To the Editor:
I almost choked on my caviar when I read the letter titled “Who’s serving whom?” which ran Aug. 23, 2012. Pointing out how inimical President Obama is toward the wealthy in our country.
Truly, the wealthy are the noble but cursed descendants of Atlas, doomed to carry our country’s parasitic working class on their shoulders, providing a free ride for those moochers and deadbeats.
Thankfully, I was able to regain my composure after one of my daily aromatherapy sessions and a delightful bottle of vintage wine, selected by my on-staff sommelier, once again made me feel that life is worth living despite its unfairness.
Imagine my guilt and shame then, when I read, in more than one source, that the top 1 percent of income-earners makes about 23.5 percent of our nation’s total income, and the wealthiest 20 percent hold 84 percent of all wealth; that in 2009, the wealthiest 5 percent held 63.5 percent of wealth here, while the bottom 80 percent claimed only 12.8 percent.
From 1980 to 2000, the incomes of America’s top 1 percent, 0.1 percent and 0.01 percent, respectively doubled, tripled and quadrupled after inflation, while average incomes for the bottom 90 percent (!) fell by 4.8 percent after inflation.
Our own CIA publishes the annual World Fact Book, which, in an effort to predict the next areas of instability, ranks nations in terms of societal or class inequality. The U.S. ranks with such places as Ecuador, the Philippines and Rwanda.
Just one more stat: In 1968, a minimum-wage worker made $21,944 a year, inflation-adjusted. Today’s $7.25 per hour worker makes $15,080 a year. Last year, the CEO of Walmart made $23.2 million — that’s $63,562 per day.
Well, I’ve changed my tune. Does anyone know the words to “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”?
John DeFrancis, Riverhead
Read more Letters to the Editor in this week’s Riverhead News-Review available on newsstands or by clicking for the E-Paper.