24 July 2004

Sad numbers

A July 22 article by Kristin Roberts mentions that the income gap between rich and poor in Washington, D.C., is significantly wider than nearly every other large city in the United (based on a report from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute). In other words, the economic growth of the last 15 years has benefited the top fifth of the city's population, while doing nothing for the poor.

The sad numbers:
"The average income of the richest 20 percent of
Washington, D.C., households grew by 35.7 percent
during the last decade, while the average income
of the bottom 20 percent rose 3.3 percent."

"The average income of the city's richest residents
was almost 31 times higher, at $186,830, than that
of the poorest, at $6,126."

Greenspan, voicing the sentiments of his class, blames the poor for their lack of education and job skills (See Neil Henderson's article in the Washington Post). Schmuck's like Greenspan would have us believe that everyone in the US could be a CEO if they would just work a little harder and try to educate themselves. This is, of course, a completely ridiculous notion. A large, technologically advanced economy will always require people to fill labor and service positions. The issue here is not education but distribution. In our current economy, a large number of workers--people who spend their lives doing their part for the common good--aren't given their portion of the wealth that they help create. Most of the wealthy, on the other hand, do not work but live instead from "capital gains" (essentially, a tax on the poorer classes to support their lavish lifestyle.) The Republicans claim that their party represents the interests of those red-blooded Americans who work for a living. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, they represent the interests of lazy, non-productive segments of the population and are clearly against the people who actually work for a living. The numbers are deeply disturbing and U.S. leaders' failure to deal with this issue is reprehensible.

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