Minimum Wage On A Rich Man’s Island

I'd be dancing too if my mustache were that awesome.

I’d be dancing too if my mustache were that awesome.

The hardest job I’ve ever done I did for $7 an hour. It was the summer before I left for college, and I spent that hot summer working for a local landscaper in my hometown. Most of the work wasn’t that bad–mostly mulching and planting and grass-cutting–but right when the days were at their hottest, we were hired to do a landscaping job on a little island near the border between Michigan and Canada. We took a tiny plane to a nearby island with a small airstrip, and then took a boat to an island that was owned by someone very, very rich. Like “owning your own island” rich. The kind of rich where we gasped at the size and beauty of the house that was constructed (the one we were going to landscape), and then found out that it was going to be the guest house. THAT kind of rich.

Our boat docked next to a barge that was covered with giant piles of topsoil. It turns out that there is almost no soil on the islands in that area, so if you want to plant shrubs and trees, you have to bring in the dirt from somewhere else (THAT kind of rich). There was a little bit of sand on top, but the ground of the island almost entirely consisted of rocks–their sizes ranging from golf ball-sized to volley ball-sized, but most were about the size of baseballs. My job was to dig holes for the trees and shrubs that we would be planting. But it wasn’t really “digging.” It was just making sparks with a shovel. If you’ve ever tried to dig a hole in ground that is all rocks, you know that it is next to impossible. The “hole” turns into a big cone-shaped area in the ground as the rocks and sand caved in on themselves. When that happens, you have to get the hole even bigger, because there needs to be enough soil around the plant to keep it alive.

Imagine something like this, only hotter and way, WAY more spiders....

Imagine something like this, only hotter and way, WAY more spiders….

The small rocks I put into a wheelbarrow to dispose of far away from the guest house (pushing a wheelbarrow full of rocks across sand is not fun…. especially through what I later found out was poison ivy), but when I dug up stones that were larger than a softball, I had to carried them away in a ten gallon bucket. The owner decided he wanted the area underneath his giant guesthouse’s deck to be covered by these bigger rocks (There would be lattice around the deck, but just in case someone looked through the lattice, he wanted them to see uniform-sized stones covering the ground). So what I would do was this: I would take that ten gallon bucket full of softball-sized stones, I would drag it way under a deck that stood about two and a half feet off the ground and I would spread those stones out while laying on my side. The brief relief from the direct sunlight was offset by the fact that thousands of spiders also seemed to enjoy the shade.

And to think, this brave young lady would grow up to be Forrest Gump's mother.

And to think, this brave young lady would grow up to be Forrest Gump’s mother.

I think it was the moment that I wiped what I thought was sweat off my face, but was actually a spider, that I had an epiphany: If someone came up to me and said, “I’ll give you seven dollars if you spend an hour digging up rocks and putting them in a bucket and dragging that bucket into a cramped, spider-infested space–all in the blazing heat of summer,” I’d tell them to take their seven dollars, roll it up tightly, and kindly cram it under their own deck. I told our boss that the $7/hr was not working for me. He offered me an extra $2/hr, I stupidly accepted, and I felt like that extra $16 at the end of the day meant some sort of victory for the little guy (me). I had successfully stuck it to the man! I was like a young, poison ivy-covered Norma Rae.

I have been hearing a bit on the news lately about minimum wage, but behind this issue of “minimum wage” is the larger issue of income inequality. It is really frustrating to me to listen to the conversations taking place about the possibility of raising the minimum wage. The most vocal critics of the plan are trying to sell the idea that any mandatory raise in wages will mean a raise in prices. This is the same rational for a position against any sort of tax raise on the rich…. The story goes like this:

If we raise worker’s wages or tax the rich at a higher rate, that money is just going to come out of the pockets of the poor. It’s not like the rich are going to take a pay cut! In order to make up that money, the business owners are going to counter that loss to profits by raising the prices of their products or taking that money out of their benefits or laying people off. So if you want to pay more for everything and have crappier healthcare or want to lose your job, by all means–Cast your vote against “Income Inequality.”

