My favorite article about inequality is Bill Moyers’ “We, the Plutocrats vs. We, the People – Saving the Soul of Democracy,” available on the internet. I hope the following from this article will convince you to read the rest.
• In their study “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger,” epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett found that the most consistent predictor of mental illness, infant mortality, low educational achievement, teenage births, homicides and incarceration was economic inequality.
• Inequality has been politically engineered over the last 40 years, and on this development, you can’t do better than read “Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class” by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pearson. With convincing documentation they concluded America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefited the few at the expense of the many.
• In the 1970s, political strategists made alliances with the religious right, with Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, to wage a cultural holy war that would camouflage an economic assault on working people.
• Princeton University researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page studied data from 1,800 different policy initiatives launched between 1981 and 2002. They found that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy while massed-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.
• The rich can buy more homes, cars, vacations, gadgets and gizmos than anyone else, but they shouldn’t be able to buy more democracy. That they can and do is a despicable blot on American politics that’s now spreading like a giant oil spill.
Ron Adams, Decatur