Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Kind of Inequality that Boggles the Mind

I ran across this article from the non-partisan PolitiFact website today through a tweet by Michael Moore.

There is more wealth in the hands of just 400 Americans than in is possessed by half of the people in the United States.

That is over 150 million Americans who combined are not as wealthy as the combined richest 400.

Take a minute and think about the difference between 400 and 150,000,000.

Here are the figures from the Politifact article, which fact-checked Moore's claim:
In 2010, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans was $1.37 trillion. The combined net worth of the bottom sixty percent (note: that's actually substantially more than the half of Americans that Moore cited) was approximately $1.26 trillion.

Yes, this is a capitalist economy, for better or worse. But this degree of concentration of most of the wealth in the hands of so few is something that I find obscene. What possible benefit can result from such a staggering accumulation of wealth by those few people? How many luxury homes and yachts and other material goods does any one person or family need to be satisfied, while they ignore the millions of families who are desperately scraping just to get food on the table and to keep a roof over their heads?

This is why I always get a sick feeling when I hear the right vowing that they will never accept a tax increase on the wealthy. This is why I am disgusted that so many Americans who are not wealthy, who not only do not benefit but who are tragically harmed by the policies of the Republican party, have been brainwashed into thinking that the Tea Party and the extreme right represent their interests.

Those of us on the left who believe that something needs to be done to change this drastic inequality are branded as unpatriotic and socialist by the radical right.

I believe that advocating and speaking up for changing what is wrong in this country is the most patriotic action that you can take. Michael Moore, for one, is a patriot, for speaking up against this kind of injustice.

And if wanting to see some of that wealth redistributed so that the poorest, most disadvantaged Americans can have the security that they need to work to improve their lives, instead of being forced to choose between just plain survival or, worse, giving up... if that makes me a socialist, then I will be a proud socialist.

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