"They've got the guns, but we've got the numbers."

“They’ve got the guns, but we’ve got the numbers.”

The subtext behind this is that the rich are going to “get theirs” either way, and there is nothing we can do about it. And then they scare the working man by telling him that if companies don’t keep increasing profits year after year, the stock market will collapse, and then what will happen to their 401k? Never mind the fact that the top 1% of income earners account for 50% of the stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in the market–While the bottom 50% account for only .5% of the value of the market. Still, the story is sold that all of our livelihood is tied up in the continued growth of that all important market, as well as the BIGGER lie that somehow, in order to keep the market growing we must pay the people that run them HUGE amounts of money. On a side note, how convenient for the rich that the pittance of retirement savings that working people count on for when they are old is now tied to the continued success the stock market (that is almost entirely filled with the very rich’s money) rather than having a pension? With a system like that, it wouldn’t be a surprise if people didn’t get too upset at the government funneling money into big banks after their reckless greed almost collapsed our economy!

By the way, here is a picture of what the stock market has done since Obama took office. Doubled! His policies seem pretty friendly to the rich....

By the way, here is a picture of what the stock market has done since Obama took office. Doubled! His policies seem pretty friendly to the rich….

I don’t think that the issue should be as much about a minimum wage as it should be about a MAXIMUM WAGE. In Switzerland last November, the Swiss people tried to pass something called the “12:1 Initiative” that would limit the pay of a company’s top executives to 12 times the amount of the lowest paid worker. The idea behind this is that no one should make more in a month than another person makes in a whole year. In Switzerland the current ratio is about 148:1, while here in the United States the AFL-CIO puts that ratio at about 354:1. This means that a CEO of one of the top 500 US companies makes as much in one day as the average worker makes in a whole year. If you want to see a startling list of the companies with the biggest CEO pay ratios, CLICK RIGHT HERE. The “12:1 Initiative” was defeated when the Swiss voters were scared into believing that enforcing a ratio like this would only encourage the rich to take their money and go somewhere else (one of the other common stories sold to voters when people start feeling like income inequality needs to be addressed).

We can only change the world if we do it together.

We can only change the world if we do it together.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that from 1978 to 2012, CEO pay (including options) increased 875%, whereas worker pay over that same period went up a little over 5%. Everyone should be able to see that this sort of trend is unsustainable. The SEC (Securities & Exchanges Commission, not the SEC that got its butt kicked in this year’s college football National Championship) has proposed that public companies disclose their ratio, but even if something like that passed, it would only do any good if people actually started paying attention. Some sort of ratio needs to be set. It will probably never be something as drastic as 12:1, but even 120:1 would be a giant improvement. This increasing concentration of wealth is not only immoral, it is bad business for EVERYONE–the poor AND the rich–because it cannot be sustained. Pretty soon, we’re all just shoveling rocks on a rich man’s island. Henry Ford wanted to make sure that all the people working for him were payed well enough that they could afford to buy one of his cars. This sort of work has to be accomplished through the power of the people! It cannot be done through patient faith in the individual to do the right thing on his or her own–That sort of faith in lack of regulation leads only to the rich using their wealth to get even richer, while the only thing that trickles down is more and more poverty. It’s the sort of policy that allows for a 1795:1 income ratios while 46 million people in this country live in poverty, and it’s the same sort of policy that allows to millionaires to neglect chemical plants and end up poisoning rivers and drinking water, just to declare bankruptcy a week later and walk away richer than the most of the West Virginians they poisoned could ever hope to be…. Something needs to change. And it’s us.

On that note, I leave you with a movie recommendation. Please watch the documentary called I Am. It’s available on Netflix streaming, and it has an important voice to contribute to this continuing conversation of how we can work together to make things better. The trailer for the film is below, but the movie is even better than the trailer might suggest.

