Thursday, January 09, 2003

View from the Soapbox
Caution: No Knitting Content in this post!

I'm so troubled by the fact that the rich are getting richer in our society, and the middle class are becoming poor - the poor are becoming destitute.

The gap between rich and poor was closing in the 60's and 70's under the war on Poverty & social programs like Head Start.

Unfortunately the gap started opening up again in the mid 80's and - except for a small amount of holding steady in the mid-90's - is leaping as wide as the grand canyon. Internationally, as well.

Anyone here remember in A Christmas Carol when the Ghost of Christmas Present has the two urchins hidden under his golden, velvet robes? The twins of Want and Ignorance. These two boys found in Newark could be those twins - made even more pathetic by the realization that one of the boys WAS a twin and his body was found in the next room. Should we add another urchin under the robe and call it VIOLENCE?

Our society will pay - and in ways we can't even imagine - as long as the status quo holds and there is such an unequal distribution of wealth in our country. I hear the president and other prominent gov't officials talk about the tax cuts that benefit the upper 1% of the population - I hear them say, without a hint of irony, "Those people worked hard for their millions, they pay the most in taxes - why shouldn't they get the most back..."

Why doesn't anyone challenge this horrible sentiment? Of course they work "hard" for their money - do you honestly know anyone who isn't working HARD these days? Is the waitress who works 2 shifts at a minimum wage job then goes home to care for two kids working any LESS hard than the executive who has good working conditions, a great health plan, vacations, education benefits for his family and - most important - an "in" for his own kids to a good school, good job, good future? Does no one see that this tax plan will just widen the income gap?

Why the hell SHOULDN'T those who have been fortunate enough to earn MILLIONS (or even hundreds of thousands) in our amazing and great country NOT be required to payback into the system that allows them to earn more than in any other country in the world? Of COURSE they should pay more taxes - and even after paying 40% of their income they'll STILL have 15 times as much as that waitress who -if she's lucky - will get back $76 a year in tax breaks from the Prez's tax program. Of course she pays less taxes - she EARNS less.


Gary Markstein, Copley News Service

Why are we so blind? Well, nothing sells like advertising, and if the richest corporations want to keep pushing corporate welfare bills through the government they can afford a LOT of advertising for "their" candidates who will rubber stamp these givebacks. This virtually insures that the money keeps circulating around the top - floating around, caught in an updraft - while the most helpless of the poor - the children of poor (and working class) families - sit waiting for a buck or two to trickle down into a decent school, after school program, health program, head start program - all of the things that children of wealthier parents never have to go without.

Oh, one more thing we might be able to fund with a more equal distribution of taxation - a decently funded NJ DYFUS (Division of Youth and Family Services) program
Nevertheless, the state says its workers handle an average of 35 cases each. That's well above the Child Welfare League's national standard of 17 cases per worker. The caseworker who had closed the Williams case was handling 100 cases, said Hetty Rosenstein, president of Local 1037, which represents 2,000 DYFS workers - Washington Post, 1/8/2003

Here's the math: 100 Cases + 1 Overworked Case Worker = Tragedy.
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