Please Show Me How I’m Wrong

We in the US are suffering from injustice and inequality unlike any other advanced country in the world today, and there is a very clear cause.

Specifically, the continuous transfer of wealth to the most wealthy people in the country has been extracted from the wealth of 60% of us, especially the poorest.

Money is finite. The government can create more as needed, but does not do so lightly because there are dangers in that. What this means is that in the shorter run of a few decades any concentration of wealth creates a loss of wealth at the other end of the wealth distribution.

There is a very clear cause
for our record injustice and inequality.

This is precisely why the US is devolving from a democracy to a plutocracy, needing only a few more steps to complete the transformation. Unfortunately, those who fight for justice and equality have had to battle the false reasoning that has so mesmerized the right, which seems impervious to fact.

Now, the lobby is not automatically an evil institution. There are lobbyists tasked with bringing accurate information to Congress about the people they represent, who may be teachers, publishers, or any number of things. But they are vastly outnumbered by lobbyists who represent extreme wealth and corporate interests, and these are tasked with obtaining ever increasing favors for the rich. Laws that should benefit everyone are altered so they result instead in transfer of wealth to those who are already rich. The lobbyists have been very successful with these legislative purchases because they can easily buy such favors with hidden money for re-election.

Any concentration of wealth
creates a loss of wealth elsewhere.

There are over 12,000 registered lobbyists in DC now, and an estimated twice as many who lobby representing wealth, but are not registered. There are eight lobbyists from the banking industry for every person in Congress.

There are only a few lobbyists representing the more than 150,000,000 people in the lower half of the income scale. The majority of Congress are millionaires. They do not focus on the problems of people who can’t come to Washington to complain that they can’t find work at all, or can’t make ends meet with their inadequate full time wages.

Wealthy conservatives believe that nothing should stand in the way of their accumulation of wealth. They try to convince us of this by claiming that they create wealth for the country. Since the Wall Street crash their wealth has grown exponentially because all new wealth has literally gone only to them, and the only new jobs pay poorly. In order to shield their consciences from their personal responsibility for the raging inequality that threatens to destroy the country, the rich right embraces a myth to justify their endless greed. This is it:

The poor are black inner city moochers—druggies, gang members, unwed mothers, drug dealers—who want government to keep them forever in the lap of luxury with undeserved welfare checks. Ronald Reagan’s mythical Cadillac-driving welfare queen with a dozen illegitimate kids and multiple false identities is alive and well. (In an update, they are an actual white couple from Minnesota who got $167K in welfare while living on their yacht “someplace warm”. The feds would like to talk to them.)

But if poverty is primarily created by racial inferiority, the incidence of poverty would be stable over time. Instead, we find that the incidence of poverty is closely related to changes in opportunity. This does not deny the dismal conditions of the inner city, which resists improvement for various reasons. It simply points out that racial ratios are relatively constant, while the incidence of poverty is much more unstable.

The rich right embraces a myth
to justify their endless greed.
This is it:
The poor are black inner city moochers.

Paul Ryan, the darling of the reality-challenged right, is the perfect representative of conservative Republican fantasythink, and the use of “dog-whistle” rhetoric (supposedly only hearable by the racist right). It’s more than a little ironic that this man whose family fled the Irish Potato Famine used virtually the same words as the Englishman Charles Trevelyan–“Dependence on charity is not to be made into an agreeable mode of life”–whose anti-compassion helped convince the English to allow a million Irish to die of starvation rather than help. For his contribution Trevelyan was knighted. (See Timothy Egan’s take on this in the NYT here.)

Ever diminishing government assistance keeps millions from starving, but no member of Congress who tried has been able to survive more than a week on such slim pickins. They found it very difficult, and after a few days went back to their rib eye and salad, whereas the poor struggle every single day, and can’t afford such luxuries as a cup of coffee at Starbucky’s. Republicans who make phony claims about the poor have no clue about the actual people or the difficulties they face. They endlessly repeat their chant, deaf to the fact that they are on the wrong page and in the wrong key.

In the Bankster crash of 2008, millions of responsible workers lost everything they had—their jobs, their health insurance, their savings, their homes, and all hope. What little work has been available since then has been concentrated in part-time, poorly paid service jobs without benefits. Yet at the same time Wall Street has seen fit to reward bankers who should be in prison with tens of billions in year-end bonuses—bonuses equal to the total annual earnings of the entire poor population of the nation. This is a staggering injustice.

Wall Street bonuses are
equal to the annual earnings
of the entire poor population.

Yet Republicans routinely tell us these millions are the lazy ones—the ones who go without dinner so their children can eat—and they deserve nothing.

Ryan and the rest are wrong about virtually everything. Most of the poor are not black, do not live in the inner city, are not drug addicts, are not promiscuous, do not belong to gangs, and so on. Nor do they expect to become millionaires. They are just ordinary people, who want to earn a little bit of the fast-vanishing American Dream that the hyper-rich are taking from them. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, they just want wages adequate to live a decent life, and in this they are being thwarted, their livelihoods and their families destroyed by the amoral actions of plutocrats.

Conservatives are utterly wrong about the causes of poverty. Poverty is caused by the maldistribution of wealth. Maldistribution of wealth is directly created by corrupt manipulation of politicians by the ultra-wealthy, which prevents ordinary people from earning a decent living. They are wrong about the poor too. The economy was destroyed by criminal bankers, for which they are rewarded with billions. What little work the poor can find keeps them in deep poverty.

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