I found this graphic today. It says a lot about where we are in America today. Michael Moore put it succinctly at a rally in Madison last week.
America is not broke.
Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.
Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.
This is absurd. I am tired of hearing how teachers, municipal and state employees, and their unions are ruining America. What is the problem with someone making a decent middle-class income? Why is it only called class war when the folks at the bottom of the rungs start complaining?
Howard Zinn captured it perfectly in the last chapter of A People’s History of the United States. A chapter entitled “The Coming Revolt of the Guards.”
It is important for them [the Establishment] also to make sure that this artificial unity of highly privileged and slightly privileged is the only unity – that the 99 percent remain split in countless ways, and turn against one another to vent their angers.
How skillful to tax the middle class to pay for the relief of the poor, building resentment on top of humiliation! How adroit to bus poor black youngsters into poor white neighborhoods, in a violent exchange of impoverished schools, while the schools of the rich remain untouched and the wealth of the nation, doled out carefully where children need free milk, is drained for billion-dollar aircraft carriers. How ingenious to meet the demands of blacks and women for equality by giving them small special benefits, and setting them in competition with everyone else for jobs make scarce by an irrational, wasteful system. How wise to turn the fear and anger of the majority toward the class of criminals bred – by economic inequality – faster than they can be put away, deflecting the attention from the huge thefts of national resources carried out within the law by men in executive offices.
The last few years I watched the Tea Party activists with a mixture of pity and disgust. I understood their anger, what I didn’t and couldn’t understand was where it was directed.
Robert Reich has started referring to what is happening in Madison and other places as the People’s Party. Perhaps this will be a rebirth of the Populist Movement of the late 1800s. I hope so.
Unlike the Tea Party, the People’s Party should direct its anger at the corporations, Wall Street and the politicians of all parties that do their bidding.
Here is how Michael Moore finished his speech last week.
America ain’t broke! The only thing that’s broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it’s one person, one vote, and it’s the thing the rich hate most about America — because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!
Madison, do not retreat. We are with you. We will win together.