New Orleans The polls have to be giving the middle-of-the-roaders and the settle-for-the-best-we-can folks some pause when the lines are hardening against the scandalous income inequality in America wrought by one tax break after another for the rich and the increasing support for the Occupy protests and other expressions of frustration and rage spoken by any willing the voice the people’s true feelings. Other indications are that the vast mobility of the young, long a defining characteristic of America, slowed to a screeching halt because of the Great Recession and the deepening frustration of a generation lost and the risks associated with future expectations and job losses. The opposition to the status quo is going to increase as the resentment of the young accelerates.
Among the numbers popping up everywhere a Time Magazine/SRBI poll referenced by Charles M. Blow of the Times indicated that 54% of those polled are responding “favorably” to the protests. 86% believe that “Wall Street and lobbyists have too much influence in Washington.” 79% hold that “the gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is too large.” 71% believe – listen to this President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury Geithner – “Executives of financial institutions responsible for the financial meltdown in 2008 should be prosecuted.” 68% have finally decided that “The rich should pay more taxes.” And, finally, given the deep cynicism more than half, 56%, believe the “movement will have no impact on American politics.”
At the end of last year the well respected Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported that the income inequality in the United Stated had hit record highs since such reporting was documented. During the period covered in the late 2010 period income at the top had risen by $180,000 and at the bottom by only $400. The gap may be even larger at the end of this year. Last week another study found that the income inequality in the United States now leads all other industrialized nations in the world. What a sorry situation!
The only real surprise these days is that the polling data doesn’t indicate even more consensus that public policy slanted towards avarice and the rich has gone too far. Little is being done to change it so, politicians and policy makers are obviously going to keep waving a red (green?) flag in our faces until we stand up and force the change.