Wednesday, June 13, 2007

And if

you're still not depressed?

Go here:

One of the niftiest tricks the right has pulled in the past few decades has been to recast wealth redistribution as something that can only happen downwards, as if piddly welfare checks and Medicaid are the redistribution of anything that deserves the moniker “wealth”, when “sustenance” would be a better term. The fact of the matter is the entire issue of labor in a capitalist society is wealth redistribution—you as a laborer by definition have to make less than your work is worth or the owners won’t make a profit off it. With that in mind, the quotes from Roger Lowenstein in this article are particularly infuriating—basically, that you shouldn’t begrudge people the right to light Cuban cigars with $100 bills so long as your credit card debt isn’t immediately threatening to overwhelm you.

In Lowenstein’s view: “…whether Roger Clemens, who will get something like $10,000 for every pitch he throws, earns 100 times or 200 times what I earn is kind of irrelevant. My kids still have health care, and they go to decent schools. It’s not the rich people who are pulling away at the top who are the problem…”

As Ehrenreich notes, the invocation of an athlete is no mistake, but a deliberate distraction from the fact that the vast majority of the wealthy make their money off the labor of the working class. So, yes, you have a right to begrudge the rich that $7,000 check you’re writing them every year with your labor. Lowenstein might not think he needs that money, but most of us do.

Right now Americans have to borrow to get by, after all.

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