Conservatives fear the rising populist demand for economic justice, now voiced by plumbers, progressives and the pope. To side-track the debate, Republicans claim that inequality is caused by our “betters” doing better while the rest of us are blamed for falling behind. Helping the “less betters,” they argue, only makes them lazy.
But that story cannot explain the three types of inequalities weakening us today. The most grievous inequality concerns compensation. McDonalds’ CEO takes home obscene paychecks and then offers poverty wages to the people creating their wealth. This concentration of wealth means fewer dollars are circulating locally to generate new jobs.
Financier Warren Buffet admits he pays fewer taxes proportionately than his secretary. Imagine the options if everyone paid their share.
The third great inequality shows up in how we make a living. The Romney-types sell off assets and export jobs. Plutocrats make money by manipulating numbers and gambling with our savings in the Wall Street Casino.
The rest of us do real work in schools, garages, hospitals, fire departments, farms, homes, and elsewhere. But we have little to show for our hard work.
Conservatives love to blame the sluggish economy on spending for seniors, the unemployed, students, the disabled and the poor. Yet those modest payouts are spent in the local business economy.
Contrast that with the real takers, the tycoons, hiding their wealth in off-shore accounts. Those of us spending our benefits checks locally are the real job creators.