“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”
In a recent CBS interview, Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, referred to income inequality in the United States as “destabilizing” and stated that “too much of the GDP over the last generation has gone to too few of the people.” Those are powerful words coming from a CEO who earned nearly 54 million dollars in 2007.
There is currently an economic divide in the United States that mirrors those not of our international counterparts, but rather those of Brazil, China, Russia, and Venezuela.
Statistics show that economic gains were widely shared during post-WWII decades until Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. He implemented union-busting policies and preached a trickle-down economy, commonly referred to as “Reaganomics”, that would supposedly allow wealth to miraculously flow from the rich to the poor.
Americans now know that this was a complete and utter failure.
Continuing to give the most wealthy Americans and Corporations tax breaks, off-shore banking options, and subsidies has led to the top one percent being in control of 46 percent of global wealth. The 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest and the U.S. income inequality gap is at its highest point since 1921.
So do we blame politics?
Steve Schwartzman, the infamous billionaire chairman of the Blackstone Group, once likened President Obama’s possible 3 percent tax increase on private equity firms to Hitler invading Poland.
Shocking. But then again, the GOP has always seemed to be a magnet for WASPs that actually prefer unequal access to income. This ideology has presented a problem for republicans, because democrats are tending to win elections in metro areas where income inequality is rampant.
The GOP’s primary income source continues to be corporations that are allowed to abuse the environment, evade taxes, and outsource American jobs. These mega-companies that are located around the world use U.S. infrastructure and resources to market their products, but are not being required to give anything back. The allegiance is to profit, not patriotism.
An Apple Executive told The New York Times: “We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries. We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems.”
Author Robert A.G. Monks responded to that by stating: “This is what greed looks like in the global epoch of corporatism: plunder the Treasury, to be sure, but then deny all sense of responsibility to your country of domicile, outsource all obligations, and, like maggots, set to work destroying the host from inside by exporting its jobs and depleting its revenue sources.”
Until these corporations are held accountable for their political and economic failures, the United States will continue to see an increasing income gap. The tax code of the United States is an outdated one that was meant to handle industrial companies at a national level, not multi-billion dollar corporations attempting to take over the world.
Chandler is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.