Fair is fair

Published 1:41 am Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ours is a nation built upon the principles of fairness.
Regardless of whether it’s on the football field, in the classroom or at the voting booth, we have grown to trust that the same rules apply to everyone equally and fairly. Those who follow the rules are rewarded. Those who circumvent the rules are punished.
But what has happened over time is that a small minority of the population – say one percent – has been able to slant the rules in their favor at the expense of the majority, or the 99 percent.
You need look no further than the recent report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office for confirmation.
Between 1979 and 2007, the average income for the one percent of the population with the highest incomes grew 275 percent, according to the report. Over the same period, middle-income Americans realized less than a 40 percent rise while the bottom 20 percent of the population saw barely an 18 percent increase.
“The distribution of market income became more unequal almost continuously between 1979 and 2007,” according to the CBO report.
This has nothing to do with resentment of capitalism or wealth for those at the top.
This has everything to do with corporate execs contributing to campaigns of politicians who, in return, vote for deregulation that allows corporations to maximize profits.
Stimulus money, intended to generate jobs and jump-start the economy, has instead gone to executive bonuses or is held in reserve.
Wall Street corporations turn people into commodities, generating profits ahead of people.
Take a look at corporate-owned life insurance. Also known as “dead peasant insurance,” companies purchase life insurance policies on their employees (oftentimes without their knowledge or consent), naming the company as beneficiary. When a covered employee dies, the company receives the life insurance benefit which shows up on a profit sheet. The survivors typically receive nothing.
The frustration and anger of the 99 percent will continue until corporations and government realize what John F. Kennedy did in the 1960s: “… a rising tide lifts all boats.”
That is a rule worth following.