Your Opinion: Income inequality still widening

Dear Editor:

Income inequality in the United States has grown significantly since 1980, but most dramatically from 2000 to 2008.

Not only are the rich getting richer relative to the middle class but public services are hurting.

“Top earning families wealthy enough to buy their own education, medical care, personal security, and parks, have little interest in helping pay for such things for the rest of society, and the political influence to make sure they don’t have to.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Income_inequality_in_the_United_States)

The political influence of the wealthy has been exerted mainly to secure for themselves lower tax rates and less government regulation. Lower tax rates have meant lower tax revenues and greater government debts, especially when the government chooses to fight unnecessary trillion-dollar wars.

Less regulation of the financial industry nearly brought on another Great Depression in the fall of 2008. And now the Wall Street lobbyists are fighting hard to prevent or water down any re-regulation designed to prevent another such disaster.

The curious thing is that these policies of lower taxes for the wealthy and less regulation have been sold to the American people under the name of freedom — freedom from taxes and freedom from government.

Freedom sounds good and is good, but everything has its limits. Unlimited freedom from government would be anarchy in which we would live in a Hobbesian society where “the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

Most people will agree that some limits on freedom are necessary and desirable; e.g., we should not be free to run a red light, sell drugs on the street corner, sell phony securities or poisonous foods in restaurants.

Where and how to limit freedom is a matter of line-drawing, and that is where the very rich have been selling the public a bill of goods, using the concept of freedom to mask their self-interest.

This is done through armies of highly-paid lobbyists, well-funded think tanks like the Cato Institute, and billions of dollars poured into political campaigns.

The continued widening of income inequality between the very rich and the middle class shows that the campaign of avarice masked by a cloak of freedom rhetoric is working.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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