Posts tagged Inequality
Posts tagged Inequality
A new Pew Research Center survey of 2,048 adults finds that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor—an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009.
However, people’s perception of why the rich become rich has not changed much. Pew Research points out similar opinions to the ones below were found in 2008:
Pew uncovered one very interesting point:
The biggest increases in perceptions of class conflicts occurred among political liberals and Americans who say they are not affiliated with either major party. In each group the proportion who say there are major disagreements between rich and poor Americans increased by more than 20 percentage points since 2009.
Emphasis mine. Could this mean independents could be an even bigger influence than usual in 2012? And what does that mean for both parties? Maybe talking about jobs and the economy isn’t the worst move… The GOP’s constant denial of the existence of class warfare and incongruent insistence President Obama sparked it may also backfire.
John Walsh gets political on America’s Most Wanted on Dec. 17th, 2011. He begins by talking about how we’re balancing severe cuts on the backs on teachers, firefighters, police officers, and others who contribute greatly to society and asking nothing of those who’ve benefited.
And then shit gets real. An excerpt from Walsh’s statement, courtesy of Crooks and Liars:
Wow. America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh has an earful about cutting the government to spark economic growth this week. He notes letting police and firefighters go is bad for our communities. Flint, MI which laid off two-thirds of its police force, according to Walsh has become a “small city murder capital of the U.S.”
But then, Walsh goes full Occupy.
"Who’s going to pay for the economic meltdown - the huge debt?" He says, "How about companies? Companies that have made more money than in the whole history of the world and they’ve done it with less people. Some of the Fortune 500 companies pay no state taxes at all. We all know about GE not paying federal taxes."
And he continues to rail on this conservative cure-all for our economic woes: “It’s a quick fix but it’s not a good fix. We got to make the corporations pay more money and we can’t let these people [police] go. You got to speak up.”
America’s Most Wanted now airs at 9 p.m. on Friday on the Lifetime channel. Is it just me, or does John Walsh lay out a fantastic defense for those who are against cutting vital services so others can have an even more obscene amount of wealth?
To detractors: I’ll stop supporting movements like Occupy Wall Street when corporations stop occupying Congress. It’s not that I don’t think people should be rich. I just don’t think they should be able to buy themselves a pet Congress.
The latest headline off The LA Times twitter feed… It’s getting scary in LA. LAPD has threatened protesters and press with “serious injury” and “further police action” if they don’t leave.
The red and blue is not be taken as representative of political party. However, it IS an interesting breakdown of where the interests of the US Congress fall. Alan Grayson has also pointed to lobbying influence as well. At a 2010 conference, Grayson said, “We’re now in a situation where a lobbyist can walk into my office…and say, ‘I’ve got five million dollars to spend, and I can spend it for you or against you. Which do you prefer?’”
Much has also been made of Occupy Wall Street promoters like Michael Moore being in the 1%, so why don’t they just give away all of their money and make everyone equal, etc… I’m tired of this strawman counter. That’s like telling a group of physicians concerned about the situation in Appalachia regarding medical care to stop advocating for change, and to instead donate all their time, money, and supplies to fixing it, or else they are an illegitimate organization and have no right to bitch.
Moore has given generously to charity, including 60% of the profits from Fahrenheit 9/11, he donates half of his royalties from books sold at local bookstores to local libraries (plus the bookstores running the events have all agreed to donate $1 from their sales price) at each stop on his recent book tour, he works with several progressive organizations and with unions, and began the non-profit, mostly volunteer-run Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan - among other efforts. Here, he further explains his thoughts on charity to Sean Hannity.
So let’s pretend for a moment that the rich redistribute to the jobless of their own free will. Then what? Do jobs magically appear out of thin air? The need never re-occurs?
Moore explains his viewpoint well on being a member of the 1% and fighting for the 99% in a post entitled "Life Among The 1%" [emphasis mine]:
"How can you claim to be for the poor when you are the opposite of poor?!" It’s like asking: "You’ve never had sex with another man - how can you be for gay marriage?!" I guess the same way that an all-male Congress voted to give women the vote, or scores of white people marched with Martin Luther Ling, Jr. (I can hear these righties yelling back through history: "Hey! You’re not black! You’re not being lynched! Why are you with the blacks?!"). It is precisely this disconnect that prevents Republicans from understanding why anyone would give of their time or money to help out those less fortunate. It is simply something their brain cannot process. "Kanye West makes millions! What’s he doing at Occupy Wall Street?!" Exactly - he’s down there demanding that his taxes be raised. That, to a right-winger, is the definition of insanity. To everyone else, we are grateful that people like him stand up, even if and especially because it is against his own personal financial interest. It is specifically what that Bible those conservatives wave around demands of those who are well off.
Anyhow, money is not electing Michael Moore. However, money is electing those who set the policies leading to such wealth disparity in this country. We must pay attention to those who’ve sold us out and continued the same policies since before many in my generation were even born. Campaign finance reform is crucial, and perhaps we should begin rethinking this whole neoliberal, late capitalism thing.
If your biggest bone to pick with Occupy Wall Street is that Michael Moore is advocating for it, we’re well on our way to winning.
In this photo from The New York Observer, Former Philadelphia police Captain Ray Lewis, sits in zip cuffs after being arrested today in conjunction with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Another photo of Lewis protesting can be found here.
Drew Grant of The Observer writes: “There is simply nothing more bizarre than looking at images of a man in police uniform arrested and handcuffed by people wearing lower-ranking NYPD garb.”
Lewis’ arrest was captured on video:
Lewis knew his arrest was a possibility. In a rousing speech last night, Lewis criticized the NYPD and its use of force, along with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. An excerpt:
"You should, by law, only use force to protect someone’s life or to protect them from being bodily injured. If you’re not protecting somebody’s life or protecting them from bodily injury, there’s no need to use force. And the number one thing that they always have in their favor that they seldom use is negotiation – continue to talk, and talk and talk to people. You have nothing to lose by that. This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for when they did not use negotiation long enough.
"They complained about the park being dirty. Here they are worrying about dirty parks when people are starving to death, where people are freezing, where people are sleeping in subways and they’re concerned about a dirty park. That’s obnoxious, it’s arrogant, it’s ignorant, it’s disgusting.
[The NYPD], they’re trying to get me arrested and I may disappear OK? But as soon as I’m let out of jail, I’ll be right back here and they’ll have to arrest me again. All the cops are, they’re just workers for the one percent and they don’t even realize they’re being exploited.”
Capt. Lewis truly understands what it means to protect and serve the people, and for that sir, I thank you.
Captain Ray Lewis (Ret.) of the Philadelphia police has joined Occupy Wall Street. More of this please.
His sign is perfect: “NYPD: Don’t Be Wall St. Mercenaries!”