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Thread: Inequality Is Ruining Our Country

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    Inequality Is Ruining Our Country

    Highlights from my blog post. See full post here: http://www.ahhthesimplelife.com/ineq...g-our-country/
    This was inspired by an NPR program: The Fast Food Economy.
    I was also inspired by fast food workers' protests.

    Inequlaity Is Ruining Our Country, and I Want to Know Why


    • In the United States, 21.9 percent of all children are in poverty, a poverty rate second only to Mexico's (among rich nations). One in five children (16 million) struggles with hunger.


    • "The International Human Rights Clinic at New York University’s School of Law has just released a new study, “Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States.” They report that 50 million individuals—that’s one in six Americans—live in a household that cannot afford adequate food. Of these, nearly 17 million are children. Despite this, Congress is moving to weaken food security program funding, like food stamps." [From Amy Goodman's Time for a Raise in the Minimum Wage.]


    • The average CEO's pay is now $7,000 an hour - that's 350 time the average worker's. According to data compiled by the AFL-CIO, the average CEO pay at 327 of the nation's biggest companies reached $12.3 million. It's the equivalent of $7,000 an hour - 350 times the typical worker's pay of $20 an hour. Some CEO pay is much higher. For details of the "top 10", see: CEO Pay: Who Makes the Most.

    "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • The gap between the top 1% and everyone else hasn't been this bad since the Roaring Twenties. We are recreating the gap that gave us the Great Depression!

    “No person, I think, ever saw a herd of buffalo, of which a few were fat and the great majority lean. No person ever saw a flock of birds, of which two or three were swimming in grease, and the others all skin and bone.” Henry George, American political economist (1839-1897)

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    • The federal minimum wage over the past 40 years has not kept up with inflation. If it had kept up with inflation, it would be $10.74 instead of $7.25. Why don't we have a universal living wage in this country? Would this perhaps mean one less vacation home or yacht for one of those CEOs? If you have been duped into thinking that there would be negative consequences of instituting a universal living wage, then please read: Clearing the Air: Myths and Concerns.

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    How You Can Help

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Support the fast food workers’ strike. Participate in the demonstrations. Use social media to express your support. Join other Tweeters using the popular hashtags “#iamfastfood” and “Poverty wages. #imnotlovingit.”


    • On August 1, Daily Show comedian John Oliver lampooned Fox News' absurd arguments against raising the minimum wage. Oliver's coverage lays bare the ignorance, mean-spiritedness, and unabashed greed of those who argue against raising the minimum wage -- it's something that everyone who cares about workers and their families needs to see (it's also pretty hilarious). Watch the video, sign on in support, and then share the clip with everyone you know. Follow this link: The Daily Show.


    • To reduce outlandish CEO pay packages, “the best strategy may be to keep publicizing their pay to shame them - and the corporate boards that approve their compensation packages”. [Heidi Moore, economics editor at The Guardian, in Yahoo Finance's The Daily Ticker.] You can find several articles that document CEO pay. Find one of these articles, get its URL link, and share it on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Here is a link to one of these articles: CEO Pay: Who Makes the Most.

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    What Are Your Thoughts

    Do you agree that inequality is ruining our country? How do you feel about what you have just read? Are you worried, sad, angry? Do you think that we need to move our country in some new directions? How? Why?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Jilly's Avatar
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    I think that inequality ruins people. I work mostly with people who have significant challenges, only one of which is being disenfranchised by the judgement of other people. There are so many ways to support and manifest inequality, and even more ways that it affects those on the receiving end.

    All of this can be as complicated as one likes, but it is how we live day-to-day, and the choices that we make. Statistics and studies are interesting and are most likely important, but the only ones that concern me are the ones that I make myself, how it affects the people with whom I work and how it supports my community. I hold a large view, but a narrow focus.

    I have never before posted on this policy forum, and it is probably one of the worst decisions I have, or ever will make here, but this, and related issues, are important to me, and so I am here, manifesting my completely simple viewpoint.
    It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality. Arnold Bennett

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    Senior Member Yossarian's Avatar
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    Let's deport the unproductive losers who aren't pulling their weight and contributing much to the economy. That will narrow the gap and reduce inequality. Or we could just ask everyone making a lot to move off shore and just leave the low wage jobs in the US. That would help lower inequality too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahh The Simple Name View Post
    Do you agree that inequality is ruining our country? How do you feel about what you have just read? Are you worried, sad, angry? Do you think that we need to move our country in some new directions? How? Why?
    I don't think it is necessarily the inequality that is ruining our country, but rather that which brings about, fosters, rationalizes and often defends the inequality that is ruining our country. Inequality doesn't just happen. It is the result of application of power undertaken based on attitudes and behaviors of many in society. So it is those attitudes and behaviors that are actually ruining our country - attitudes such as callous disregard for others; avarice; self-centeredness; etc. Many in society pride themselves on their brutalistic, egoistic, or inconsiderate perspectives, and therefore inequality gives them the context within which to play out their us versus them scenarios counter to the moral obligations of living in community with others, the ethic of reciprocity, and the lessons of the Good Samaritan. The ascendancy of these callous attitudes does make me sad, and the pride about the antipathy for consideration of others does sometimes make me angry. Where have we gone wrong teaching our children about being human/e?

