Les Leopold wrote about what was happening a few years ago. He titled his book Runnaway Inequality. An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice. Many in ‘powerful political positions’ have said that the free market model is where upward redistribution of wealth is actually good for ‘us’ and America. Don’t believe the hype!!!
For most working people the economy is still a mystery, but many know that wealth does not trickle down – it stays and increases at the top. Les Leopold connects the dots so we can get a better understanding. Once you understand something, you will be a better condition to keep your head while others are losing theirs.
Big money talks and gets politicians re-elected, but when millions of American protest, politicians must take notice. The ‘Occupant Wall-Street’ protest was having an effect but was broken up by the forces with money. Unions get a bad rap but they give employees a voice. Without union representation you are faced with the wiles of management; it’s called office politics for a reason.
My first real job came when I joined the UAW and got a job in the auto plant in Detroit. This was in the late 1960’s. All you needed was a good work attitude and a strong back and you were set for life as long as you showed up on time and did your job. Most made enough so that the woman could stay at home and take care of the kids. Now both parents work and it’s even harder to stay ahead of the game.
Runaway Inequality is designed to address the problems faced by everyday working people. Once you know the facts you know how to organize.
Part 1: What is the fundamental cause of runaway economic inequality?
Part 2: How does the United States stack up against other countries?
Part 3: What does economic inequality have to do with so many of the critical issues we face today. taxes, debt, education, criminal justice, racism, climate change, foreign trade and war?
Part 4: What concrete steps can we take to begin a fair and equal society?
People forget that we are a Nation of immigrants and we must demand a path to citizenship for all to end wage theft, and allow others to add to the tax base without the fear of deportation.
The super rich don’t require the same reliance on common public services. They don’t use our schools, our roads, or even our airports: they have private schools, chauffeurs that know how to take the best routes, and private jets. They keep their money by hiring an army of lawyers and bankers to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. The rich get richer which makes it easier for them to influence the media and public officials.
How bad is it? In 1970 for every dollar earned by the average worker, the top 100 CEO’s earned $45. By 2013 that ratio had jumped to $829 to $1. Most American think CEO’s make about $900,000 per year in compensation, but they really receive nearly $30 million. And those numbers have increased.
In the early 1980’s this is what happened:
- Companies shifted production overseas for cheaper labor. Good paying factory jobs were replaced by low paying service jobs in fast food and retail.
- In 1982 President Reagan fired more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers which gave the green light to corporate America to attack the unions.
- The Vietnam War and the Cold War was increasing.
- The 1973 and the 1979 Arab oil boycotts sparked a dramatic rise of oil.
- Europe and Japan had fully recovered from WWII which increased global competition.
- Political and social unrest in 1960 spurred the government to spend more to improve the lives of low-income Americans.
Policy makers and corporate elites decided to adopt the Better Business Climate model which involved the following:
- Cut taxes especially on the wealthy and large corporations. The thinking being that the super rich and corporation would have more money to invest which would increase jobs.
- Cut government regulations, especially on high finance. Get rid of the regulations so corporate America could expand without labor restrictions to maximize production and profits.
- Reduce government social spending. Cut social programs like food stamps and welfare to force more low income people into the workforce , thus increasing the supply of low cost labor.
Les Leopold covers the effects of America becoming the Incarnation Nation but Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary 13th shows the visual impact.
Another political election is coming and many will be fooled by the hype. Take the time to be informed. Then vote like your economic life depends on it, because it will.