What is not at all manageable, however, is internal debt and wealth inequality. Why? Because in the internal workings of our economy __ and those of most of the developed countries of the world __ ownership and control of wealth are reinforced by rigid and unforgiving legal authority. As is becoming increasingly evident, the laws of this country now serve a very wealthy elite __ a tiny slice of our 318,000,000 people __ at the expense of everyone else.
This is not the 1%.
We're talking about the .1% and the .01% __ about 30,000 people __ the rich and powerful who actually run the country.
These are the folks you and I never see, because we can't get within fifty miles of them.
the people who operate in a bubble of incomprehension, so detached from
the realities of our "ordinary" lives, the basics of survival are about
as apparent to them as the emotional life of a Cambodian weaver ant is to you and I.
These are the folks who will repossess your car, foreclose on your home, garnish your pay when you fall behind on your student loan, make it impossible to get an apartment or job for the horrible crime of falling behind on your credit card bills.
They own. We owe.
Home mortgage debt: $8.17 trillion.
Credit card debt: $3.34 trillion.
College loans: $1.2 trillion.
Auto loans: $955 billion.
Home equity loans: $550 billion.
Total household debt: $13.6 trillion!
The astonishing thing about all of this is that in the wealthiest nation in the world, none of this debt slavery is necessary. There is enough wealth to go around. We could all have the security and basic right to a minimum guaranteed income, a shared sense of community and country which would materialize from sharing our enormous resources and riches.
The ultra-rich could still live in splendor. After all, beyond a certain point, accumulation of money has no impact on the individual life style of a human being, no matter how absurdly rapacious that person is. More money just becomes a pathological numbers game.
How many Bentleys, private jets, wading pools full of caviar, diamond cuff links the size of grapefruits can you own?