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30 Responses to Minimum Wage On A Rich Man’s Island

  1. Barry Hoff says:

    As one that learned the masonry trade as a hod carrier for 5 years, I am grateful to work as an entry level worker while I practiced home nights the use of a trowel and read books to understand the trade. There is no “harder” work being a hod carrier under the Arizona Sun during the long summer. Could have learned the trade under a collectivist union and been paid nothing for four years. Then they would have garnished my wages for life to support their corruption, electing Marxist politicians like the goon we have in the WH now! If fifteen dollars an hour is a fair min wage, why not make it $60??? We could all be much better off!!!! The sky is the limit to a Marxist government that prints its own money! Young Americans used to learn a work ethic by pumping gas. That job has been priced out of the market by your minimum wage. Entrepenuers find ways around your equal outcome philosophy…..like shipping jobs overseas to those less “haughty”.It’s called FREEDOM! For years this country has entertained Communism in a can. Since the election of Obongo, Communism has become uncanned! You Progressives have made every effort to destroy a fine Nation!

    • Susan S. says:

      Obonbo?! If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were an old fart who’s a bit of a racist.

      • Barry Hoff says:

        If I didn’t know better, you sound like a young ingrate that uses race to justify anything! I believe Ben Carson would make the best POTUS since Lincoln! So much for your argument Commie Racebaiter! Get over it…. their are plenty of young Americans that feel as I do. Get out of your little box and smell the roses!

  2. Jan toraason says:

    Thank you sincerely for this post. Perhaps you could someday reflect on how Roger Ailes and his Fox News has worked successfully (using Hitler propaganda techniques) to convince viewers that voting to protect the rich – environment, energy, taxes – is in their own self interest.

  3. jewells45 says:

    Geez.. I really liked this blog until this post. I thought you were smart.

    • theboeskool says:

      Sorry to let you down, Jewells45.

      Maybe I’m still smart even with this post, and you just don’t realize it yet. 🙂

      • Barry Hoff says:

        The peace and tolerence you preach is only for the statist! So, how did you like Rules for Radicals??? So if $15/hr is a good minimum wage….why not $60??? Wouldn’t that be much more compassionate? You can’t answer that I know. It’s immaterial if you kick me off your statist blog. Does nothing to diminish my argument. You are ruled by your emotions!

      • theboeskool says:

        At the risk of encouraging even more comments from you, Barry, I’m going to answer your question. First, we are a long ways off from $15/hr. Second, the rationale behind wanting to raise the minimum wage is that $7/hr is not an appropriate living wage. If you work a 40 hour week at that wage, you make $15000 a year. $10/hr gets you $20000 a year, and &15/hr gets you about $30000 a year. If you were to split all the US wages evenly between all the people (I am not suggesting this), everyone would make about $100,000/year. Some might argue that having a minimum wage that requires a working single mother to work 70hr/week to get above the poverty level is not good policy. Pushing for a policy that ensures a more equitable distribution of wealth is not the same thing as getting rid of capitalism.

        For example, if we even had a 100:1 ratio policy in place, a company who had workers making $10/hr, executives at that company could make $1000/hr (or about $2 million a year). If they wanted to have a business that has a top salary of $4 million a year, they would have to have a business model that had their lowest paid people making $20/hr. People can still feel free to have a business that profits as much as they want, they just need to take care of the people at the bottom as well.

        I (and my two jobs with a family of five) have enough money. But having a system that allows for companies (many of those companies helped by state funds) that have people making more in a day than some employees make in a year–all while kids are going hungry–is immoral. It is, whether you can see it or not.

    • theboeskool says:

      Sorry if that was snarky.

      If you’re still there, which parts of this post struck you as not smart?

