Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20, 2012

By Baker City Herald Readers January 20, 2012 05:44 pm

Income inequality: Theme of 2012
To the editor:
Your editorial cartoon of Jan. 13 depicts Mitt Romney in unfavorable light as an out-of-touch Republican presidential candidate. His personal wealth (around $250 million) and his recent comments have made him a sort of poster child for the top 1 percent of Americans.

A former corporate raider with Bain Capital, Mr. Romney says, “I like being able to fire people,” and “Corporations are people.” On top of that, he is reluctant to release his personal income tax returns, probably because he pays an overall tax rate of only 15 percent (and possibly less) on his considerable income. He prefers that this be kept quiet, along with any discussion of U.S. income and wealth inequality.

But the inequality issue is not going away. Despite Republicans’ avoidance of this issue or their decrying it as “class warfare,” most of us realize that we have become a society more unequal than at any time since the 1920s. Automation, globalization, union-busting, and legalized financial abuse have drained middle-class purchasing power and stymied upward mobility. Health care and public education are in critical decline. Most of us have been left behind, while Romney and his cohorts pursue a never-ending quest for more money ... and the political power to cut their taxes even further. 

The Occupy Movement has set the stage for a presidential general election properly centering around economic inequality. President Obama zeroed in on this with an inspiring, major speech at Osawatomie, Kan., on Dec. 6, in which he rejected continuance of “you’re on your own” economics and low tax rates for the wealthy ... and gave a positive plug for Marvin Windows. His economic program moves us in the right direction. (See WhiteHouse.gov.)

Among many additional resources and ideas we can build on, Bill Moyers is back with an excellent new series on PBS which digs deeply into this pivotal issue — at BillMoyers.com. And contract.rebuildthedream.com offers a comprehensive grassroots guide.

If we join together in full and open recognition of the dilemma we face, and if we energetically work to correct it, we can perform invaluable service to our country and the generations to come.

Marshall McComb
Baker City