Income Inequality

It’s no secret that over the last 30 years there has been a massive redistribution of wealth, with wealth flowing from the middle-class to the richest Americans. The consolidation of wealth to the wealthiest Americans has come as the result of unfair tax and trade policies, as well as a realignment of laws from middle-class and labor friendly laws to those favoring corporate interests. In fact, historians now claim that the income inequality is greater than it has ever been in our history.

Income inequality is no news in our history – it has been a part of American society since the founding of Jamestown – but what is unique is the response of Americans to this social injustice.  In the past, whenever the economic injustice even started to approach what it is now, common people had a common response. Consider this brief history…

 In 1676, there was Bacon’s Rebellion. After Bacon’s “Declaration of the People” denouncing the unfair distribution of land and wages by the wealthy land owners, colonists violently rebelled.  By 1660 8 families, roughly 10% of the population, owned 40% of the land, which was the only real measure of wealth at the time. (In comparison, today 10% of the wealthiest Americans control 70% of the wealth.) Land owners eventually put down the rebellion with troops, but had to reform land ownership laws and taxation. In fact from 1650 to 1689 there were at least five violent revolts by people confronted with economic disparity by governments which had “gamed” the system to support the wealthy. In 1689, there was Jacob Leisler’s  “Farmer’s Revolt”; in 1713 the Boston Bread Riots; in 1730 the “Dock Square” riots in Boston to protest merchant monopolies. In the 1740s and 1750s there were dozens of local riots protesting economic injustices. For example, in 1745 a farmer named Samuel Baldwin had his land repossessed by a wealthy banker in Newark, and he was imprisoned until a riot of fellow farmers freed him.

In 1747 New Yorker Cadawaller Colden wrote an address that became the popular rallying cry for the common people, denouncing “freeholders” as wealthy tax dodgers unconcerned with the welfare of the poor.

By the 1760s, the wealthiest Americans had learned to use their wealth to control local and town hall meetings by land owners and people indebted to them. Populist discontent was tempered by a combination of small land grants and other insignificant reforms and the use of the fear of slave revolts and Indians to divert attention. What little wealth was allowed to Colonials was made to feel threatened by slaves and Indians and laws became dominated by these fears.

All of this sounds pretty familiar in today’s America, doesn’t it?

6 Responses to Income Inequality

  1. Frank Cusumano says:

    What about the 1930s and 40s. Where is our modern Frank Capra when you need him? Just watched “Meet John Doe” (1941). Nothing is new under the sun.

  2. Underachievers coin phrases like “income equality”, overachievers pocket coin while saying “As good as some better than most”.

    Give me a break! Some people work harder than others! Should a maintenance worker in a hospital make as much as the top surgeon?

    Anyone looking for some pro-bono work!? LOL! Word on the street is more and more people cant afford attorneys and are representing themselves, which suggest one of two things

    (1) The economy under the Democrats is in shambles


    (2) People have figured out lawyers aren’t working hard enough or are in bed with the enemy.

    Either way it doesn’t say much for attorneys! LOL

    Attorneys, Plumbers and Mechanics… The worlds most hated professionals (outside of politicians) and not necessarily in that order.

  3. Got to love how that article (link) above mentions they might raise the amount of pro-bono work attorneys have to do! But hey! YOU DIDN’T BUILD YOUR LAW FIRM! Other people (aka Government) allowed you to do that.

  4. I did not come here to read your blog, although I have and I have found it informative, thank the good, not the perfect, that I have been blessed with two ears. So that I may listen more than I speak.

    I needed to thank you for fighting through the law for civil liberties, and constitutional rights. It is nice to have some representation for the people of the United States of America. We need people to fight in the legal system for us, since most of these legal events happen in such quiet, though these actions are not often seen nor heard, and they have a significant impact on the people that often hear least about these policies.