      • Barry Hoff says:

        Boeskool- I do not know the minimum wage because I do not care about it. I believe in entry level jobs. Those are jobs that allow beginners in the work force (high schoolers, retirees, summer jobs, etc) to either learn a trade, hone their work ethic, and just earn some money for whatever. Prove they are worth more. These entry level jobs are not designed to support a family. Many people do not have any idea how to work or produce. This was their chance to learn. Now, thanks to minimum wage laws, those jobs are gone. If a grown man-women is content to stay at that level, so- be -it. It’s their choice.
        This is how I always ran my business. You work for me one day, show me what you’ve got, then I will ask you what you think you are worth. I will then make a judgement. That is free market thinking. It gives the worker freedom. It gives the employer freedom. Workers should feel a sense of value to be included in the decision. There have been times I have paid higher then their value of self worth. I have to know what the market will bear….that’s how I stay competitive. I appreciate good, innovative workers. If a worker over values himself, I pay him for that day and wish him luck. If he does not know how to work, I defer him to a non-existent entry level job the utopians have all but erased.
        . No one is “entitled” to work for me as long as I deal with all the risks. I believe these principles should work for any businessman or woman no matter how big. Problem is…..neo thinkers want to make everything more complicated rather than just being practical. Government bureaucrats enforce their rulings ultimately at the point of a gun. That is why I resist.
        If you and I disagree, we’ll just leave it there. Sorry we got off on the wrong foot.

  4. chad smith says:

    Since birth I have mostly thought of how I could be proud of the work I do and how I could provide a happy and healthy life for me and my family. Because making myself happy and my family happy is what I am supposed to do, much of this pride ended up actually coming from ways I could positively impact friends and strangers too. Oddly, I did not begin life thinking about my best options to earn piles of money. If you are human then I would find it hard to believe that you too aren’t constantly reminded of this inate want/need to achieve greatness – to do something that you’d be proud of and that would make you feel like an improved person. I would even bet that this need has always sat above your need for great wealth. This truth is how I can confidently discount anyone who would cry that wage policy would limit innovation. Innovators will always innovate. People will always strive for greatness no matter the reward of money.

    In the same sense, my definition of freedom is a nation’s ability to help citizens improve themselves by removing impossible barriers. And I am not talking about a defined greatness through wealth, but one that can only be defined by each’s own evaluation of achievable success and positive impact on others. The relatively low wages (relative by inflation) in arguement is an impossible barrier to greatness in this sense.

    But what about the “where does it end communist” and the “in my day young people, blah blah” arguements? In this utopia of false recollection, folks didn’t live in a global economic environment where businesses were bound to ship jobs to the poorest nations no matter how low we made the wages at home. Back then it took too damn long and too much money to ship crap across the world so that wasn’t even an issue. Stop comparing these eras like they are apple-to-apple! Similarly, the sheer jobs to people ratio was better. Also, today’s worker trumps the great work ethic you falsely recall. I’m not saying folks back then didn’t work their asses off but a huge number of them sure didn’t work 3 part-time jobs and 70-80 hours a week with no hope of pension or fair retirement income – all for a current wage that doesn’t meet the inflated cost of basic life. This negative trend has been shown on numerous wage versus cost of living comparison charts. Stop blaming the lazy worker and the lost work ethic of your forefather’s, it is just awful and abusive.

    But just so I’m clear generally..us communists aren’t okay with the continued approach where stock brokers and investor’s need for wealth outweighs the worker’s need for greatness, where what should be embarrassing literacy and health care rates are deemed acceptable “casulties of war” for booming business and skys-the-limit profits that go nowhere and help nobody, where cutting pennies in food stamps satisfies the blood lust and trillions in warmongering. You sir have a seriously warped definition of freedom. For what it is worth. You can also both simultaneously like a black man for president and use totally offensive, and innapropriate racist words and thoughts. I think a variation of an African sounding Obama fits in that category. You’re better than that.

    • Barry Hoff says:

      Conservative Black Americans are referred to “House “n&*(^”, Uncle Toms and such. Sol Alinsky/Soros politics thought they had it in the bag when they elected the 1st Half Black President…..Someone that we not dare criticize as he usurps the Constitution. Someone that in spite of all the scandal and corruption successfully plays the race card after almost 6 years. You like to portray yourself as holding the moral high ground by supporting a system bent on redistribution of wealth. “We will tell you how much you may keep for yourself”. You say. In your world, everything is illegal but what YOU will allow us, the minions, to do. You talk about assault rifles as if we are talking full automatic military rifles. That is a lie. The second amendment was not written with hunting in mind (although that was applicable) It was written to protect us from European style governments that would deny the fact that rights come from a benevolent Creator rather than government. Although in no way could the citizenry over power the National Military (even if it had to) but our oppressors will think twice before writing off our Constitution and the balance of power with the stroke of a pen. It must first count the costs!

