Sunday, December 22, 2013

Signs of Hope at the End of 2013

As we close out 2013 a remarkable thing happened, Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter, Wall Street Journal opinion writer and Republican darling tells the startling truth about what might be passing through the minds of the world's thinking billionaires. While many  dream of ever bigger houses and yachts some worry about the market continuing to rise. Noonan overheard a New York billionaire say these unlikely words,   "I hate it when the market goes up. Every time I hear the stock market went up I know the guillotines are coming closer."  Noonan reflects that self-made, broadly accomplished was concerned that the gap between the ever richer haves and the increasingly poverty line and below have nots "has become too extreme, too dramatic, and static," and "fears it will eventually tear the country apart and give rise to policies that are bitter and punishing, not helpful and broadening." What is arresting apart from the stark choice of imagery is the fact that this commentary is published on capitalism's flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal. There maybe some hope that the financial and political captains of the country (more or less the same people) maybe having second thoughts about the increasing unfairness of a system that keeps rewarding those with the wealth and will think again about continuing to fray the  safety net that keeps millions of people from destitution. Liberals who propound such views are usually vilified by the right wing media machine as well "liberals" who know nothing about the need to run profitable businesses or some such tired put down,  but they are in reality capitalists best friend, trying to make an inherently unequal system slightly more humane and by extension less unstable. Thus for example initiatives such as passing higher cost of living related minimum wage laws are designed to keep the system from not breaking down so completely that families cannot get properly fed and clothed and people cannot afford to live in dignity.  Obama with nothing left to run for but a legacy as a change agent to protect, should be dedicating his presidency to closing the wealth gap.

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