Friday, September 30, 2011

Those on Top are There Because of Us

Elizabeth Warren, law professor and US Senate candidate, understands that the people on the top of our hierarchies are only there because everyone else is holding them up. She said:

"I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,'" Warren said. "No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.

"You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

"Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Civil Union for Angie and Brad?

In yesterday's Parade Magazine, Brad Pitt was quoted as saying the he and Angelina Jolie will get married when everyone can.

We would love to see Brad and Angie apply for a civil union - the only option open to many same-sex couples – to bring wide attention to the issue. The federal government would have to deal with how to tax their assets - as a couple or singles?

In France, many couples, including different-gender couples, choose civil unions over marriage.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Inequality Brings Social Ills

Our local newspaper, the "Register-Guard," ran an op-ed today by Bob Doppelt entitled, "Ecological Woes Linked to Inequality." Mr. Doppelt posed the question: since the U.S. economy today is far larger than 30 years ago, where did all the money go? He answers that question when he points out that we have the greatest concentration of wealth at the top since the 1920's.

Mr. Doppelt presents data from the fabulous book, The Spirit Level, that links inequality to many ills found in the United States.

The good news is that, even though our hierarchies produce serious problems, each of us can help. Even when our country's problems seem overwhelming, we can create our families, workplaces, or communities to reduce inequality and therefore reduce the social, economic, and environmental problems that they cause. It's our collective efforts in ending hierarchies that will change the world.