    • Barry Hoff says:

      …….this may not count for anything, but I would ask, “what can be more African/Muslim sounding than Barrack Hussein Obama???? He used to go by Barry just like me. Just found your accusation funny.

  5. Barry Hoff says:

    I look at the wealthy of this world and I just wish them more wealth. I never worked for a poor man….neither do I envy the wealthy. They’ll leave it ALL behind when they leave this world. One of the ten commandments that socialists conveniently wish to ignore is “that you will not covet your neighbors property”. The free market must flourish and risk takers must not fear their Government in order to continue the betterment of those in entry level jobs. Entitlements stifle ambition. This system has worked and it is evidenced when you compare the poorest of our nation to others. It is obvious. Instead of fighting over the pie and how big our slice is….grow the pie!

    As a masonry tradesmen with an acquired skill, in 1980 I made $16/ hr.which I thought was a darn good wage. Union Auto workers flaunted the fact they made over $25/hr with a pension to boot I wished them well.but as an entrepreneur, I knew that those wages would come to an end someday. It did when other entrepreneurs began shipping jobs over seas. Cities are going bankrupt due to pensions they can’t pay for. I am content to work hard for 50 hrs. a weak as a self-employed contractor. I know people that work hard in their own businesses for 60 -70 hrs. a week. Who am I to penalize them for making more? And if they want to invest that extra money in say, a loan to me,….all the better!

  6. chad smith says:

    I agree and appreciate you thought on people making governement always weigh costs first. That being said, you are forgetting a major flaw in your “benevolent leader” point. This is that a “benevolent” didn’t actually create our constitution nor has it maintained our laws and policies since. Hundreds of years of flawed men have. Men with biases and personal struggles for power and priviledge.

    There are millions of examples of how this system has been tipped to harm and create disadvantage by this lords of “free” market. A major one is the housing program after WWII. I hope you’ll look into it as there are some very good documentaries and research on the topic. Whites coming home from the war were given low interest loans by the governement to buy houses – thus the suburbs were developed and thrived. Black soldiers found it hard to get these loans and were forceably kept from living in suburbs – thus the low income apartments and ghettos thrived. Shortly there after, laws changed to funnel money to area public schools and each school was funded based on (take a guess) neighborhood/housing values – thus suburban areas schools thrived while city and urban schools struggled. Now we have decades of poor, uneducated black kids growing up in dead-end, minimum wage jobs, and we have decades of suburban, educated white kids – many growing up and leading political policy change in the country… and proudly talking about how entitlement and raised wages hurt ambition.

    Your free market is not free. It never has been. It flourishes the way the powerful want it to flourish. Subsidies, political bribes, corporate bonuses, tit-for-tat contracts. Nobody advocated harming a business person working 60-70 hrs. I want to make it easier or small businesses to start, thrive and profit. The post is about corporate greed and organizations working simply for this quarter’s profit goal just so they can post record breaking bonuses. The fact that workers are suffering while wall street, banks and corporate profits have never been higher should easily prove that it isn’t liberal policy that’s hurting the american worker or the economy as a whole. It’s that all the money is working its way to the top in one big, useless pile of money that doesn’t go to innovation, it doesn’t go to jobs or redevelopment and it sure doesn’t boost small business growth. But you’re right about one thing, it will get passed on when they die…passed on to other rich, elite that will do everything they can to protect that pile of McDuck gold.

