Wealth Vs. Workby Allan C. Ornstein
Wealth vs. Work: How 1% Victimize 99% is about the vanishing American dream, growing inequality inAmerica, shrinking and struggling middle class, plight of labor and unions, economic decline of the nation, and a broken and unstable world surrounding theU.S. Education is no longer the great equalizer. We are heading toward a world where inherited privilege trumps excellence and meritocracy. Carried far enough, it means the end of striving and the American dream. Few Americans realize or want to admit it.
Since recorded history, workers have been victimized by the rich and super rich, treated as fungible and disposable. The early warlords and monarchs have been replaced by the "titans" of industry and "masters of the universe" on Wall Street. The slaves, peasants and serfs have been replaced by miners, factory workers, and service-sector workers. The GM model of the 1950s and 1960s (that permitted labor to become middle class) has been replaced by the Wal-Mart model-characterized by low pay and minimal benefits.
By 2025, the economic output of China and India may likely each exceed the U.S. Moreover, the U.S. work force is being increasingly displaced by technology and outsourcing. But we are supposed to be the lucky ones! By historical and geographical accident, the U.S. has been spared most of the world's poverty and misery. Today, however, the U.S. is heading towards a financial oligarchy-much worse than the aristocratic old world that our Founding Fathers feared and tried to avoid.
Yes, the U.S. had a revolution, but in fact it has a new and more powerful elite because the economic pie has expanded several thousand fold since the yeoman farmers' status was compared to the plantation owner. Right now the top 1 percent in the U.S. own nearly 40 percent of the nation's wealth; moreover, their investments, capital gains and dividends are taxed at a lower rate than workers' salaries. Like all great civilizations that have declined before us, we are a nation that needs to re-examine its ideals and institutions.
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