20 September 2010


Two articles in today's NYTimes provide sharp contrast in comparing the many lives of those in this country who are over age 50 and jobless, and those in this country who are wealthy and not about to let go of a penny.

The first article, by Motoko Rich, examines the very real fears over the prospect of never working again, given the depth of the Bush-generated economic crisis and the years it will take to recover. An endless cycle of poverty and hopelessness already exists, and is widening daily. I empathize, I've been there. For sixteen years I followed my ex-wife's career around the nation, sacrificing my own professional aspirations for the relationship, and always finding it harder and harder to land a job at each new home. When we parted ways, the final job hunt was the most difficult, lasting nearly a year. Work-induced injuries forced me into early retirement, and I'm here to tell you, living on Social Security with no other pensions or retirement benefits is no joke.

The second article, by economist Paul Krugman, eloquently portrays the anger and sense of entitlement among our nation's wealthiest and most privileged (and by virtue of their wealth, most influential) citizens. Far from seeing their wealth as something to be shared through taxation or philanthropy (as was the case with many rich industrialists in the past), today's elite intends to not only gorge themselves while others starve, but to bleed the public coffers, in the form of paying few if any taxes, and in the form of government bailouts when their financial mismanagement or malfeasance threatens their CEO bonuses and corporate dividends. Greed has replace social responsibility, the inevitable fruits of capitalism allowed to run feral.

The impoverished many. The obscenely wealthy few. And the financial gap between them widens with every passing year. Unless fiscal reform is forthcoming in short order, this will become the seeds of uncivil unrest expressed in stark and potentially violent terms. And both Republicans and Democrats will share responsibility for having done NOTHING.

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