I have written about the yawning chasm between the rich and the rest many times before (see "Unemployment," "Thirty Years of Disparity," "The New Gilded Age"). But we all know about this by now, right? This is the post-Financial Crisis, post-Occupy Wall Street snapshot in history. The banks got the bailout and the homeowners got foreclosed on by the millions, CEOs make sometimes more than a thousand times what their average worker does, and it would take 10,287,974 hours of laboring at minimum wage to lay hands on everything advertised in Britney Spears' latest transient, money-as-Golden-Calf dance beat "Work B****." This is not new information.
This weekend commemorated the slide of this reality from "outrageous" to "unimaginable." The latest new from Oxfam, ever-determined to lay bare the moral detritus smeared across our collective human soul, is that the wealth of the 85 richest people on the planet is equal to that of the 3,500,000,000 poorest. Holy mother of Mary.
In the New Yorker's absurdly entertaining, 17,000-word exposé on President Obama, journalist David Remnick asks the beleaguered executive "what he felt he must get done before leaving office."
He was silent for a while and then broke into a pained grin. "You mean, now that the Web site is working? . . . It’s hard to anticipate events over the next three years . . . If you had asked F.D.R. what he had to accomplish in 1937, he would have told you, ‘I’ve got to stabilize the economy and reduce the deficit.’ Turned out there were a few more things on his plate . . . I think we are fortunate at the moment that we do not face a crisis of the scale and scope that Lincoln or F.D.R. faced. So I think it’s unrealistic to suggest that I can narrow my focus the way those two Presidents did. But I can tell you that I will measure myself at the end of my Presidency in large part by whether I began the process of rebuilding the middle class and the ladders into the middle class, and reversing the trend toward economic bifurcation in this society.
To honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I will share a quote from a speech he gave at Western Michigan University on December 18, 1963:
Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word “maladjusted.” This word is the ringing cry to modern child psychology. Certainly, we all want to avoid the maladjusted life. In order to have real adjustment within our personalities, we all want the well‐adjusted life in order to avoid neurosis, schizophrenic personalities.
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