We know that the income gap is growing in the U.S. More and more people are having to work two or three jobs just to break even each month. If you miss one payment on our credit card, your interest can jump to 23% or more (as young people we know have found out). Before the previous U.S. government regulations stopped it, Wells Fargo, for instance, was allowed to charge 300% interest! Now the the current U.S. administration is proposing to let banks return to giving high interest small loans. We talk about the 1% in the U.S. who have most of the money – and we want them to change, to be compassionate, to be fair.
But what if we (yes, I’m including you – and me – who have time to read this instead of working an extra job) were part of the problem? What if we are in the 9.9% who keep the other 90% down? The article, “The Birth of the New American Aristocracy” by Matthew Stewart in the June 2018 issue of The Atlantic, makes me reflect on the unearned benefits in my life. Awareness is the first step toward change. Read this article and see what you think – and consider what you can do.
Instead of just blaming the 1%, we could be doing more – much more – to promote justice and equality.
Not only was his great-grandfather Oscar Mayer, of hot-dog fame, and thus Chuck Collins had four generations of stable wealth in his family, but Collins also came to realize as a white male American born into a family in the wealthiest 1 percent, he had great privileges while his neighbors in Detroit dealt with grave racial and economic and societal challenges and inequities.
Among other ideas, Collins sees, “The wealthy need to care about other people’s kids, too. If your kid is getting a debt-free college education because of your family’s wealth, then you should fight like hell for every other kid to have the same opportunity. If you don’t, you’re perpetuating the cycle of inequality” (10).
In the following interview with Megan Wildhood, published in The Sun, (February 2018, Issue 506, p. 6-14), Collins shares why we must recognize that we are all completely intertwined in ways we haven’t even begun to understand – and take personal action to support equality and justice – in nature , in community, with other sentient beings.
Please read the following link for Chuck Collins insights and good ideas:
Also, the most recent issue of Yes magazine focuses on affordable housing. It’s a fabulous collection of examples of what is actually being done. Included is Collins’ commentary: “Make Them Pay: The Global Wealth-Hiding, Ultra-Rich Elites”
“Collins is a director of the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he co-edits Inequality.org. He is author of several books, including 99 to 1 and Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good. His latest is Is Inequality in America Irreversible? (Polity Press).” – from Yes! Summer 2018, No. 86, p. 37.
Communities Creating Economical Homes, Protecting a Renter Nation, a Different American Dream:
Read this fabulous issue for multiple solutions to the housing crisis.
What can you do to support and promote equality and justice where you live?
“Imagine you open the faucet of your kitchen sink expecting water and instead out comes cash. Now imagine that it comes out at the rate of $1 million a minute. You call your plumber, who thinks you’re crazy. To get you off the phone, he opines that it is your sink and therefore must be your money. So you spend it wildly. Then you realize that the money wasn’t yours and you owe it back.
Now imagine that this happens every minute of every day for the next three years. At the end of the three years, you owe back more than $6 trillion. So you borrow $6 trillion to pay back the $6 trillion you owe.
Government produces no products that consumers are willing to pay for voluntarily, and it doesn’t sell shares of stock in its assets. It doesn’t generate wealth; it seizes it. And when it can no longer politically get away with seizing, it borrows. It borrows a great deal of money — money that it rolls over, by borrowing trillions to pay back trillions to prior lenders, and thus its debt never goes away.
Last week, after eight years of publicly complaining that then-President Barack Obama was borrowing more than $1 trillion a year to fund the government — borrowing that the Republicans silently consented to — congressional Republicans, now in control of Congress and with a friend in the Oval Office, voted to spend and hence borrow between $5 trillion and $6 trillion more than tax revenue will produce in the next three years; that’s a few trillion more than they complained about in the Obama years.
That’s borrowing $1 million a minute.
Obviously, no business or household or bank can survive very long by borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Yet the federal government, no matter which party controls Congress or the presidency, engages in staggering borrowing — borrowing that will cripple future generations by forcing them to pay for goods and services that were consumed before they were born.
Wilson’s $30 billion debt 100 years ago has ballooned to $20.6 trillion today. At the end of President Donald Trump’s present term — because of the Republican budget signed into law — the government’s debt will be about $27 trillion.
That amount is a debt bomb waiting to explode. Here’s why. Every year, the federal government collects about $2.5 trillion in revenue and spends it all. It borrows another $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion and spends it all. To avoid paying back any of the $27 trillion it will owes, the federal government will need to spend about $1 trillion a year in interest payments.
That $1 trillion is 40 percent of the revenue collected by the federal government; that’s 40 cents on every dollar in tax revenue going to interest on old debts — interest payments that are legally unavoidable by taxpayers and voters.
Register – and vote!
Aloha, Barry & Renée
Rich Karlgaard is the publisher at Forbes; his latest book is Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations (2015). In the July 26,2016 Forbes article, “Economy’s Tragic Mismatch” he notes:
“A few weeks ago I spoke to a trade group of construction company CEO and CFOs. I thought their top concern would be taxes, regulations, the slow-growth economy or, perhaps, the 2016 election. Wrong. It was the lack of skilled labor. . . ”
For the rest of the article, go to <http://www.forbes.com/sites/richkarlgaard/2016/07/06/economys-tragic-mismatch/#1a7732125746>
Good-paying jobs are out there. Especially if you go to a community college, you can get the needed skills in a relatively short time and for not that much money. Check out such possibilities.
Aloha, Barry & Renée