Income inequality is a national problem

Andrew Smith has captured the essence of the problems we’re experiencing in America, specifically income inequality. To explain income inequality, we must know its basis and that is the failure of the plutocrats and large corporations to provide a livable income by today’s standards for their workers.

The plutocrats and greedy corporations today have much in common with the robber barons of the past century: they want to control most of the income for themselves. Today’s robber barons have many devious ways to hide the fact that a large percentage of America’s middle class is not making a decent living wage in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Perhaps we can explain this disparity by the fact that the robber barons and plutocrats of today have two things in common. First, they want to control most of the wealth by crippling and debilitating the wages of the workers, and second, they are tightfisted and don’t want to share their wealth with their workers.

For example, CEOs of large corporations are happy to make up to 500 times the wages of their average workers. And they want to control the benefits and working conditions of those workers. Today, it has been reported that 1 percent of American plutocrats have a level of wealth that 90 percent of the population does not have.

Mr. Smith correctly said unionization and livable wages are connected. The oligarchs want to control the government through laws, regulations and legislation, made possible by the Citizens United ruling of the Supreme Court, which works in a circuitous route to give the wealthiest individuals and corporations a way to use money from tax breaks to “buy” elections.

History has taught us that unionization makes it possible for workers to benefit from the company’s profits. There is no doubt the goals of today’s capitalists are leading this country from a democracy to an oligarchy. The re-establishment of a progressive tax code is a must to end income inequality.

Ronald Reagan once said “government is the problem, not the solution” and trickle-down economics can work in favor of all. Republicans continue to believe that premise. A well-known jurist said, “you can have a government where the wealthy few control the wealth, or you can have a democracy. But you can’t have both.”

Until we accept this truth and put it into practice, we will lose a government that is for and by all the citizens, and not just the wealthy few.

Donald Coureas

James City County

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