Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rich get richer

Income for the wealthiest Americans has sharply increased in the last 30 years - 275% for the top 1%. Meanwhile, the bottom 20% saw income rise by just 18%. Middle class saw their income rise by about 40% ~ Congressional Budget Office (NPR article or CNN)

Meanwhile Republicans in Congress weeks ago were willing to have the United States default rather than repeal a portion of the Bush tax cuts and raise taxes for the rich by 3.5%.
In a lovely letter from A Voice From the 1% - "Here is a secret about rich people:  we wouldn't have noticed a 3.5% tax increase.  That is not only because there isn't a material difference between having $1 million and $965,000, which is obvious, but also because most of us don't actually know how much money we are going to make in a given year.  Most income at that level is the result of profits rather than salary, whether it comes in the form of bonuses, stock options, partnership distributions, dividends or capital gains."

Many are saying if we "punish" the "job creators" they won't be able to help the unemployment rate.   A Voice From the 1%  says “I was not amazed but disgusted when John Boehner and his crew tried to justify the extremity of their position by rebranding the wealthy as "job creators."  While true in a very basic sense, it obscures the fact that jobs are a cost that is voluntarily incurred only as a result of demand.  Hiring has no correlation at all to profits or to income - none.”

Over at Occupy Oakland...
Tuesday evening police used tear gas and baton rounds to force protesters to leave their camp. Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old former US Marine who has served two tours in Iraq, was struck in the head with a heavy object. He remains in the hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull. “The irony is not lost on anyone here that this is someone who survived two tours in Iraq and is now seriously injured by the Oakland police force” (BBC article)

Today I'm meditating on the following quotes from the Bahá’í, Muslim and Christian background....and shaking my head at the state of my country.

"Some being enormously rich and others lamentably poor....It is important to limit riches, as it is also of importance to limit poverty. Either extreme is not good. To be seated in the mean is most desirable. If it be right for a capitalist to possess a large fortune, it is equally just that his workman should have a sufficient means of existence." `Abdu'l-Bahá's Paris Talks

The Prophet (PBUH) said, "The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah's Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day." Bukhari Volume 7, Book 64, Number 265

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  Matthew 25:41-45

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