Thursday, September 9, 2010

Robbing the 'Hood

Democrats rob from the rich to give to the poor.

Republicans rob from the poor to give to the rich.

Which side are you on?

Personally, I side with the Democrats.

I know, I was brainwashed by my Catholic upbringing and Jesuit education. Still, that's how I feel.

Republicans want to enrich the richest people in our country by denying the poorest people in our country the table scraps of unemployment compensation.

Well, the GOPers lost that battle, but they'll be back to win the war on the poor. In fact, they won it years ago.

One of the reasons why they won is because many denizens of America's middle class believe that they rub elbows with the ultra-rich when they purchase iPhones, iPads and wide-screen HD TVs on credit cards.

In reality, the middle class is becoming the lower-middle class, or worse, because it purchases those items on credit cards.

What we have then, is a conflict between the lesser-haves and the have-nots.

Meanwhile, the ultra-rich avoid serving in the military or even paying for the ones who die in our overseas wars.

The rich get rich and the poor get children, ain't we got fun.

I know, these are age-old gripes of those who envy the rich.

Still, the gap between the rich and the poor is the widest since the Great Depression. Check this piece for some background. The series at is called The Great Divergence and it attempts to chronicle our our slide into the great divide.

Coincidentally, we are groping our way through the darkness of this Great Recession.

In Oregon, we passed ballot measures in January to tax the people who have benefited the greatest over the past 30 years. Predictably, in the rural, and backward, parts of the state, editorialists and GOP candidates still whine about this decisive vote for equity. Get over it. You lost.

In Washington state, where there is no state income tax, voters will decide in November whether to impose an income tax on the rich in their state. Here's hoping that the good people of the Evergreen State pass that income tax and try to restore some balance to the inequities that exist there.

These ballot measures are the only feeble ways to show our anger at the rich for evading their responsibilities to our less fortunate citizens, our soldiers and our country. It's also to get back at them for destroying our economy by shipping our jobs overseas and then betting against Americans via the stock market, hedge funds, credit-default swaps and mortgage-backed securities.

Recently, I saw the White House tribute to Paul McCartney on PBS. There were some great performances on that show. Stevie Wonder showed up and sang "Ebony and Ivory," his No. 1 duet with McCartney from 1982.

Yes, it was widely reviled at the time for being one of the most trite, annoying songs in history, but still, some of the lyrics still hold up after all these years:

"We all know that people are the same where ever you go
there is good and bad
in everyone
we learn to live
we learn to give each other
what we need to survive
together alive."

That pretty much sums it up: What we need to survive.

Is a Rolex watch necessary? Is running water?

You decide.

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