Monday, February 02, 2004

The pace of concentration

Title: Has Your Life Become Too Much A Game of Chance?
Source: Time
Date: January 25, 2004

From the article:
    In case you haven't noticed, over the past two decades the people in Washington who write the laws have turned your life into a spin of the roulette wheel—actually, an endless series of spins of the wheel that begin with day care and end with retirement (if you can afford it), and affect everything in between. Overall, Washington has structured the game just as any gambling house would, so there are a few winners but a lot more losers.

    It's why many of us are falling further behind the harder we work, why our debt dwarfs that of our parents, why some of us receive world-class medical care and others almost none, why some can afford college but for others it has been priced out of reach, and why the wage gap between rich and poor has started growing again. In 1992 the 400 individuals and families with the highest income in the U.S., according to tax returns filed with the irs, received on average $12.3 million in "salaries and wages."

    By 2000, the latest year available, that figure had more than doubled, to $29 million.

    More significant, in 1992 it took the combined wages of 287,400 retail clerks at, say, Wal-Mart, to equal the pay of the top 400. By 2000 it required the combined pay of 504,600 retail clerks to match the pay of the top 400.
    That's the way Congress runs it. They rig it, which is why 44 million people have no health insurance, why tens of millions who do have insurance don't have a clue what it covers until it's too late, and why you pay more for your prescription drugs than do people anywhere else in the industrialized world.
This is a classic description of the effects of the concentration of wealth. Since the wealthy control congress, the courts and the president, normal citizens increasingly lose out. The laws of the nation, its policies, its taxes and its spending all skew to benefit the wealthy, at the expense of everyone else.

As mentioned in the article, wealth is increasing in concentration. This gives the wealthy even more power.


Post a Comment

<< Home