To the editor:
Now that the electioneering frenzy is over, it’s time to deal with a problem that looms over our lives.
I’m referring to income inequality that is seen as blocking economic growth and job creation.
The rationale for large salaries for CEOs is that not only they deserve them, but payments trickle down to benefit those who are laboring in the trenches. Nothing of this kind actually happens. The protective, prevailing corporate use of offshore accounts to avoid taxes along with encouraging loopholes in our tax code are all-consuming. No attention is paid to the fate of workers.
We now have a “winner-take-all” economy, aided and abetted by the Supreme Court’s ruling called Citizens United that corporations are like human beings proficient at spending vast sums on whatever they wish, like elections. Are corporations really like living, breathing people, capable of feeling others’ pain and possibly responding with offers of help?
It’s notable that social mobility here is less than in other countries and that the middle class is shrinking away. Labor unions designed to assist workers taking on corporate excesses are much less influential. Deregulation and privatization favor corporate entities, not citizens.
In 1948, Harry Truman pleaded for a government “that will work in the interests of the common people and not in the interests of the men who have all the money.” He didn’t prevail.
Democrats could have enacted labor law reforms that make it easier to form and preserve labor unions that would work to acquire a fair share of the profits. In addition, raising the minimum wage would put more money in peoples’ pockets to spend on everyday products. This could enhance productivity and, according to Paul Krugman, is key to dealing with income inequality that can lead to anger and instability if it’s ignored.