I frequently write about the income disparity in this nation. I’m not a fan of great wealth, see it as unnecessary hoarding while others do without, and I do support government-funded programs that help people in need. One person often comments on these posts with his opposing view, saying the wealthy earned it, let them keep it … all of it. Of course, there is a fallacy in that the majority of very wealthy people actually inherited most of their wealth and have not done much to earn it at all, apart from hiring wise people to advise them in their investment strategies to increase their wealth. Recently this person, whose comments I largely ignore, said that if people simply learned to “invest more wisely”, there wouldn’t be poverty.
Wisely, I did not respond to his comment, for at that moment my answer would not have been calm and reasoned. Obviously, this person has zero understanding of poverty. WHAT is there to invest, if you cannot even afford to pay the rent, utilities, and have some left over to buy food??? Even for the average mid-range earner, investment opportunities are largely limited to an employer’s 401(k) plan, for at the end of the month there is little left over.
It is the ignorance born of wealth and entitlement that bothers me the most. The wealthy don’t even attempt to understand the other 99% of the world … they live in ivory towers, sheltered and shielded from poverty, from the homeless, and even from the very people who are, by their labours, helping the rich get richer. They oppose a substantial increase in the minimum wage rate, for that might cut into their own profits just a bit. They oppose helping the poor, falsely claiming that they are poor because they are too lazy to work. They oppose such healthcare programs as Medicare for All because they have access to the finest medical care available and don’t understand what it’s like for the family who cannot afford to take their sick child to a doctor this week.
Yesterday, I read that President Biden will soon unveil his promised infrastructure plan, the first part based on repairing roads, bridges and railways, and the second part focused on families and children. Already, however, Republicans are calling it useless and a waste of money. Why? Because they don’t live in Flint, Michigan where the water is still not safe to drink. Because they don’t, as a rule, drive over the unsafe bridges and on the highways filled with potholes … instead they travel by private jet or helicopter. There can be no mistake … the Republican Party, once called the “Party of Lincoln”, is a party that exists solely for the wealthy and that is largely funded by the wealthy. Lincoln would be appalled by what the party has become today … a bigoted, corrupt organization that is doing everything in its power to keep the poor “in their place” and to return Blacks to the days of Jim Crow.
The Republican Party claims to be in favour of ‘smaller government’, but this is a nation of 330 million people … just how small do they think the government can be, and yet serve those people? Given that most every Republican in Congress is either well on their way to being a millionaire, or is already one, is it really any surprise that they have no comprehension how the rest of us live? What does it take? We pay their salaries out of our meager incomes, and in return we get … NOTHING. They do not represent us, they represent the heads of corporations like Exxon-Mobil, Kraft Foods, AT&T, and so many others. They represent people who have more money than you or I can even imagine, who have never struggled to pay the bills, buy food, or seek medical attention a single day in their lives. And now, as they see their ship may soon run aground, they are doing everything in their power to take away our voice, our right to vote them out of office. Rather than consider altering the party’s platform, becoming more humanitarian, supporting policies that help people and the environment, they cling to their old ways, cling to the plutocracy, and rob us of our right to participate in the government that we fund.
Rather than pay taxes that could fund such things as infrastructure, feeding the poor, building renewable energy facilities and more, the wealthy spend their money to buy politicians who will do their best to ensure none of these things that would help people can happen. “Whatever it takes” to keep the poor from rising out of the ashes, to keep the working people from seeing a brighter future, the wealthy and the Republican Party will support it. There are notable exceptions such as those who have signed on to the Giving Pledge, but they are the exception, not the rule. Those born into wealth cannot understand what they have never known and it is easier to turn a blind eye than to see how the rest of us struggle.
I am against great wealth … it is the hoarding of money that could ultimately make so many lives so much better. I make no apologies for my views, for I have experienced that which almost no wealthy person ever has … I have been without a home, I have had my electricity turned off because I couldn’t pay the bill, and I have been denied medical care when I hadn’t the money to pay. Perhaps the Republican Party should have to live that way for a while and perhaps they would find a bit of humanity within their shriveled little hearts. Until something changes, this nation cannot realistically be called the “United” States because we are not.