Dear Dirty America

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Disturbing Figures About California’s Wealth Gap

March 09
16:00 2012
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
Los Angeles

Credit: David Shankbone

In an LA Times Op-Ed, Alissa Anderson and Jean Ross make us cringe:

Over the last two decades, the average income of the top 1% of Californians increased by 50%, after adjusting for inflation, while the average income of the middle fifth fell by 15%. In 2009, the average income of the top 1% was $1.2 million — more than 30 times that of Californians in the middle fifth.

The ugliness continues:

Nearly 1 in 6 Californians now lives in poverty, the largest share in over a decade. California’s millionaires, who account for a fraction of a percent of the population, had combined incomes of more than $100 billion in 2009 — 11 times the income needed to life every Californian out of poverty.

And finally, if you still think America is the greatest land in the nation:

…the Economic Mobility Project, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, found that the United States actually has less economic mobility than many other industrialized nations.

Don’t despair, but instead get energized. Demand that minimum wage earners start making a living wage. Demand corporate tax loopholes get closed, and that big oil subsidies stop. Demand more money for teachers and education, more money for construction worker jobs to rebuild infrastructure, and demand that congress and political campaigns be unable to receive unlimited corporate donations.

Every man, woman, and child in this country could have a modest place to live, food every day, and clean, running water, electricity, and access to the internet without breaking the bank. What’s doing us in is continuously expanding our empire — obliterating and then rebuilding poorer countries overseas.

We pay trillions for missiles, armored vehicles, guns, body armor, and anti-terrorist weaponry, and then, after the carnage, we hire our private contractors to rebuild the nation again, and while they rebuild, your taxpayer dollars hire mercenaries to protect them.

It’s ironic that the same people who help start wars are also executives (or have shares) in the companies who later sweep up the mess and rebuild over the rubble for hundreds of billions in profit. Can we be surprised that our school districts can’t afford to have enough teachers, or keep their lights on all day long, or have enough counselors, janitors, and dietitians to make an elementary or high school run smoothly?

Demand our money back. Stop shopping at the big box stores that ship American jobs overseas. Stop fighting over Democrats and Republicans. Both parties are products of Big Money, and they don’t give a shit about you. Barack Obama is Mitt Romney. Stop bickering over which one would lead our nation better. Both are heavily armed by dirty money. Both will continue to bulldoze us into the smoldering pit dug for us by Wall Street, greed, and criminal investment banking.

See also, California closing 70 state parks: Do we have the time for peace and nature, anyway?

Occupy Los Angeles Swarms City Hall: the March

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