A powerful, succinct argument from Diane Ravitch on the need to reform our tax code if the call for “educational reform” is to be anything more than utterly hollow and specious political posturing. The only perspective I’d add to this post is from Bill Moyer’s interview of Paul Krugman (google “What the 1% don’t want you to know”) re Thomas Piketty’s monumental (and surprisingly readable) study of three centuries of European/American capitalism. His conclusion? The US has now BECOME an 18th century Eurpopean oligarchy–the sort of state against which we fought to define ourselves in the American Revolution. Quite jaw-dropping. For those of a literary turn of mind, think Dickens–especially the opening paragraphs of Bleak House.
Our economy is changing in ways that are alarming. Income inequality and wealth inequality are at their highest point in many decades; some say we are back to the age of the robber barons. Most of the gains in the economy since the great recession of 2008 have benefitted the 1%, or even the 1% of the 1%. The middle class is shrinking, and we no longer have the richest middle class in the world. The U.S. has the highest child poverty rate of any of the advanced nations of the world (and, no, I don’t count Romania as an advanced nation, having visited that nation, which suffered decades of economic plunder and stagnation under the Communist Ceausescu regime).
Forbes reports that there were 442 billionaires in the U.S. in 2013. Nice for them. Taxes have dropped dramatically for the top 1% since the 1970s. But don’t call them plutocrats…
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