Friday, February 7, 2014

Inequality Is What America Is All About

Change you can believe in.
Yeah right.  There are some things that never change and one of them is the tendency for the rich to get richer at everyone else's expense, especially in America.
Since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, 95% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, and during the same time period the median income has dropped.
It would appear that within this context the inequality of income should be the major concern of the political class.

No way.  Not in the US of A, where more than half of the members of the US Congress are millionaires.

Instead, as a close analysis of President Obama's State of the Union speech reveals, Americans should be more concerned about the equality of opportunity than the equality of incomes.

You can't get anymore American than that.

After all, America is a fundamentalist nation founded on the Protestant wealth ethic articulated by the 16th century French-born theologian, John Calvin.

Related Post

Sanctifying Success

Calvin's universe was ruled by a petulant and vindictive deity, one who toyed with his followers by designating a select group of them to share in his divine bounty, only to leave them in the dark as to who these lucky chosen might be.

The faithful were, then, left to fret and worry whether they were in God's good graces and, more importantly, whether they would share the common and inescapable fate of eternal damnation that was the certain end of the non-elect.

How, then, was one to know if they were one of the elect?

The answer: material success.

If a businessman's coffers were fat and he was benefiting from what appeared to be a shrewd and effective business acumen, then surely it is evidence that the Almighty had smiled on him, welcoming him, perhaps, into the Divine's august company.

This, of course, is a ready-made philosophy for any self-flattering elite - no matter what the century - anxious to justify their good fortune as divinely mandated.

Moreover, it provides a justification, based upon a widely-held religious belief, why we should not increase the taxes upon the rich.  To do so, according to this fundamentlist Protestant mindset, would be against God's will.

Instead, we should have faith in the market, which left on its own, without the interference from government, will provide the opportunity for everyone to join God's Elect.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the essence of the American Dream because you have to be asleep at the wheel to fall for that bowl of malarky.

Equal opportunity in America? 

In a country where more than 47 million people live off of food stamps?  In a country where millions of students take on mountain loads of unforgiveable debt just to have the hope of some day making it?  In a country that has the largest number of incarcerated people in the world?

Get out of town! No way!

But that's what it takes to live in America.  You have to "live the lie", I mean "hold the faith" if you want to get by.

Otherwise, you might do something foolish like raise the taxes on the rich and that would most certainly "hurt" the economy.

And God would be really pissed off if that ever happened.

Who knows how he would react? He might even let catastrophic climate change to occur.

So, let's not piss him off and everything will be fine.                         


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