Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sitrep* on wealth and fairness

*sitrep, military-speak for situation report

The Congressional Budget Office reports the obvious, the richest 1% have been getting richer while everyone else has been stagnant:

Between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of Americans with the highest incomes have seen their incomes grow by an average of 275 percent, according to the CBO study (PDF).
In comparison, the 60 percent of Americans in the middle of the income scale saw their incomes increase by just 40 percent during the same time period, according to the study, which was based on a combination of IRS and Census data.
 Meanwhile, people like Herman Cain and Rick Perry float tax plans that will punish the poor and help that 1%.  They and others like Ron Paul also want to strip the government to regulate business, presumably including safety of the food supply.  At the same time the present system shows it is not strict enough:
The death toll linked to Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes in the United States has climbed to 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.
Whole or pre-cut Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes from Colorado-based Jensen Farms have been traced as the cause of what has become the deadliest U.S. food-borne Listeria outbreak in a quarter century.
The way higher ed operates has gotten a pass (IMHO it is a systems of cronyism that awards the haves at the expense of the have-nots), except in terms of the cost:
In-state tuition at public colleges shot up 8.3 percent this year to an average of $8,244, according to an analysis by the College Board. Tuition at private four-year colleges jumped a more modest 4.5 percent, to an average of $28,500.
This is above the rate of inflation, but then so the salaries of the top administrators are way above that of faculty and staff - and the number of these administrators and their salaries keep growing.

Even the Vatican has chimed in on the economic stresses in the world (not surprising if you know Catholic Social teaching).  As Andrew Sullivan says, this has not gone down well with those who can't  reconcile modern American Republicanism with their supposed strong faith:
You knew the Church's effective endorsement of Occupy Wall Street would prompt a sudden outbreak of heterodoxy on the theocon right, didn't you? I mean any Catholic challenge to Randian orthodoxy in the GOP must be smacked down quickly, right? And, sure enough, the theocon blogosphere rises as one in dissent.
But some are saying us Gen Xers like yours truly are happy and balanced. Well there's my personal world and the greater world so I guess it depends on which you are looking at.

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