While the political-media complex is busy spinning the reality show aspects of the current political season, Bernie Sanders has been focused like a laser on the real issue at stake: economic justice. The reality is that American society is on a precipice: the economy has become so bad for all but a few hundred families, that social division and unrest is emerging. When a society no longer offers economic hope or even security, then it can choose to change or to destroy itself. The present economic system is transferring wealth to the richest so rapidly that we are beginning to look like a Third World country. Since the Great Recession, our average life expectancy has dropped to the lowest of any advanced, industrialized country in the world – and continues to decline. The average wealth of all but 400 of the richest families in the country has declined 40 percent, while 75 percent of the wealth generated since then has gone to the top 5 percent of the already richest Americans. The average income for Americans, adjusted for inflation, is now lower than it was 20 years ago.
Those are just the facts, statistics that only hint to the real pain being experienced by the lowest income families in America. Sanders is the only politician proposing a solution to the crisis. Recognizing that the economic injustice of our society is the direct result of political policies being implemented by a government controlled by the “donor class,” Sanders proposes the only real solutions – a Constitutional Amendment to correct for the absurd idea that money is “speech,” single payer health care, free college education, and a significant raise in the minimum wage – the latter proposals as a temporary fix to the more intransigent problem of an emerging plutocracy.
In the next few blogs, let’s talk about the social and political costs of economic inequality, because it is affecting more than just income.