The issue of our time is the increasingly exorbitant financial inequality between the super rich and the poor. The ultra wealthy and the far right too frequently contend that the poor are that way because – as Fox’s former “star,” Bill O’Reilly said – “They’re irresponsible and lazy.”
The evidence against this simplistic assertion is overwhelming. It is abundantly clear that American workers are frequently denied a fair share of the profits their labor helps generate.
Almost 40 million American workers earn under $15 an hour. Even with a 40-hour week, that would be $30,000 a year. Since most jobs are in or near large cities, where rent and houses are incredibly expensive, that figure is embarrassing.
Why the rich insist on building their wealth by keeping American labor poor is a puzzle hard to fathom without blaming it on simple greed. The wealthy quite openly export many jobs to low cost nations rather than sharing them with Americans.
How often are we all forced to talk by phone to someone painfully struggling to speak English as she or he attempts to provide us service for some device we have bought and found wanting?
The foreign workers are needy too, no question. But is not a nation’s most fundamental purpose to support its own?
This international labor frugality might be applauded if the objective were altruistic. However, little serious attention is paid to the life support needs of working poor anywhere as the corporate mantra proudly draws profits from ill-paid labor.
These profits go to the top management and key investors of these gigantic corporations. Worldwide, unrest among working poor is multiplying. The rich seem oblivious to this. They stick to the old from-the-top-dribble-down-to-the-poorwe’ve heard for decades.
There is little corporate brainpower considering even moderate allocation of its wealth – through job training and job sharing – to all U.S. and, thereafter, all planetary workers. Little altruism focuses on the long-term sustenance of the human race.
Repeatedly, millions of starving children are created by wars, such as now in Yemen, supported with weapons from our defense industry. How many of our wealthy, holding stock in these defense industries, even know where Yemen is?
International demonstrations document the unrest of the poor. Our own current government strives to delete our imperfect but vital social support systems while rewarding the rich in tax breaks: even more riches for the ultra wealthy.
This situation is not going to proceed in a pretty fashion. Sooner than we think, I suspect we’re all going to start feeling the consequences. Denying sustenance to so many humans on such a tiny planet is self-destructive behavior.
Ignoring this reality will be expensive. For the poor . . . and the rich. The solution is basic. The immensely wealthy must begin to take conscious responsibility for the human race and for that race’s environment.
Their motivations must change. For far too many, this is an expanding life and death scenario.