Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is it Worth Losing Their Heads Over? . . . . . .

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Oh dear!  What will we tell the children?  Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist David Cay Johnston is interviewed by Salon magazine and he had a few unsettling things to say about the current state of affairs in the good ol' U S of A:

SALON:  In your introductory essay, you make a point of arguing that inequality is not natural, that it’s something we created and, by extensions, we can undo. But what would you say to those who, say, have read their Piketty and are thinking this kind of inequality is endemic to capitalism?
JOHNSTON:  Well, Piketty — whose work I relied on for years and who substantiates a lot of things that I’ve written with his research — argues that the concentration of wealth will just continue and continue and continue. As Herbert Stein, Richard Nixon’s chief economic adviser, famously said, a trend will only continue as long as it can. We will either, through peaceful, rational means, go back to a system that does not take from the many to give to the few in all these subtle ways, or we will end up like 18th century France. And if we end up in that awful condition, it will be the bloodiest thing the world has even seen. So I think it’s really important to get a handle on this inequality. After all, since the end of the Great Recession, one-third of all income increases in this country went to just 16,000 households, 95 percent of it went to the top 1 percent, and the bottom 90 percent’s incomes fell, and they fell by 15 percent. So we need to recognize that there is a very, very serious problem here that has to get addressed. But it won’t just go on forever because if you follow that to its logical absurdity, one person ends up with 90 percent of the wealth in the world. And that’s not going to happen.
SALON:  So when you say it will be very bloody, I know you’re speaking of a wild hypothetical to some degree, but do you really think we’re on track for violent social upheaval?
JOHNSTON:  Oh, yes. I’ve written about people on the far right and the far left since the ’60s. Back in the ’60s, I was in the homes of people who built bombs, both left and right. And we live in a country now where we have members of Congress who have either questioned, or ignored questions about, killing the president of the United States. We are seeing all these laws passed allowing people to carry guns openly. We are coming apart as a society, and inequality is right at the core of that. When the 90 percent are getting worse off and they’re trying to figure out what happened, they’re not people like me who get to spend four or five hours a day studying these things and then writing about them — they’re people who have to make a living and get through life. And they’re going to be swayed by demagogues and filled with fear about the other, rather than bringing us together.

You see dear readers, it is not just loud mouth peons with shitty little internet blogs like The Gadfly who are frantically waving their arms and postulating that this country is in a world of shit if things don't change and the pendulum of fairness and equality doesn't swing back toward the commoners.

Read the whole fascinating interview at the link above -- and let's hope that the oligarchs read it too, because if Johnston is right, the fate that befell King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette ain't got nothing on the providence that is headed like a freight train toward them if they continue their destructive and selfish ways.


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