Economic Fairness

Within the past 24 hours, Pope Francis has denounced the tyranny of capitalism and the New York Times reported that a conservative activist wants to raise the minimum wage in California, arguing that it will actually save money by reducing expenditures for welfare programs.  While I rarely agree with the Catholic Church or with Conservative Republicans, both address a crisis that is festering in America.

While the stock market continues to set new highs and upscale retailers enjoy record profits, nearly half of our population is struggling to make ends meet.  Unemployment remains unacceptably high, the middle class is evaporating and an increasing number of families are relying on some form of public assistance.  Yet, our dysfunctional Congress is incapable of addressing the income disparity that threatens our democracy and corporate leaders argue that raising the minimum wage will reduce profits and force them to slash jobs; of course, a decision to shift some income from executives to workers would have no effect on their bottom line.

Meanwhile, the bonus checks of Wall Street tycoons exceed the annual income of most American families and the obscene social divide continues to expand.  Banking on our entrenched political and economic institutions to protect their extravagant lifestyle, the wealthy ignore their dependence on working class citizens.  Contrary to that blissful perception, America is not immune to social revolution.