Apparently, the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger, according to a report out today. Also, apparently, this is not a great surprise to the people writing the article that I read. I kind of thought it was just me. When you spend a great portion of the day with people that are nearly homeless, with their electricity off, with no insurance, no welfare, etc… you hope that they are the dregs of society — the last bastion of poverty, the permanent underclass. I just assumed it was my bias, not the rest of the country’s reality.
The news has not been good lately. Yes, the banks are stable and the economy is “back from the brink” according to our president. Cash-For-Clunkers worked well. There is more construction on Connecticut roadways than I remember in a long time. It’s the same way in Massachusetts, so somebody’s working.
But unemployment is getting worse, people aren’t moving, aren’t selling their homes, aren’t buying anything, and still don’t have health care. If they were supposed to get it through their jobs, forget that. Nobody I knows feels really confident that the recession is over, though individuals like myself have gotten more work and therefore more money.
So what happened? I suspect that we saved the banks, kept the rich afloat and they took the money and ran. CEOs are still getting bonuses, still partying with the rich, still acting like the rich. Some of them, to be sure, now understand that the rest of us won’t put up with this and the ethos of business is changing. But enough of them still didn’t get the memo that we’re broke so we’re stuck in the old ways.
That’s what I suspect happened, but I don’t know. I know the government put all this stimulus money into the economy but it seems to be having no effect. I can now hear my friends who hate government (or maybe just this administration) saying “See, the government can’t fix everything by throwing money at things!. See! See!”. I’m sure they can’t, but not throwing money at people and organizations that need it isn’t helping either. I suspect –as I recently said — that there’s something fundamentally wrong with our economic system. I don’t know what that is, but if I’m right, I suspect it’ll take a while to fix it. In the meantime, the already poor become more so, and the already rich do the same.
Are there people out there that we’d call “the best and the brightest” about this? How about “best, brightest, and most moral”? Who are they and can they step forward please?