, Newburyport, MA


July 1, 2014

Concentration of wealth in US is immoral

Like Richard Astukewicz (in his column last week, “Redistribution of wealth in U.S. is immoral”), I am concerned about certain directions in which our society seems to be headed. I am concerned by the increasing violence that seems to pervade entertainment media today.

Unlike him, I am not worried about possible higher taxes for the wealthy, but in the increasing concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands in the United States. It has been steadily increasing since the 1970s. It is correlated with the weakening of the unions as a political force opposing the political force of the corporations.

One need only look back to 1900 when there was no legislation in place to protect the majority of the population — pure food laws, unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicare, etc. The majority worked for marginal wages until they were unable to work and then went to the poorhouse. They got along without medical and dental care. It they were out of work, they were out of luck.

There is no denying that some of the unions were corrupt and sometimes demanded too much, but they were the only political force sufficient to oppose the corporations. Automation and outsourcing have eliminated a vast number of jobs. Especially well-paid jobs with good benefits. In the long run, the trend will be destructive! Why? Because people without jobs will not be able to buy the goods that the corporations produce.

There are two other matters that I would like to touch upon. One is ragweed! In my daily walks I see the plants beginning to grow. In a little over a month the pollen will be plaguing “hay fever” sufferers. The newspapers, including The News, used to warn the populace to “get the weed” before it “gets” you. The Boy Scouts had an annual ragweed drive. To bad that they don’t any more.

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