Economic Justice Between Classes
We live in a country today misrepresented by its own peoples' perception. The
consensus that we live in the greatest nation in the world is not so much a feeling of nationalism as it is a forgone conclusion in the minds of millions of Americans. What a great many of these millions do not realize is that they are the victims of a government set up by our founding fathers to uphold a class system based on a very unproportional distribution of wealth. As the old saying goes, you need money to make money, and this is never more true than it is in the United States, the land where the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. Howard Zinn asks, "What is economic justice?" There is no clear answer, except to say economic justice simply does not exist.
Founding Fathers Promise Equality
One might ask when all this came about. The nation started under the greatest of pretexts. A nation of democracy, equality, and freedom. But freedom from what?
Taxation without representation? Or maybe just taxation. The argument has been made that our country was started by land and slave owning men who did not want to pay their taxes. But the truth is the nation was started by a group of very wealthy men, who did not intend for "all men are created equal" to apply to the distribution of wealth.
True, times were very different then. But many ideas and laws from the late 18th century that have no place in the 21st century still apply in situations today. Look no
further than the recent election. An old system of choosing the nations leader by electors, created in fairness to southern slave-owners who counted each of their "possesions" as two-fifths of a person, is preventing the nation from electing the majority's choice as president. The debacle that is now being called "Indecision 2000" should be a wake up call to Americans living under laws past in another age for a much different nation.
No one denies that poverty is a problem in the United States, and even more so globally. Lack of sufficient food, decent education, proper housing, and sufficient
medical coverage are all very apparent. The constitution guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while these basic necessities of life are being denied to millions of families in the United States.
The Laissez - Faire Approach
Some are actually arguing government aid will increase the problem. People too reliant on government aid will become dependent and unable to function on their own. This is a valid point, but not the answer. There are plenty of dishonest people out there. No one can deny that. Many people are looking for a free ride, and many are all ready taking advantage of welfare and social security. But is this enough of a problem to deny the millions of hard working Americans with families the chance to improve their lives? It is sometimes hard to remember that there are good, honest people left in the world
these days, but is punishing the bad so important that the good be left resourseless, unable to improve their live even through honest hard work? If people spent half the time they spend rooting for cops busting j-walkers on TV and volunteered instead, our problem could be almost solved. Someone has to take the initiative, instill a more sympathetic view in America today, and do it fast.
The New Class Structure
The Class structure of the United States has become increasingly lopsided in recent years. Ideally, the middle class makes up the majority of the population. Filled with nuclear families, registered voters, and average citizens with moderate salaries and traditional American lifestyles, the middle class is supposed to control the bulk of the power in a government by the people, of the people, and for the people. However, that is simply not the case in America today.
The new class structure today...
Cited: Zinn, Howard. Declarations of Independence. New York: HaperCollins, 1990.
Raymond W. Baker: A 150-to-1 Ratio Is Far Too Lopsided for Comfort, 1999/02/05, Intl.
Herald Tribune, pg.6.
Mohammed Dore: Poverty, Global Inequality and the Foundations of Redistribution
"Forbes 400 Richest in America." Forbes.com. 2000
Henwood, Doug. "Boom for Whom?." Left Business Observer #93 Feb. 2000: 2
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