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    Senior Member dmc's Avatar
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    Did anyone ever expected to support a family on a fast food worker salary? I expect it wont be to long we will be pushing the #1 or whatever your order # is on a touch screen, then swiping a card and picking your order up at a window. Or swiping whatever you pick up like at the grocery store. We could probably still hear a recording asking if we want to up size the order.

    People need to be working on skills that produce something.

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    Senior Member Yossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bUU View Post
    attitudes such as callous disregard for others; avarice; self-centeredness; etc.

    ...


    The ascendancy of these callous attitudes does make me sad


    Different ways to cut the data but not really seeing your "ascendency" here.








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    Japan already has automated restaurants. We visited one where you place your order and pay at the machine. Go to a table and the server brings out the food. Nothing monetary changes hands (no tipping in Japan). The order is electronically sent to the kitchen. Worked well. She helped us with the machine since there were zero English or international signage on it.

    It looked just like any other café.

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    I kinda saw some of this informally on our last family vacation. There was a family we had grown up next door to. This was Michigan and the dad was in the car industry as some type of exec. In the early 70's they lived next door in an upper middle class neighborhood. Some homes were nicer than others, ours was large but simple. They did have a cottage on a lake for vacationing and we didn't, but not too many differences.

    In the intervening years my parents are solid retired boomers, our former neighbors have homes in a ski resort town in Colorado, a New York City apartment and a house on Lake Michigan they own and those are not cottages, more in the millions. I hear he got fired but that just means their luxury apartment will be in Chicago now. My parents wanted me to go visit them for a drink but that was awkward, we haven't kept in touch at all but my mom thought I was very interested in the difficulty they were having with plumbing in their new penthouse. I have reconnected with some people I grew up with in Michigan and I see how the majority are struggling with the huge income gaps and overall economy in Michigan. And I could be way off in one anecdotal experience,

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmc View Post
    Did anyone ever expected to support a family on a fast food worker salary?
    That's missing the point. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "An edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." The point being that those who need to support a family should not be reduced to being a fast food worker.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmc View Post
    I expect it wont be to long we will be pushing the #1 or whatever your order # is on a touch screen, then swiping a card and picking your order up at a window.
    Without a doubt, the radical shifting of work in our society, marginalizing the humans in the interest of profit, is partially the cause. But the larger part of the cause is the callous disregard shown by those who benefited from such shifting in their failure to conscientiously apply the power they gained to ensure that their profit built as many new, living-wage jobs as they converted through automation or transferred elsewhere through off-shoring. You'll hear a lot of rationalizations and other exculpatory claims regarding the obligations of those who benefit greatly from society's offerings, but recognize them for what they are: Rationalizations. Excuses for egoistic avarice and practicing the callous disregard for others. If there weren't people rewarding such rationalization, it wouldn't be necessary for society to have to fill the gap such self-serving behaviors leave behind.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmc View Post
    People need to be working on skills that produce something.
    Tell that to Glenda Bell. I think the matter would be better served by people working hard to build those aforementioned living-wage jobs instead of working hard at rationalizing greed and blaming the victims.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yossarian View Post
    Different ways to cut the data but not really seeing your "ascendency" here.
    When you see things in only two dimensions, it is easy to miss the reality of three dimensional life. But heck, you want to look only at two dimensions, then look at these, instead:

    This income shift is real. We can debate its effects all day long, but it's real. The super rich have a much bigger piece of the pie than they used to, and that means a smaller piece of the pie for all the rest of us. You can decide for yourself if you think this is something we should just shrug our shoulders about and accept.
    It is easy, and perhaps fun for those who don't have those worried, to belittle and marginalize those that do carry the heaviest burdens of economic injustice. Easy, but not admirable.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Yossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bUU View Post
    the heaviest burdens of economic injustice.
    That begs the question of whether there is injustice to start. Unequal outcomes are not always unfair. You correctly note that the world is changing. Value creation, which is what drives income, is now more a matter of thought than sweat. People may be roughly equal in their ability to sweat, but there are great disparities in the size and value of their thoughts.

    And why do you feel such animosity toward people who don't live in your country? Surely the rest of the world is worthy of supporting their families too? Why would you want to protect global inequality?

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