Thursday, November 7, 2013

Exhibit A as to why we need another, stronger New Deal: A stock market that thrives on misery.

(New Deal policy-makers tried to improve the lives of Americans. WPA poster, image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.) 

On November 6, 2013, the Associated Press reported that the Dow Jones closed at a record high: 15,746.

On that same day, we learned that 50 million Americans live in poverty, and that "half of U.S. wage earners made less than $30,000" in 2012 (see "Everyone in America is even more broke than you think").

According to Les Leopold, who frequently writes on the topic of income inequality, there are 442 billionaires in America and 16.4 million children living in poverty (see "America's greatest shame: Child poverty rises and food stamps cut while billionaires boom").

We also know that over 25 million Americans would like a full-time job but can't find one (

("One Third of a Nation" was a WPA Theatre play that highlighted the poverty that many Americans lived in during the Great Depression. WPA poster, image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)  

What does it say about our economy, and our morals, when billionaires see their wealth expand while millions of children live in poverty, and the frequency of suicide rises (due, in part, to financial distress), and millions can't find jobs, and middle-class wages stagnate or drop?

And, as if all this were not bad enough, there are those who feel that billionaires should be taxed less because they're the "job creators." These people seem perfectly oblivious to the fact that the super-wealthy are already enjoying historically low tax rates and historically high income & wealth...and are still doing nothing to create decent, middle-class jobs.

The fact of the matter is, we don't need to give tax breaks to billionaires. Instead, we need to raise taxes on billionaires to help create a new, and stronger, New Deal, i.e., programs and policies to help middle and low-income Americans. Indeed, a prominent & wealthy investor recently wrote to his super-wealthy colleagues to pay more taxes and work towards an economy for the common good. Will it happen? Well, if the past five years are any indication, the answer is a resounding "no." President Obama doesn't have the fortitude and/or desire to propose such a policy, and billionaire-worshiping politicians in Congress would never pass a law that inconveniences the people they're hoping to get their bribes, oops, I mean "campaign contributions" from. Hence, we have many more years of high suicide rates, stagnant wages, and childhood poverty to endure.

Misery has become the lifeblood of Wall Street, and Wall Street wants more.

No comments:

Post a Comment