Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Christian" pols mum about the shameless rich

Just how gilded and inequitable is this New Gilded Age?

An article by David Cay Johnston, which was buried in the business section of Saturday’s New York Times, lays it out.

“The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans….”

Yes, the INCREASE for the top 1 percent exceeded the TOTAL INCOME for the bottom fifth.

Well, that’s bad, but it couldn’t have exceeded the total income of the poor by much.


The gains of the super rich exceeded the entire income of the poor by 37 percent, $524.8 billion to $383.4 billion.

Here’s another way of looking at what happened in those two years. Writes Johnston, “On average, incomes for the top 1 percent of households rose by $465,700 each, or 42.6 percent after adjusting for inflation. The incomes of the poorest fifth rose by $200, or 1.3 percent, and the middle fifth increased by $2,400 or 4.3 percent.”

And just who had the greatest need?

The motto of this oh-so Christian administration whose Decider-in-Chief calls himself a born again Christian, might as well be “Greed is good.”

When will the so-called Christian Republican candidates address this issue? Who among them dares put in the face of their super rich backers Christ’s teaching from Matthew: “...Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”?

(Could it be that at least some of Michael Huckabee's current political traction derives from his has daring to call the anti-tax, anti-government Club of Growth for what it is — in Huckabee's words, the "Club of Greed"?)

Meanwhile, right here at home, the Portland Development Commission is pouring a public-backed $3 million loan into the new “The Nines” luxury hotel over the downtown Macy’s because the hotel wasn’t up-scale enough to cater to the rich.

Airlines are squeezing coach passengers to make room for sleeper cabins for the rich. The yacht business is booming. And executives are paid 400 times what their workers make.

Where is the shame? Where is the outrage?

(By the way, I’m still waiting to see the Johnston story printed in The Oregonian. And why was the story on page three of the Times business section instead of on the front page?)

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