Blog Center: Kurt's Blog - Archived Entry
The Fragmenting of America - August 19, 2004
The other day I heard a report on NPR that confirms the fragmenting of America by income and economic status. Based upon 2002 data, the richest 20% of Americans now control 50% of the wealth in America and the poorest 20% control only 3.5%. I find that alarming for a number of reasons.
First, over the past 30 years the share of wealth for the richest 20% has increased from 44% to 50%, and those statistics are prior to the effects of the huge tax cut for that same group by Bush and the Republicans last year. The poorest 20%, on the other hand, have seen their wealth decrease from 4% over that same time period. The gap between the richest “haves” and poorest “have nots” continues to grow. And that gap disproportionately reflects a difference in ethnicity.
Second, the large increase of wealth for the richest comes primarily at the expense of the middle 60%, the working middle class. In addition, this segment takes on a larger portion of the tax burden with the substantial tax reductions provided to the richest 20% as well as the substantial reduction in the corporate tax burden over the past 30 years. Since I assume that this middle 60% includes a majority of the “NASCAR Dads”, I just don’t get their solid support for the Bush Administration and the Republicans. Do they like taking on a larger share of the tax burden from the rich…..or are they just in the dark?
Third, I am a member of that richest 20%, and unlike the majority of them, a proud liberal and Democrat. What makes me different? Why am I willing to give up my tax breaks from Bush over the last few years in order to make sure we provide the same opportunity for the less fortunate in our great country? Why do I recall my own working class roots and appreciate the federal loans and grants that helped make college a reality for me? Why am I bothered more by the Corporate welfare granted to defense contractors, tobacco farmers, and energy and logging companies than by expenditures to feed the hungry, house the homeless, provide health benefits to the uninsured and educate the less fortunate? Why am I willing to share my good fortune and be aware of the needs of the less fortunate and others decry taxation of any sort and are caught up in their own little world?
Those, my friends, are the $64,000 questions for me. I don’t know the answers but they are what brought me here to Driving Votes and fuel my need and desire to be a difference in the upcoming election.
// posted by kurt at 08:35 AM
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