Finally Someone’s Paying Attention to Our Imbalance!

by LAURA FLANDERS

It was early and I hadn’t downed my coffee yet, but for a moment I thought I was reading something important in one of those tightly printed full-page ads  that appear from time to time in the New York Times.

Headline: “Enact the Inform Act,” the ad called on Congress and the President to pass a quote “bipartisan bill to reveal the full size and inter-generational consequences of our country’s fiscal imbalance.”

As I said, it was early but my mind was off. Finally, I thought to myself, someone is taking seriously our country’s teetering imbalance.

To consider every piece of legislation from the point of view of its impact on that fundamental crisis; how great would that be?

Like an environmental impact statement, legislators would be forced to study the intergenerational effects of throwing society  off kilter.

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s book The Price of Inequality could be assigned.  As he reports, of the advanced economies, the US has some of the worst disparities. The gross domestic product here has nearly doubled in the last 25 years, but the benefits have gone to the top — the very, very top. Ninety-five percent of all income gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent while the typical American worker makes less than he did 45 years ago.

This imbalance affects social mobility:  Affluent kids get a kick start on education, at college and when they’re launched into careers. Edged out from all that their poorer  contemporaries, never get a chance to contribute their full potential to our society  or our economy.

As wealth congeals at the top, the rich disinvest from everywhere else – they don’t need public services so they’re reluctant to pay for them — and as our public institutions are starved, so is our democracy, enabling the richest among us to most influence the politicians, and reward them for doing things like cutting taxes, and shrinking government.

The inter-generational consequences of all this are macro-economic and monumental– think financialization, the bubble economy, deindustrialization, the crisis in education. It’s also profoundly anti-American, think Paine, think Jefferson. Dr. Martin Luther King would be glad someone’s finally paying attention.

But then, I hold the paper a little closer.  The INFORM Act is not about any  of those things. It’s about the Deficit. The phony fiscal gap, not the flesh and blood one of inequality.  And of course its signed by the  .01 one percent who want to do what? Cut taxes and shrink government.  Of course.  Who else can afford one of those one page ads.

Pity.  Sometimes it’s good not to look too closely.  Anyone interested in a genuine Inform Act?

For more from me, including, this week an interview with Green Party Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, go to www.GRITtv.org

LAURA FLANDERS is the host and founder of GRITtv.org. Follow her on Twitter: @GRITlaura. 

Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv now seen on the new, news channel TeleSUR English – for a new perspective. 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 02, 2015
Paul Street
Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
Jose Martinez
Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalencies on Police Violence
Henry Giroux
Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence
Ajamu Baraka
Making Black Lives Matter in Riohacha, Colombia
William Edstrom
Wall Street and the Military are Draining Americans High and Dry
David Altheide
The Media Syndrome Between a Glock and a GoPro
Yves Engler
Canada vs. Africa
Ron Jacobs
The League of Empire
Andrew Smolski
Democracy and Privatization in Neoliberal Mexico
Stephen Lendman
Gaza: a Socioeconomic Dead Zone
Norman Pollack
Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Offshore Drilling
Binoy Kampmark
Australian Border Force Gore
Ruth Fowler
Ask Not: Lost in the Crowd with Amanda Palmer
Kim Nicolini
Remembering Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?