Featured Letter: Time to face our nation’s wealth inequality

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | While income for the top 1 percent continues to skyrocket, many others are left struggling.

To the editor:

When did we decide that 40 hours of menial work do not deserve a living wage? Why do we fight against lifting the minimum wage to at least $10 per hour, tied to inflation?

How did we determine that making wild bets in the Wall Street casino was worth millions, while working a 40-hour perspiring and tiring day means poverty? How did we decide to fight worker unionization so that working people have even less chance of improving life?

Today we have great income inequality. The top 1 percent received a 275 percent increase in income over the past 30 years. The next 19 percent received a 65 percent income increase, compared to 18 percent increase for the bottom 20 percent of households. This is a result of the politically connected working the system and the basic workers still thinking that hard work is the path to success. That is, of course, the mantra of the rich and well connected and they’ve done a good job of brainwashing.

While they get increasing profits they rave over the ability of a hard worker to move ever upward. Investing in lobbyists and clever advertisers has made their position of increasing wealth a very comfortable fact of life.

The United States has the highest level of wealth inequality among the civilized nations. This leads us right into arguments about the cost of Medicaid, food stamps, health care and other social support programs. We must face up to the snow job of the wealthy and fairly reward honest work. This will reduce many heavily argued government costs while making large improvements in our quality of life.

This is a humane and decent approach. I hope we’re up to it.

Howard Meinke, Laurel

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