    • Barry Hoff says:

      Chad, I’m sorry…you’re hard to follow. You talk about rich elite… what about your President? What about other bureaucrats that make their money as community organizers and governrment elite types that have never produced one thing nor have they ever run a payroll! They are elite by definition because they want to tell those of us that actually produce, how to run a business. One thing I can imagine about being ricn, having never been there, it is probably really hard to hang onto your money. Everyone wants it . Especially government leaches. If I had a truck load of money, or investors I had to look after, I think it would be wise to put it somewhere other than this country where corporate taxes are the highest in this world!

      Chad, don’t resent others. Try to find where you fit in and produce something. I have a son I am quite proud of.. I taught him that wherever he works (worked for me for several years) make yourself invaluable. He has done that. He is production manager and has
      35 employees that work under him.. Started at ground level. I hear all the stories about workers that don’t want overtime because it will jeopardize their welfare. Employees that flunk the drug test yet want unemployment. He knows I am quite familiar with these stories as I employed several people at one time as did my father and his father. Not anymore. I only hire subcontractors….make them self responsible. Do you have any idea how hard it is to start a business with a government that over regulates?

      You speak of “flawed men” and that is where we have agreement. That is why we need checks and balances. That is why we don’t need a President that does “end runs” around the other branches of government. That is why we need a President that does not enforce our laws selectively. He has sworn an oath to uphold them all, but what the heck….he said we could keep our doctors and health plans to. All men are flawed. It is our nature. Only humble men should hold that office.

      So you don’t believe in “natural law”. You don’t believe in a benevolent Creator. Well then I guess this country is of no use to you the way it was founded and you’re just stuck with government to look to for your rights. Mine are God given. Sorry.

      • theboeskool says:

        You didn’t listen to one thing he just wrote, Barry. You have your talking point, and you don’t listen. I doubt this is the first time you have received this criticism. The good news is this: I have received this criticism as well in the past, but it doesn’t happen nearly as much anymore. You’re never too old to change….

  7. Barry Hoff says:

    Boeskool….. I did listen. I did not address the inequality blacks have been shown after WWII. That is undeniable but not even related to our discussion. That was his talking point. I could go on to say how we in America have and are rising above our inequities, perhaps better than any other nation. I could point to men like Dr. Benjamin Carson and many others to show how men can rise above obstacles such as racial discrimination when they begin to view themselves as INDIVIDUALS, loved and cherished by God, rather than a collective unit at the mercy of the STATE where they are no better than the least common denominator. Didn’t think that was the intent of your initial post but there it is. We cannot always be successful until we sometimes fail.Utopians want to shield us from failure so we can never experience success, that’s all.

  8. chad smith says:

    You need not respond to the WWII point to show listening. That was simply one example of a larger point. But, I’d like to be clear that my earlier comments had nothing to do with my faith or my wealth. I actually have plenty of both. Also, I fit in very well and I produce more than most. This is a bias and a dangerous assumption that would serve you to avoid in the future.

    Your insistance about “natural law” is also very troubling. I don’t even know where to begin with how many things about our system aren’t in god’s image and how the words natural law stink from a history of violence and abuse by men claiming god’s favor over other men/women/races.

    Bringing Obama into the aruguement there is mute too. I never said he wasn’t flawed – he too is a man. And he is working in this crazy system we’ve built, so I will agree with you that he’s not living up expectations. That being said though, you do remember that Obama essentially had to step in, save the banks and stop our entire economy from crashing us back into the stone age? I see it more though as one of many examples of how free market is often easily replaced by rampant greed. By income level you are correct, he is elite. From his actions though, you can’t claim he is an elitist. Elistist would be the type of person who says things like “takers” or “47%”. I’m also quite sure he didn’t make a ton of money as an organizer, that work was in service to the poor of Chicago. Maybe his hard work and job as a lawyer/scholar earned him all the big money.

    Your point about how tough it is to be rich actually made me chuckle out loud. As I stated above, I actually have a good amount and it was way more stressful and difficult when I was working two jobs and I didn’t have enough to put gas in my car. I’ve had way more free stuff and gifts given to me since my career grew. I’ve been given financial tips, bonuses and I rub elbows with people who return me favors. When I was young and poor, all I had was a junk car that took most of my income to repair and upkeep each month. Now multiply that time 10,000 and that’s what the typical CEO makes as a bonus, even when he sucks and gets fired.

