Friday, November 7, 2008
THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS ... AT 7TH AND MONTANA
They say that America has turned into a nation of "the haves" and "the have nots," that in the past eight years the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. A recent piece in The Economist makes this all too clear: Between 2002 and 2006, 99% of working Americans saw their income rise by only 1 percent a year. In contrast, the remaining 1 percent -- the country's wealthiest individuals -- saw their incomes rise by 11 percent a year. In other words, three-quarters of America's economic gain during the "boom" years went to the top 1 percent. This contrast plays itself out every morning on the sidewalk in front of Our Favorite Starbucks and today was no exception. "Hey, isn't that your friend, Mr. Trust Fund?," I asked as a Sleek, New Ferrari pulled into the Parking Lot from Hell. Mr. Trust Fund achieved notoriety last year by launching his Lamborghini into space, only to have it come crashing down onto several parked cars on Ocean Avenue. He's been driving a Bentley ever since. "No," answered Richard, "That's someone else." Amtech Jeff was quick to chime-in: "Oh, don't you know him? That's the guy who invented Spin Bikes." While we were talking, a Derelict sidled-up to the Garbage Can in front of us, removed the lid and began rooting around for leftovers. His face lit-up every time he hit paydirt until, by the time he left, he had gathered together an impressive, slightly used breakfast. There's been a lot of talk lately about "redistribution of wealth." I'm no Robin Hood, but I, for one, don't mind paying a bit more in taxes if it means people like the Derelict can get a decent meal, a roof over their heads and healthcare when they need it. Sarah Palin might call it "socialism" ... but, then again, she's just a Nieman-Marxist, isn't she?