Sunday, February 08, 2004

Robert Reich on the concentration of wealth

Title: Reich’s Reprimand
Source: Newsweek
Date: February 4, 2004

From the article:
    We now have more national income and national wealth concentrated in fewer hands than we’ve had since the gilded age of the late nineteenth century. This poses a fundamental threat to democracy.
    Throughout the post-war era, at least up until the 1980s, we had a very strong social contract in this country. We all assumed that anyone who worked full time should earn enough to bring his or her family out of poverty. We assumed that corporations owed their employees at least some duties, particularly if the companies were profitable; corporations should keep employees on and give them a share in the increasing profitability. Our state university systems of higher educations became the best in the world....

    Jobs are less secure today than they have ever been before. More than 40 million Americans have no health insurance, but over 140 million Americans are facing soaring health costs in terms of their employer-provided benefits as the shift more and more of the costs onto employees. Retirement savings are at a historic low. And most of the giant baby boom is unprepared for retirement. Time and again polls show that education, health, jobs, retirement income are issues that are at the top of everyone’s agenda. The failure of the Democratic party to use the surpluses of the late ‘90s to respond to these needs and to allow the Bush administration to essentially give most of the surplus away in the form of tax breaks for the wealthy is one of the most significant political failures of our time.


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