Much has been made since Occupy Wall Street began of the wealth gap. The rallying cry of “we are the 99%” is effective and in some ways long overdue. For too long our government has been the tool of only the very wealthy, reacting to human need outside of that elite club only when circumstances were dire. The fact that the top 1 percent controls more than the bottom 90 percent combined creates a gross inequality of power that needs to be addressed.
Really though, when it comes right down to it, I don’t care how much more they make than the rest of us, and I suspect if they weren’t such brats, neither would the rest of the 99%. What I do care about is what they do with it. How they spend almost as much lobbying to pay less taxes as they would on the actual taxes if we just closed the various loopholes and raised the top marginal rate just a bit. How they don’t spend it on labor and create jobs like they say they are going to. How they gamble with the rest of our money and get the government, bought and paid for with that wealth, to cover their losses.
Make an obscene amount of money, that’s perfectly fine, but stop actively making the world a scarier and more dangerous place for the rest of us. Not only do I want to see these people stop tearing away at what safety net we do have in America (which is fairly pitiful compared to the rest of the Western World) but I want to see them improve on what it was at its peak. This is both a moral and social good. It is good for us and, more to the point I wish they’d realize it is good for them. It creates a more stable society, one less likely to turn to a bloody revolution. As bad as things are, and as far worse as they may yet get, I don’t want that. It’s just the same cycle over and over and we should have outgrown that garbage by now.
Of course we also should have outgrown the notion that he who has the most toys wins. We should have outgrown insisting that the only way we win is if someone loses. We are too old now, and our house too battered to think accruing wealth is worth more than having a sustainable living environment. I don’t want to believe these people are evil, just misguided, but how misguided do you have to be to consistently ignore the proof around you and the lessons of history? How insulated from the rest of humanity do you have to be to not hear the cries of suffering billions?