Friday, December 13, 2013

The 'R' Word — Robert Reich Says It Right Out Loud

Robert Reich:
Robert Reich
The President’s speech [12/4] on inequality avoided the “R” word. No politician wants to mention “redistribution” because it conjures up images of worthy “makers” forced to hand over hard-earned income to undeserving “takers.”

But as low-wage work proliferates in America, so-called takers are working as hard if not harder than anyone else, and often at more than one job.

Yet they’re still not making it because the twin forces of globalization and technological change have reduced their bargaining power ...

Better education and training for those on the losing end is critically important, as will several of the other proposals the President listed. But they will only go so far.

The number of losers is growing so quickly, and so much of the economies’ winnings are going to a small group at the top — since the recovery began, 95 percent of the gains have gone to the richest 1 percentthat some direct redistribution of the gains is necessary. [Bolds mine. - SB]

Hear, hear. No magic of the marketplace can make anything resembling an equitable correction to this problem in a time‑frame preventing tragic human consequences, especially given who really runs our "free" market and what the consequences are... namely, none... for abusing that market to the advantage of the very wealthy. "Makers" and "takers," my fxxking a$$... in reality, which is which?

So... what will the losers in this rigged game do about their loss? Reich continues:

Without some redistribution, the losers are likely to react in ways that could hurt the economy. They’ll demand protection from global markets they believe are taking away good jobs, and even from certain technological advances that threaten to displace them (rather than smash the machines, as did England’s 19th-century Luddites, they’ll seek regulations that preserve the old jobs). [Bolds mine. - SB]

I don't know; smashing some servers might have some effectiveness. I don't recommend it only because for many of us it would make our lives more difficult, but the thought of it and the reminder of such response during the industrial revolution should lead the bosses to offer displaced workers some of the aforementioned protection... or appropriate redistribution.

Politicians dare not say the "R" word because redistribution is perceived as unfair to hardworking individuals. What, then, are we to call it when the forbidden word correctly names the only concept that results in actual fairness to a vast number of unemployed, underemployed or just plain underpaid Americans? An unpleasant name doesn't change the fact that everyone has a right to earn a living... and many among us are unable to do so under current conditions.

A word to our leaders: it doesn't matter what you call it, it's the right thing to do... just do it.

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