“We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged, free-market capitalism for the poor.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Sixty years ago, Martin Luther King nailed what the country’s problem was.
America gives handouts to its richest citizens while, at the same time, it preaches to poorer Americans that they should not expect handouts because…wait for it…communism.
Sadly, the levels of inequality have only grown since Dr. King put his profound words to paper. The rich—with the help of the Federal and state governments—get richer and the poor get poorer.
This WaPo article spells it out. “Recent economic gains by lower-income workers who have found jobs and benefited from minimum-wage increases in many states haven’t made up for the long-running trend of the wealthy seeing far larger income growth than middle- or lower-income earners.” And, just like in MLK’s time, sexism plays a key role: “Systemic inequality is actually starkest in the top tier of the economic ladder, which is populated primarily by white men…Women in the 95th percentile of earners make around 68 cents on the dollar compared with their male counterparts.”
“In the 1950s and 1960s, when the economy was booming, the wealthiest Americans paid a top income tax rate of 91%. Today, the top rate is 43.4%.”
(Americans for Tax Fairness)
Compared to when MLK lived, working-class folks now shoulder more of the tax burden. America’s 400 richest families enjoy a lower tax rate than the middle class.
I doubt that Dr. King could have fathomed something like 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which not only cut richer folks’ taxes, but also created a gradual tax increase for the lower tax brackets. “In 2018, following the Trump tax reform, and for the first time in the last hundred years, billionaires have paid less than steel workers, schoolteachers and retirees.”
You know what? On second thought, I take back my thought in the previous paragraph about how MLK probably couldn’t have imagined the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. He knew what made white Americans tick, which is why the authorities were so intimidated by him.
In 2020, a worldwide pandemic hit. And the socialism-for-the-rich-masquerading-as-capitalism charade took on new dimensions. At first, rich sociopaths pushed their politicians to ignore Covid-19 because they were more worried that their gambling casino…excuse me…stock market might crash. As bad as it was that Donald Trump dismantled the system of pandemic response procedures developed by the Obama Administration, the impact from coronavirus worsened due to the fact that Wall Street got taken care of before the population did.
The country’s socialism-for-the-rich philosophies killed people. And those responsible will never pay the price. They have money. For some good article links about the ways that the rich exploited Covid, check out Covid Shitbags.
While Covid-19 disproportionately affected non-white Americans, rich white Americans prospered—in large part due to Uncle Sam. “Thanks to the Fed’s efforts to prop up the economy, U.S. stocks have surged to record highs in the aftermath of the outbreak, while bonds last year rallied the most in over a decade.”
The government made it easier for corporations to receive money, using coronavirus as their justification, but this monetary aid did not boost employment. Also, the plummeting mortgage rates offered richer folks a chance to refinance and reduce monthly payments. But…contain your surprise…this crowd still wants more tax cuts.
The Federal Government looks out for the 1%. At the expense of everyone else, the Feds look out for the 1%. It’s time for a hefty wealth tax.
It’s also time to rethink terms like “capitalism” and “socialism” because both have lost their meaning.
Let’s close out this post with more Martin Luther King wisdom.
“The time has come for an all-out war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these’.
“If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.“
Riffing off of previous posts:
• Attack of the low-rent rich people.
• The Donald Trump Tax.
• Anti-Semitic tightwads.
• America, the public bathroom.
• The 1% need a tax increase, their souls cry out for it.
• Bros: America’s new Jews.
I also write fiction. I have two dark comedies available, Fearkiller (Volume 1) and Notes from Trillionaire Island: Fearkiller (Volume 2), as well as Revolutionizer Alpha, the first book in a sci-fi series. I also wrote a story about God. It was weird, but then I decided to make the story and its sequel free. And all of the sudden, it didn’t seem as weird. Writing about God is much less weird when you write about God without charging money for it.