interest, so they’re doing just fine on even a modest return on investment.
Lots of examples of the double-standard of making the poor prove they’re worthy of government benefits, such as Kansas getting ready to prevent welfare recipients from going to swimming pools and the movies.
SamuraiFrog wrote this recently: “It goes like this: you don’t get a say in how other people live their lives. You just don’t. Even if it involves your precious tax dollars and the (on average) $36 a year of it that goes to food stamps. You have no problem with the $870 a year you pay for corporate tax subsidies, but the thought of a poor person being able to buy a steak or a cupcake fills you with rage? Ridiculous.”
Interestingly, the best example of the absurdity of this attitude, well dubbed as scapegoat economics, comes from The Onion, a parody site that tells a great truth.
Here’s the thing: being poor sucks. The payday loans, higher interest rates, the immobility to get to work. I was working on a reference question recently, and I recognized that those rent-to-own places are toxic, where the poor can pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa. Moreover, because of depressed wages, there are plenty of folks who are working but need public assistance anyway.
Meanwhile, the yacht buyers in New York state got a tax break in the budget just passed at the end of March 2015, because, as state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos noted, “Blah blah blah trickle-down blah blah.” Indeed, the rich get government handouts just like the poor. Talk about your entitlement programs.
Congressional Republicans find the need to try to end the estate tax, which affects the heirs of the top 0.2 percent.
So what to do about it? I want/need to ponder on that. Probably will write another blog post, sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, this has been running through my head: Money Make The World Go Round from the movie Cabaret (1972).
Happy Income Tax day?
Arthur writes about Hillary Clinton entering the race for President (no surprise), and dealing with Big Money.
The IRS — A Love Song. John Oliver. And Michael Bolton.