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July 9, 2015 5:54 AM Age: 5 yrs
The times, they are a changin’Category: AC - Billboard, AC RSS, GPG Commentary & Opinion, Larry Checco, ESG Highlights, ESG Highlighted Commentary
Source: Larry Checco, Principal - Checco Communications
Question: What do Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), a bevy of Republicans running to be president of the U.S.A., and a handful of billionaires have in common?
Answer: To greater and lesser degrees, and in their own inimitable ways, they are ushering the pressing issue of income and wealth inequality on to center stage.
Senator Warren got the snowball rolling down the hill with her “the game is rigged” epithet. The issue is now gaining ever-greater momentum with Senator Sanders’ “enough is enough” stump-speech slogan as he runs for president—and as his poll ratings continue to rise.
To avoid the avalanche, a number of top-tier conservative presidential candidates also appear to have wealth inequality on their radar screens (although it should come as no surprise that they blame inequality on the current administration). Some examples:
Think and say what you will, it’s a far cry from “makers and takers”. Or that 47 percent of Americans “pay no income tax” and don’t take “personal responsibility…for their lives.”
But all of this change of heart, if that’s what it can be called, goes further than politicians running for office.
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is a prominent right-leaning Washington think tank and bastion of supply-side economics from which many conservative politicians take their cues.
Last month, AEI’s president, Arthur C. Brooks, stated in an interview “That our new market is poverty. We need to craft a poverty-reduction program from the right, where we’ve been missing in action.”
Granted, progressives and conservatives come at reducing income and wealth inequality from vastly different political and philosophical points of view. But to resolve an issue, it must first be acknowledged.
And it appears that that acknowledgement is even beginning to come from a small sector of the economy that one would least expect—billionaires!
Recently, The New York Times published an article that quoted billionaires saying things like income inequality is “unfair and it is not sustainable.” Say what, Mr. Billionaire!
Prime among this out-spoken group of heretics to their class is Nick Hanauer, a tech billionaire from Seattle. Last summer Hanauer wrote a polemic for Politico in which he said to the planet’s “zillionaires”: “I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.”
Hanauer’s TED Talk, titled Beware Fellow Plutocrats, the Pitchforks are Coming is must watch video: https://www.ted.com/talks/nick_hanauer_beware_fellow_plutocrats_the_pitchforks_are_coming?language=en
So 99 percenters, take heart.
A couple of years ago, who would have thought that a $15/hr. minimum wage—more than twice that of the current federal law—would even be on the burner. Today, the cities of Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles already have passed $15 minimum wage laws, and other cities are in the process of raising theirs.
Not to go too far afield, but to make a point, a few years ago who would have ever thought that same-sex marriage would be legal nationwide?
Or that 16 million more Americans would have access to medical care?
Or that South Carolina would be voting to take down the Confederate flag?
Or that there would be a pope advocating to stop global warming?
Regardless of where you stand on any of the above, there’s no denying that change is in the air.
But change doesn’t come from thin air. It takes people committed to causes they believe in to make these kinds of changes happen, people standing at the top of the mountain with that first fistful of snow.
Think about it.
Content Copyright by Larry Checco © 2015
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