Great column by Bob Herbert. Too bad it is his last for the NYT. Here are a few good lines, go read the all the lines. I can't promise you that reading the column will cure your heartburn, but it tells the truth in a clear, easy manner. I will miss his work.
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.
The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.
There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.
Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable.*
*****The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.
*****A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year.
*This sad acquiescence is the result of 30 years of Alzheimer Ronnie's vision of America, where trees cause pollution, nuclear waste can be stored under a 3rd grader's desk, & going to college is just an excuse for playing football for four more years. Reagan's effect on the people of America was one of finding out that what they, the people, thought didn't matter a bit to the power of the ReThug cabal. Ronald Reagan's policies let to lousy voting percentages, just about the worst in the world.