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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

The vast inequality that’s rending our society is not a natural, inevitable or accidental phenomenon — it’s caused intentionally by policy-decisions that corporate and political officials make, often in tandem.

Every now and then, we commoners get a glimpse of inequality in the making, as we did recently when the GOP Boss of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan rammed the awful Trumpcare bill through that chamber. Without allowing any public testimony or even getting an analysis of its cost, Ryan browbeat and cajoled the Republican majority to hold their noses and pass this gob of plutocratic wretchedness. Their bill was so bad that, at most, a mere 17 percent of Americans support it.

The public’s distaste for Trumpcare is well-deserved, for it’s an inequality machine: It strips at least 23 million people of health coverage; it lets insurance corporations either refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions or to gouge them with extreme price increases; and it lets states eliminate the requirement that insurance policies must at least cover such essential health needs as cancer treatment and maternity care.

And, in a flagrant example of directly widening inequality in America, the Republicans’ bill slashes $880 billion out of the Medicaid budget, which provides health care for the poor, the elderly and the disabled. That’s not just a cut in dollars, but in people — 14 million needy families would lose their access to healthcare.

But that’s only the half of it. Ryan’s Trumpcare nastiness also gives a massive new tax cut to health care corporations and wealthy investors. How massive is the cut? Precisely $880 billion.

By taking from the needy and giving to the rich, this one deliberate act by Congress would further widen economic disparity in our country by nearly $1.8 trillion. That is one surefire way inequality happens.

Another way to ensure economic inequality by taking from the needy and giving to the rich is God-awful trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump gloriously pledged last year to scrap the NAFTA trade scam and renegotiate it to provide a “much better” deal for working families. Beautiful! But, like rose blossoms, a politician’s promises can be beautiful when they burst into full, glorious bloom — only later to see them fade over time and, petal by petal, fall away.

This particular blossom was the single most-important issue that convinced many hard-hit, former-factory workers to vote Trump into the White House. But the bloom is now off Trump’s rosy promise, and it looks like working families are getting nothing but more free-trade thorns from him. As revealed in a recently-leaked copy of his NAFTA renegotiation plan, far from scrapping the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, White House negotiators are goosing it up with even more power for multinational corporations. In particular, the plan includes new “investor incentives” to offshore thousands more of our middle-class jobs. Where did this come from? It seems to have been lifted right out of last year’s discredited and defeated Trans-Pacific Partnership, a scam intended to enthrone corporate supremacy over people and even over our laws.

Indeed, the 500 corporate executives and lobbyists who essentially wrote the raw TPP deal and tried to ram it down our throats, have quietly been huddling with Trump’s team to draft the plan for this “new” NAFTA. Where were representatives of those working people Trump promised to help? Locked out, not even allowed to watch the negotiations, much less have a say in them. The same for consumers, environmentalists, farmers – even members of Congress are being left totally in the dark and allowed no voice in shaping the deal.

But I’m guessing that the six Goldman Sachs executives Trump brought in to run our economic policy have a say, along with his daughter and son-in-law who oversee both our government and the extended Trump family’s global business empire. With all of them and that slew of corporate lobbyists at the table — you, me and everyone else are on the menu. And the inequality gap will continue to grow.

 

8 Responses to Where Does Inequality Come From?

  1. Where did inequality come from?

    Not free trade. Free trade holds prices down for all.

    But rather:

    A reduction in the progressive income tax. When the 1% lose 70% to 90% to taxes, there’s less incentive to make billions.

    A decline in the power of Trades Unions. A CEO isn’t going to make hundreds of millions if he’s going to face a collective bargaining negotiation.

    The increase in the transmittibility of money. Thomas Friedman has written about the flat world, with money sloshing around without barriers.

    • Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj211d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      !mj211d:
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    • It wasn’t so much the higher level of taxes as it is Corporate Boards of Directors awarding Failure. In recent history, the only CEO who did not get a bonus he wanted nor did he get a golden parachute when he left his company was Michael Eisner. Not only did Disney refuse to reward him for failure, they also threatened legal action for his failure to meet his contractual obligations.
      On the other hand, after Carly Fiorina tanked Lucent Technologies (a profitable company before she took over) she went on to take over HP and ruin it by her ineptitude. Even their major investors lost money under her leadership – something almost unknown in HPs history
      So, instead of hiring big names who promise but have no record of delivery, hire people like Avis did with Bob Townsend back in the 60s. Someone with a history of delivering on his promises.

