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The Flaw in 99 vs. 1

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Message Mike Tower
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January 17, 2012

The flaw in the 99% vs. the 1%

I am increasingly bothered by those who want to heap all the blame for our country's many problems on the wealthiest 1%. This can only serve to further divide our if the wealthy caused all of the problems that our country is facing. Our country's many problems today have developed over many years and even decades, and have many easily identifiable other causes. Part of our problems have been caused by the IT revolution and globalization. As Thomas Friedman and Michael Mendelbaum have pointed out in their book "That Used To Be Us", the information technology explosion is labor saving us out of millions of manufacturing jobs, and globalization which exploded at the end of the cold war is allowing billions of citizens in emerging economies to compete for what were formerly our jobs and for their piece of the global economic pie. In our foreseeable future reality we can no longer expect that our country, with less than 5% of the worlds population, will continue to be capable of producing and consuming a quarter of the worlds goods...and thus continuing to be the job creating machine that it has been. The second thing that all of our problems have in common is the failed leadership by the elected from both parties...especially over the past several decades. Our elected leaders have for decades attempted, mainly by policy and regulations, to forestall our nation's day of reckoning. They did all they could to encourage massive debt-financed consumption by the masses of our citizens by making sure borrowing was easy and cheap. Then when it became clear that this wouldn't be enough, the housing boom scheme was developed. Both of these worked for awhile...but the end had to come, and it did. The majority of Americans maxed out their personal debt capacity, then the housing bubble burst and too many of our citizens woke up with fewer job opportunities, lower pay, massively reduced home values, and no hope. It is natural for most of us to have feelings of fear and anger at what we see happening to our nation. To make things even worse our elected leaders have decided that compromise is a dirty word. While the choices aren't easy...doing nothing only makes things worse. With all of these clear causes for our problems, does it really make any rational sense to blame only the wealthiest citizens among us? Don't we understand that our elected leaders deserve all of our anger and protests. They are supposed to go to Washington to represent the best short and long term interests of the majority of we the people. They have failed that charge completely. Instead they have served the powerful special interests who pay to get and keep them in power. Do you think that politicians from both parties didn't see the future coming at us that we face today? I blame them the most for not leveling with us. They should have begun many years ago to prepare our country and our citizens for the negative changes that were inevitably coming our way. Instead they found it more beneficial to focus on staying in power and enriching themselves by continuing to practice politics as usual.

Back to the 99 vs the 1. Do we have income and wealth inequality in this country...absolutely, it's awful and only going to get worse. Our country was founded on the principal that one could rise from abject poverty if they were smart and worked hard. Will our future citizens have a chance at that dream? Here's a couple of facts; 1. The top 1% earned nearly 17% of all US income in 2009. They paid almost 37% of all federal income taxes. 2. The top 50% of American households earned almost 87% of all income that year, and paid nearly 97% of income taxes. The most striking thing about these statistics is the reverse corollary that shows that half our households earn about 13% of our national income. Unless some miracle occurs, and America somehow becomes the job creating machine it was for many decades, how can this possibly change? What does that honestly say about the American dream for most of our current youth and future citizens?

We are only wasting energy if we continue this blame game between citizens. Our politicians love it because their number one fear is that we will actually wake up and realize that we only have one direction that we should be aiming our anger, frustration, and blame...and that clearly has to be at the folks we keep sending to Washington election after election....hmm, maybe we ought to all look in a mirror??? Me, I'm going to keep beating the same drum....get 'em out, get 'em all out. I hope you will join in our efforts to get that accomplished. Meanwhile we must not allow this citizen on citizen blame game to grow and fester because it will only hasten the end of this great country. We must instead find ways to unite to solve our nations problems by holding our leaders feet to the fire to do what they were originally elected to do...and that is to do what's best for the vast majority of Americans...not just for the powerful special interests.

These are my opinion. What do you think?

Mike Tower

Hendersonville, NC


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Mike spent most of his working career in a variety of managerial roles in five different industries for two employers over a 38 year career. He now writes a political Op-Ed column for the Hendersonville, NC Times-News, and displays his favorites at (more...)
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