Wednesday, January 29, 2014

a moment of clarity.


"...when wealthy individuals are understood to have bettered most people’s lives — as, say, Steve Jobs was — they win acclaim and even veneration. But the paths that many of today’s wealthiest Americans have taken on their road to riches have not bettered most people’s lives. Many have actually hurt most people’s lives. Their riches have come at most other people’s expense.

Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, for instance, the wages for all private-sector jobs have fallen, on average, by 0.5 percent. The wages for jobs in financial services, however, have risen by 5.5 percent. Inasmuch as the recession was brought about by the financial services industry, it’s understandable that this disparity would strike most people as unjust.

 ...Many in that 1 percent argue that the root cause of this inequality is the nation’s deficient schools. Granting that our schools could be improved, that hardly explains why the pay of bankers and CEOs has soared, or why corporations would rather buy back their own shares than give their employees raises. If the voluble members of the 1 percent wish to reclaim some legitimacy, they might become active in campaigns to raise the minimum wage and make it possible for workers to form unions without fear of being fired. After all, some CEOs have unions of their own devoted to boosting their pay: They’re called corporate boards. Until and unless corporate leaders back their workers’ efforts to form unions, here’s some advice on what to say when their fellow Americans question the propriety and legitimacy of their wealth: nothing. One percenters, just shut up."

THE WASHINGTON POST: Money made at others’ expense

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