    People are afraid, paranoid, and programmed to feel and act alone knowing that the individual while they might change the world. Can often be silenced the most easily. While a chorus of individuals are quite difficult to silence. So it is in the best interest of the people that would assume to leave others alone, or help those that need it to act together to fight against fear and intolerance. That keeps us acting alone when we should be acting together.

    To some degree I think that most of the systems that exist in our society are deplorable, insane, inhumane and if we are to fight for a more just and verdant world. Then we must fight for the other as if they are oneself, and even if all one could do is expose themselves to things they do not know or understand, and to share what is revealed to themselves. I know that in doing so they fight for all of us, and all humans that have such conduct are fighting for us as well as for humanism and dignity.

    I think it is terrible, that we have shuttered our eyes and minds to the realities of our lives, though this may simply be a neurobiological function to protect ones minds from the harms and terrors that the truth might bestow, yet if we face these truths and terrors we might come to live well even as our bodies are broken such as the body of Epictetus. Who fought with the greatest tool we have as human beings, our hearts and our minds in conjunction.

    What I am here to address though is a thank you, and address the symptomology of a disease of integrity, and character that attacks the will and the nation. I know that one of your most famous clients, knew that. As I watched the documentary Jack Kevorkian. I knew that then as now you both where trying to do the right thing for citizens of the nation and of the world. We are more compassionate to our animals than we are to ourselves. I was proud of my fellow Michigan natives, Jack Kevorkian hero, and the triumphant champion Geoffrey Fieger. I was proud that they saved the day at least a little bit for a few very important people that would give their lives for their dignity, and hope that we would not have to suffer unnecessarily, but often times the human mind seems to not like to trouble itself with the problems that is not it’s own, or those things that are not an immediate threat. This is one of the flaws of the mind, it allows us to not be compassionate and to justify this action. It also keeps us from acting when we should and preventing catastrophe with prevention instead of reaction. Thank you for your service, ten years in action is a long tour of duty. Our lives seem though to be a tour of duty, if ones life is spent serving ideals. A life of ideals though creates a life worth living.

    Unfortunately though often times we cannot see our own adversities and those things that within us that would work against us most. The legal system and Jack acted outside of their best interests. This was apparent and evident especially towards the end of Jack’s Life where his fragility of life was seen so well. Where the bodies are our cells, and they fight our cogitation and ambulation. Though it was courageous good and noble to take up the fight even unto one’s mortality. For a good fight is worth fighting, and it brings a good death.

    He was a man that understood the difference between a good death and a bad one. One cannot but help to after knowing of the tragedies that his family was struck with and being a Doctor for so long.

    We the living though the salute those who fight and are resolved for those who might have difficulty defending themselves still we have much work to do. Since the world is no calmer now than then, with the systems becoming ever more powerful, ever more prevalent.

    Should we as human beings give up, because their are those that would harm us, no, we should find ourselves more free. If for no other reason than as a holding of ones dignity against those who would seek to bar us from those freedoms, through fear and control. The fear is minded through our indoctrination, and support of stupification by not supporting what might be the single most important root of knowledge that all fields draw from philosophy. We support science without philosophy as if you can have one with out the other. The system of law, and science all came from the vast body of work that the philosophers have been struggling with for centuries, yet this work is stigmatized and dogmatized by what are supposed to be our avant-garde iconoclastic leaders. It would seem that we are on the short bus again and we all are getting on the bus to light a straw man ablaze. Let us leave those effigies at home so that at least if we are on the bus and we have nothing else to see but ourselves, the stars above, and the earth below in the domains. In seeing such wonders we might see that a great many things are still possible.

    Without thinking and a strong personal ethics though, we are left to the fates, in a battle between faith and free will, let us always take the step of free will. At least this is a strategy of hope, a knowing that however small we may be that we might too make a change, that will start a chain reaction to share with the world some enlightenment. Enlightenment which we all could use some of, since the world can be heavy at times. With out the peace and serenity that we might find in our solidarity, and independence. We as a nation of greatness and leaders are lost.

    This letter is shared on my blog and linked to this article on my blog

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