Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Illusion of "Solving Inequality"

Even Republicans are now agreeing that “inequality” needs to be dealt with and they are, like the Democrats, proposing to deal with it by “taxing the rich,” that is by taking small amounts of money away from the richest Americans. That means that instead of owning 99.9% of America’s wealth, the “1%” will then own only 99.8% of America’s wealth, the working class will still be working two jobs to be only marginally able to pay their bills, and politicians can run on a platform of having solved the inequality problem.

Unfortunately, the American voters are delighted with this totally illusory solution. As someone said in a comment on another blog, “The level of acceptance of propaganda as truth in the US has now become staggering in its effect.”

Much is being made of sundry individuals in the 1% saying that they don’t mind paying a little bit more tax, using that as support for the plan of “taxing the rich” to solve the inequality problem. Of course the 1% supports this solution and is happy to pay a slightly higher tax, so long as the basic policies which created inequality and are still contributing to it are left in place. Their willingness to pay a higher tax should be a "red flag" as to just how bogus this solution actually is, something along the lines of Br'er Rabbit begging not to be thrown into the briar patch.

Inequality is not the real issue; it is the result of unfair economic and social policies, and is a symptom of those policies in action, and the progressivism in the tax rate is among the smallest of those issues. Solving inequality is going to require changing those policies in major ways, starting with the biggest ones, which are replacing the well paying jobs which were shipped offshore in the name of “globalization” and “free trade,” and allowing the forces of collective bargaining to regain equal power with business.

Taking small amounts of money from the rich may help the poor if it is redistributed in social programs, which for the most part it will not be, but it will do nothing towards raising the living standards of the men and women who work for a living and draw paychecks based on hourly wages. That is what the discussion must be about, because it doesn’t matter how many jobs we generate if those jobs do not permit the workers to support their families with dignity and a provide quality way of life.

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