The severing of our society into a plutocracy and a peasantry is so far along that statistics almost cease to have meaning. But the facts have to be told, to help explain the sickening sense that we’re becoming a nation without a middle class, paralyzed by the inequality deniers and excuse makers who refuse to admit there’s something wrong with their free-market capitalist system. The extremes are becoming almost intolerable.
1. A Broken System of Compensation: The Combined Salaries of 350,000 Pre-School Teachers is Less Than That of Five Hedge Fund Managers
Pre-school teaching may be our nation’s most important job. Numerous studies show that with pre-school, all children achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most.
Hedge fund managers, at the other extreme, are likely to bet on mortgages to fail or on food prices to rise.
It’s a frightening commentary on our value system that the total income of over a third of a million pre-school teachers is less than the combined income of just five big-money speculators.
2. Diminishing Support for Society: The 1% Made More from their Investments in 2013 than the Entire Cost of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Safety Net
97 ([New York State Takes the Lead in the Relief of the Unemployed. A Message Recommending Creation of Relief Administration.
To the Legislature (in Extraordinary Session):
What is the State? It is the duly constituted representative of an organized society of human beings, created by them for their mutual protection and well-belng. “The State“ or “The Government” is but the machinery through which such mutual aid and protection are achieved. The cave man fought for existence unaided or even opposed by his fellow man, but today the humblest citizen of our State stands protected by all the power and strength of his Government. Our Government is not the master but the creature of the people. The duty of the State toward the citizens is the duty of the servant to the master. The people have created it; the people, by common consent, permit its continual existence.
One of these duties of the State is that of caring for those of its citizens who ﬁnd themselves the victims of such adverse circumstances as makes them unable to obtain even the necessities for mere existence without the aid of others. That responsibility is recognized by every civilized Nation.
For example, from the earliest days of our own country the consciousness of the proper relationship between the State and the citizen resulted in the establishment of those often crude and unscientiﬁc but wholly necessary institutions known as the county poor houses.