Saturday, September 4, 2010

Be Spiritual Not Material

A great Op-ed by Robert B. Reich recently appeared in the New York Times, titled “How To End The Great Recession.”

Part I

Reich informs us that the wealthiest 1% of Americans take in 23.5% of our total income, a bloated percentage that hasn’t been seen since 1928, just before the Great Depression.

Let me express his strong implication with a handy jingle:

When the super-wealthy bloat with money, it is bad for the country.


First of all, they tend to hoard, not spend. Second, when they do spend, it might well go out of the country--for a Villa in France, for example, or a nifty tax-free bank account in the Cayman Islands.

Heck, they have the money to travel wherever they want and they probably do, spending untold thousands of dollars as tourists anywhere but here.

In other words, the ultra-rich don’t put money back into the American economy as efficiently as the rest of us. We need to redistribute the wealth so that we get the fair and level income curve that existed in the 50’s and 60’s.

Reich points out that during those Golden Decades there was a (gasp) “70 percent to 90 percent marginal income tax on the highest incomes.”

Moral of the story: the government needs to play Robin Hood. Take from the rich 1 percent and give to the poor 99 percent.

Part II

From about 1970 onward, the American income has been struggling to keep up with our neurotic need to buy new stuff. Instead of wising up and stepping back from the temptation of glitz, we fell into the trap set for us by the Madison Avenue mind-controllers.

First, we sacrificed our free time. Women started working instead of staying home like they did in the 60’s. Then they starting working more and more hours. Men, who had been working full time already, ramped up their hours. Now everyone is a frantic thoughtless callous ant.

Get this: even sacrificing our free time to meaningless jobs under tyrannical bosses couldn’t boost our income enough. We needed that stuff so badly. Gosh golly! So, by the 1990’s, we went into debt.

Yes, that’s right. Because we are addicted to shiny new stuff, we sold our souls on two levels: (1) gave up our free time, (2) put ourselves in more and more debt.

So, here we are. Porcine shoppers who had a wonderful lifestyle back in the 60’s, but we let ourselves be tugged along by the golden rings through our noses.

Realize this: The corporations sold us out as soon as they could. As Reich says:

This crisis began decades ago when a new wave of technology — things like satellite communications, container ships, computers and eventually the Internet — made it cheaper for American employers to use low-wage labor abroad or labor-replacing software here at home than to continue paying the typical worker a middle-class wage. Even though the American economy kept growing, hourly wages flattened. The median male worker earns less today, adjusted for inflation, than he did 30 years ago.

Nothing in this world more resembles a Biblical “Servant of Mammon” than a corporation. These obese creatures have no loyalty to American workers. Through public relations campaigns they put on a good face, but they are amazingly selfish. Corporations are perfect sociopaths.

I find it ridiculous that Republican Conservative Christians and right-leaning Democrats are so hateful when it comes to government programs to help the needy; and yet right in before them, larger than any of us, are some of the most repulsive pustules of greed the world has ever know: multinational corporations and billionaire carpetbaggers.

Time for another jingle:

Be spiritual not material.

If OWL’s jingles were followed, to quote Sam Cook, “What a wonderful world this would be.”

1 comment:

  1. very good post, I agree, its terrible that we have as societies become so material. I think this is something that is worse in the USA than in the UK, but we're pretty bad too.

    Corporations have quite a lot to answer for when it comes to everyone's greed though, not only because of hoarding wealth but because of their making things that can't be mended, built in obsolesence is a terrible thing.

    I've just posted your poem on Bolts of Silk by the way... I'll send you the permalink later.