Let’s do something about this

Let’s do something about this March 11, 2013

This video seems to be everywhere. It needs to be everywhere.

If you’re wondering about the validity of the numbers cited — if the situation is as massively skewed as the video portrays, then let me assure you the numbers check out. The facts are factual. The video is true.

This viral video is right,” Ezra Klein writes, giving it the Wonk Seal of Approval. “We need to worry about wealth inequality,” Klein says.

Well, yes, we need to “worry” about this. But worry isn’t really a substantial response, and a substantial response is what is needed here.

Just consider all the breath and ink and time wasted fretting over budget deficits and the clumsy, crude responses to deficit-panic, like “sequestration.” Then watch that video again, or look at the graph below. The massive concentration of wealth they illustrate tells you all you need to know about those deficits — that most of the wealth is piling up beyond the reach of taxation. More and more of our allegedly “runaway spending” is flowing to the 1 percent,  while less and less of our revenue is being supplied by the 1 percent.

That’s an unsustainable situation and an unsustainable trend. It calls for a response.

It requires a policy response — steps that citizens must demand and elected officials must implement. It also calls for a moral response — this is something that prophets, preachers and pundits need to be condemning. And it calls for a cultural response — from storytellers, artists, songwriters, jesters and clowns.

We’ll return to this later, but here let’s just make this an open thread to discuss potential responses — “if … then” responses. Consider that video above to be the “whereas” of our resolution. Given what that “whereas” clause tells us, what should be included in the “therefore be it resolved” section of our resolution?

Worry is appropriate but inadequate. What should we try to do about this? What can be done?

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  • AnonaMiss

    EH, please understand: the point which my example was getting at has been made by others a number of times already in these comments. The reason why you perceive the others as not “actually try[ing] to make sense,” I suspect, is that you and I have similar cultural backgrounds, and so I can reach out and make my points using conventions you’re comfortable with.

    To some of the people in these threads, your arguments are counter to everything they have ever experienced. If someone came into a thread about stop signs and began to argue that stop signs are, in fact, green, it would probably be difficult for the majority of the thread to speak to his objections in a way that he would understand. It would probably take someone with experience with colorblindness to make any sense at all to him.

  • Ethics Gradient

    The simplest answer: enact the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget.

  • And when he announced the $5 a day wage, lots of people declared that it would swiftly drive him out of business – pretty much all the same things that they are saying now about raising the minimum wage.

    Or have said in the past about establishing minimum wage, or abolishing slavery, or eliminating child labor, or workplace safety laws, or… well, every government intervention ever, pretty much. It’s a very old song.

  • Actually, to a large extent the voting system IS the underlying problem. The UK and Canada are very fortunate that the first-past-the-post system hasn’t polarized the electorate and squashed the ideological spectrum to a tiny sliver the way it has in the USA.

    Even in Canada and the UK we tend to develop effective two-party-dominant structures. For example in Canada for the longest time the NDP was never considered a serious contender, leading to an effective two-party system between the Liberals and the Conservatives.

    A mixed-member or a single transferable vote system would be a lot less likely to favor long stretches of majority-government rule in Canada’s parliamentary system.