Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quotation for Today: Corrosive Nature of Income and Wealth Inequality

 “I spent four years in undergraduate school, four years in medical school, three years as a resident and three years as a fellow. You have to look at the people who are complaining.”
Anu Chandok, M.D.

Dr. Chandok is an oncologist in Lake Success, New York and her comments, as part of a New York Times article on the one-percent, was in response to understanding the meaning of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Manifest in her comments are several overarching views of the world held by the one-percent:  
1. They perceive themselves as having earned their wealth without the help of others  --  not!
2. The one-percent fails to recognize the hard work of the 99-percent who also pay taxes to fund the medical schools, roads, water systems, etc. that facilitate the one-percent's wealth building and that the one-percent take for granted. Also, Elizabeth Warren has commented on this character trait of the one-percent (see related article by Charles Blow).
3. It is the 99-percent  --  utilizing services and buying goods for their families  --  that help make the fortunate one-percent become wealthy; however the wealthy only see themselves as creating wealth.
More important than the reaction of the one-percent to intense income and wealth inequality is the response of Republican politicians to it.  Today's New York Times editorial (see related article) points out well the hypocrisy of Republican politicians.  An excerpt from the editorial is included below (underscored emphasis added):

And yet if Democrats dare to point out that the income gains of the top 1 percent have dwarfed everyone else’s in the last few decades, they are accused of whipping up class envy. Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, noted in a speech on Thursday that the median income in the United States had actually declined since 1999, shrinking the middle class while the income of the top 1 percent soared. Such inequality is corrosive. And pointing it out has nothing to do with envy and everything to do with pressing for policies to help America’s struggling middle class.

Dewan, Sheila and Robert Gebeloff. "Among the Wealthiest One Percent, Many Variations." The New York Times 14 January, 2012: online edition.

Related article:

"What They Don’t Want to Talk About." Editorial. The New York Times 14 January, 2012: online edition.

Blow, Charles. "Bitter Politics of Envy?" The New York Times 13 January, 2012: online edition.

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