Sunday, March 24, 2013

One Inch

Trey Smith


In an interview by Joshua Holland of author David Cay Johnson, the following statistics should grab you by the throat!
From 1966 – when Lyndon Johnson was president -- to 2011, 45 years later, the bottom 90 percent of Americans’ average income, as reported on tax returns, went up by a stunning $59 -- almost no change at all. If you measure that $59 increase for the vast majority of Americans as one inch, then on the same scale, the incomes of those in the top ten percent went up by 168 feet. The top one percent, 888 feet. The plutocrats -- the Mitt Romney crowd, the top one percent of the top one percent? Their incomes rose by almost five miles relative to that one inch.
To explain this wide disparity another way, let's say your local gas station sold fuel based on each consumer's financial standing. For $4.00, 90 percent of the population would receive 1 measly gallon. Most of the people in the top 10 percent would receive, on average, 2,016 gallons for the same $4.00. Those well-bred folks in the top one percent would receive 10,656 gallons for their $4.00 outlay. And the crème de la crème of society would receive nearly 316,000 gallons for their $4.00.

Take a look at those ratios! In the last instance, we're talking about a ratio of 316,000 to 1. Even the lower ratio of 2,016 to 1 is vulgar.

These figures would be far worse if we factored in all the poor people in countries exploited by the west. We might be looking at ratios of 5,000,000 to 1 or greater. How can we say we live in a just world if some people get to claim oodles of resources, while others must beg for the bare necessities? This is not to argue that the ratio should be 1 to 1, but it is inhumane to support ANY system that celebrates ratios that are so out of whack.

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