    Our system is a train heading in a very dangerous direction as we continue to make it even easier for the greedy, flawed men to cheat their way to the top and then prounce around talking about how they “did it all on their own” “all it takes to succeed is hard work” and “entitlement ruins ambition” in attempt to blame the working man, villify the poor and make themselves feel better about the minimal effort it took to gain so much. Entitlements is just a different word for something they’ve been given and stolen their whole life. God is god and men are men. All along I’ve been trying to say I think you are just confusing the two.

  9. Barry Hoff says:

    Chad, it sounds like America has been very good to you and you are an example that is the American dream. Don’t understand why you hate it so much. There has always been corrupt and greedy men at the top.It is not a life I envy. They don’t tell me how I must live my life though. They don’t tell me how much soda I can drink, how much of my earnings I am allowed to keep, from where I will obtain health care. You are not entitled to anything but Life, Liberty, and the pursuit (not guarantee) of happiness. The responsibility is up to you. Sorry I sound rude at times, but I see my childrens rights threatened by those that feel they have superior knowledge about life and would enforce it at the point of a gun by way of “government”.

    Perhaps you can help me with a question. How on earth did Mr. Obama graduate high school and obtain admission to Columbia University when, by his own admission, his life during that time was lived in a daze of beer drinking and joint toking? Why has his transcripts never been made available? Community organizers don’t help the poor….they agitate and promote revolution. Missionaries, Faith based organizations and Peace Corps help the poor. Government does not help the poor. The 50 year War on Poverty and the City of Detroit are fine examples of that.

  10. cklein28 says:

    I have to think about this one. I’m not agreeing with all of what you’re purporting but I do agree that change does have to occur within us. This piece tends to divide the “haves” and “have nots” into a place that is adversarial, not one where the change can occur within all of us-“haves” included. I believe that wealthy people are not all Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life. If the challenge is to change within us, that would include the wealthy. I also am not naive to think that ALL wealthy people, CEO, stock market folk would be open to a conversation about income inequality and make a change within themselves. I do not agree with your comments about retirement in the stock market. I own quite a few stocks and have my retirement in the stock market. I, by no means am wealthy but in having some of my money in the market has allowed me to learn about the ins and outs of the stock market, making it less “them” and more like something for all of us.. Good discussion…

  11. cklein28 says:

    PS-I’m glad I posted my thoughts BEFORE I read what others did…what is that saying? SMH?

  12. chad smith says:

    Thank you and yes, I am blessed. I still don’t think you’re getting the point I’m trying to make though. I don’t hate America. And like you I do not covet that type of wealth and power either. I just believe that policies absolutely do and will continue to tell you and others how to live…by affecting the way in which you are ABLE to live and the way in which your choices affect how others can live.

    Seriously…okay. I got two grad degrees frequently drunk and surrounded by stoned scholars that got even better grades than myself. I have numberous doctor, lawyer and C-level executive friends that get stoned constantly. Our politicians are all a bunch of drunks. Your comment is based on some other dislike for the man and isn’t helpful to any meaningful discussion.

    Saying community organizers don’t help the poor is just, well I’m in shock. Every great and amazing movement that every helped the poor started at a grassroots level via community organizers and non-profit organizations. Anti-racism, women’s rights, parent support groups, connecting neighborhoods with church leadres, after school programs, and so much more is done every day at the community level first and foremost. You have been to a big city, yes? One with poor black people living in it.

    Detroit is yes a mess but not because of the types of things from this blog or discussion. Bad city management, a broken manufacturing system, etc. They will rise from the ashes I am confident of that. The war on poverty has never actually been a war, just hollow words with and plans that never get off the ground or do and then are gutted by your heroes.

  13. I’ve been having some thoughts about how we solve this income inequality problem – feel free to let me know what you think. It’s on Politicoid

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