      • We can certainly discuss the issue; but back in the 50s, even successful executives like Henry Ford didn’t bring home 8 or 9 figure pay packages. Much of Ford’s wealth came from stock dividends, a much different matter.

        Massive rewards for failed executives is merely silly. Successful executives, however you wish to define it, will take home 8, 9, or 10 figures. The concept of median pay for the comparison group Forces an ever escalating cycle.

        I except Warren Buffett, which is why Mama Bear and I hold Berkshire stick.

  2. Inequality has been with humanity from the moment humans began to walk upright. But in our earliest phases of evolution, inequality was a means of protection of groups of humans who saw the advantage of coalescing around some shared outer qualities: Language/grunts; clothing; eating and hunting habits. And then later according to ways of worship, tribal affiliation, behavioral/social qualities. Once skin coloration evolved to take on certain hues depending on environmental factors, groups could distinguish “friend” from “foe” from a distance just by the visual cues afforded by skin pigmentation. As facial features evolved, with nose and eye shapes, body height, songs, stories told, art work, more sources of differentiation arose.
    Human society had reached a point sometime long afterwards along hierarchical structure according to family lineage/caste, type of job skills which developed and ran in families, etc.
    Religious differences and different ways of interpreting religion—often in conflict and done inconsistently—would eventually cause a more systematic way of establishing hierarchy. Each religious community, forgetful of the central theme of unity in each Religion, would give way to maintaining an inequality with the “sanction” of the religious clerical order. Religion being the dominant theme in human life, as was the intent by God, had become some distorted and twisted by the clerics, that Religion no longer served as a force to bind, but became a powerful tool for dividing humanity—often with disastrous consequences for the less dominant religious community(refer to the 30 Years war which ravaged Europe, and was fought along lines of religious sectarianism, e’g., Protestants against Catholics, Lutherans against Calvinists at another level, etc.

    This inequality, therefore, is traced back to the immaturity of humans in our earliest stages of evolution to recognize a fundamental reality; a reality gradually unveiled until now, as humans gained in mental and spiritual capacity to understand and realize more in how we interact.

    Which is why in this Day and Age, Baha’u’llah has been mandated by the Creator to make the Oneness of Humankind the central axis around which the entirety of His Revelation, The Baha’i Faith, revolves.

    This is a moment which would have been premature if it were to have been unveiled in full to earlier humans. We just weren’t ready then, until now. But change comes slowly, and people now look for relief from inequality through artificial and man-made innovations, such as with jobs and in economic reform, and/or by means of the passage of laws and other political ways.

    But jobs and laws don’t change hearts—the only means shown throughout history, and evident in the Writings and sayings of all the Religions and Traditions bequeathed to humanity, is by the Message and the influence which channels through the Revelations sent progressively over time, as humanity slowly evolved in capacity and sophistication of its interactions.

    Just my unofficial take, based on decades of being a Baha’i. Speaking of inequality, the first signs I saw of the dawning of a real life attempt by a group within society came when I beheld a multiracial group in Jackson, Miss. in the mid-60’s bucking the trend openly of Jim Crow. Upon closer inspection, I as a student in high school witnessed these whites and blacks interacting in a natural and relaxed manner of showing a sense of unity and hospitality totally at odds with the racism and killings in Miss. and elsewhere in the South.

    And here I am today, sitting in my B&B in Cork, Ireland, seeing slowly the trend towards equality occurring in this wonderful land. There are Baha’is here in Ireland, and many good Catholic Irish who have the same sentiments about humankind as I and the Baha’is have. And it’s starting from a fundamental appreciation of friendship which has evolved naturally with the Irish, mainly because they have known real hardships, and know of inequality first-hand and its dangers, courtesy of the British imposition of inequality on the Irish going back to the 16th Century, and suffered a level of starvation from famine which was exacerbated by the Protestant British sense of superiority to the “unwholesome” Catholic Irish. Resentment towards the British still exists beneath the surface, but the Irish in the Republic of Ireland, are generally too polite to show it openly, except on rare occasions.

  3. We can discuss all the theories…but when you cut to the chase and boil away the chaff inequality is caused by people who think they are better than the “commoners” and deserve more….and more….and more. Greed, lust, arrogance…things like that. Way simple.

    • Inequality comes from the fact that people are not the same.

      That is if all you people want to talk about is inequality of economic status.

      But you are correct in that I see a lot of greed, lust, and arrogance, along with envy and coveting, among those who are always trying to use govt. to tilt the scales in their favor.

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