Posted by: coastcontact | January 2, 2015

The Great Economic Divide

Let’s not beat around. Barack Obama was wrong. There are two Americas. Not red states and blue states or racial divides of Black and White. The two Americas are 1) the rich and 2) everyone else.

This is the subject that should be discussed and debated in the next presidential election. Even before that date the subject of the declining size of the middle class and the growing numbers of poor should be discussed by every candidate in both political parties.

Mario Cuomo, the just deceased former governor of New York State, speaking at the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco told us the truth about America. Unfortunately the things he said are even truer today.


“While the press and politicos would thrill to the speech’s metaphors about the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ and wagon trains heading west, Cuomo himself would note years later that the part of the speech that ordinary people mentioned to him more than any other by far was the moving description of his family’s immigrant experience” 1 which matches a story that many immigrants to America can tell.

So here we sit at the beginning of 2015 with 30% of the unemployed still looking for work for more than half a year. Many people have been unemployed for years rather than months. Considering those that are “marginally attached to the work force” the unemployment rate is over 11%. These are numbers from the last (November 2014) Labor Department report.

Some are whining that half of the population pay no income taxes.   Are they upset that their pay is so low or that the burden is too high for the nation’s wealthy population? That there is a population that receives special treatment for their dividend and interest earnings? The wealthy are taxed at a lower rate than the family that works for their income.  There are wealthy that pay no income tax because they own nothing but municipal bonds.

Will Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, or any of the other candidates discuss the great economic divide that haunts this nation? My guess is that this is a subject that won’t be discussed. The reason is quite simple. No one wants to alienate their backers who are mostly the very rich.

So what will they discuss and debate? Iran, Iraq, ISIS, Cuba, immigration, taxes, education and everything else you can imagine. There won’t be one word spoken about America’s economic divide.

1 Andrei Cherny, “The legacy of Mario Cuomo’s 1984 ‘Tale of Two Cities’ speech”, Yahoo News

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Responses

  1. I sent this posting to a group of individuals and acquaintances and received a variety of responses. Following are their comments. I point out that no one denies that the rich are taxed at lower rates than those who work for a living.

    Tariffs? Taxes? Printing money?

    Who cares….? There’s plenty of money. The problem is how our government spends it.

    The good old days? When you, your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents (choose your own generational story) came to America … they got food stamps? Welfare? Unemployment? Drivers Licenses? Government tuition for their kids to go to school? It was easier for their kids to get into school because they were legal immigrants (or did your ancestors sneak into this country to avoid being the target of a pogrom or exile edict?) …….

    Hmmmmm….

    By our government handing out money to the unemployed … seriously – why should they take a job – where they would have to spend money on “conventional” clothing, child care and pay taxes ….. when they can probably net more by just standing home and receiving government “help”?

    I don’t mind paying more taxes …. the question is how will it be used?

    Happy New Year – from a lifelong Democrat who is now very disappointed in how “my party” runs this country (and doesn’t particularly like my relatives in Israel – asking them to give back East Jerusalem {which would include the Wailing Wall}) ….

    Mike

    Congratulations for an interesting comment,

    And thanks for the distribution list, so we can have a conversation. I agree with your first paragraph. When FDR could not get manufacturers to control prices during the war, he returned the money to the government coffers by raising the top tax rate to 92%. (That might help balance the budget today.) The famous Kennedy tax cut reduced the top rate down to 75%. Nixon lowered it again to 50%, but when somebody lowered it to 35% is it any wonder that people at the top got very wealthy? Mitt Romney paid only 10% taxes the year he had to disclose. He made $10 million that year, and paid $1 million in taxes. His accountants advised that he give less to charity so his tax would be higher. He gave only $3 million to charity instead of $4 million, or his tax rate would be 8%. Leaving the money with the titans of industry is supposed to create jobs, but when there is so much money floating around, people like Bill Gates have to form a foundation just to give it away. (That money came from us, the consumer. He should give it back to us. ;~) Charity might be useful if it is well spent, but it puts very few people back to work. What I think we need is a small tariff on Chinese manufactured goods to level the playing field. As long as the cost is lower in China, companies will never open a new factory here, they will build it in China. The Fed can only change the interest rate, Obama and Congress must act to impose a tariff.

    I heard Cuomo using the metaphor of a wagon. It reminded me of a similar story about a wagon. There are two ideas in the video below, the first one is about the “sandwich.” The second one is about the wagon, if you want to skip to 3:20.

    Regards, Joe

    So true! Thanks for sharing this.

    Denise

    our politics are dedicated to the preservation of lassa fare capitalism and will not allow any challenges to it.as long as any country practises lasse fare capitalism, we will support it, even if it has no political freedom, but let it go towards a socialistic economy, we will find some made up reason to attack it with our military.

    Burt
    __
    Well Said,

    And this is our great problem in this country. As I said many times, the country is being run by the Oligarchs. Congress and all politicians of all the States work and get their marching

    orders from their donors. Who are these donors? the special interest , the lobbyists who work for corporations etc….

    It seems to me that we the people are paying the high taxes to support all the politicians, – for their healthcare and their families, their pensions, their salaries, their per diem, and all the fringe benefits they

    get when they travel overseas, and the laws they pass do not apply to them. – and what are we getting in return? nothing really, because whenever the politicians want to do

    any improvement, they find a way to make us pay more in the form of Bonds, fees , and more taxes. The GOP never miss the opportunity to criticize the people who are on welfare, on food stamps

    etc.. but they find it normal to subsidize corporations, farmers, banks, and reward them with lower taxes. And the Supreme Court is a big culprit in all of this.

    YES WE HAVE TWO AMERICAS IN THE FORM OF TWO ECONOMIES, ONE THAT WORKS FOR THE SUPER RICH WHO ARE NEVER SATIATED TO HAVE MORE, AND THE OTHER FOR THE REST WHO

    HAVE TO WORK AND SCRAPE FOR A LIVING, SO THAT THE UPPER CRUST GET THEIR FILL OF WEALTH.

    Let us bring this in class. Incidentally Don Coleman is on vacation for three weeks.

    Stay well,

    Bella


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