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Standing up for what we believe in — My Sunday Column for Glendale-Burbank-Pasadena Papers

For people who came of age in the Roaring ’20s or the Great Depression
that followed, this is déjà vu all over again, a moment in history that
must make them feel like they have taken a step back in time.

The disparity in wealth today is as great as it was back then — and it’s growing rapidly.

Just as it was in the 1920s, the richest 20% of Americans own 85% of the
wealth. The bottom 40% has a net worth of zero. In most cases, they owe
more than they own, which makes them worth less than zero, when it
comes to wealth.

Don’t begrudge the rich getting so much richer.
It’s House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s good fortune, we assume, that
her husband’s smart investments in real estate and football surged in
the last year, increasing her net worth by 62% to $35.2 million, showing
growing disparity in wealth isn’t just along party lines, at least.

New
U.S. Census figures show that for the third year in a row, the poverty
rate jumped nationally, reaching 15.3%, with 2.6 million more people
joining the 43.6 million already living below the poverty line on a
family income of less than $22,113.

In California, it is worse — a lot worse.

The
poverty rate jumped a full point to 16%, leaving 6 million people with
poverty level incomes and one in five Californians without health
insurance, and one in eight without a job.

Burbank’s poverty rate
is roughly half the state average, but Glendale and Pasadena are on par
with the state. Los Angeles, in a class with Rust Belt cities like
Detroit for unemployment, has a poverty rate a third higher, at more
than 20%.

You can be as indifferent as you want to the poor — and
a lot of people don’t seem to care if they live or die — but you need
to worry how they fill up emergency rooms and increase demand on public
services of all types, and about the impact of the instability that
comes from chronic unemployment and deepening poverty.

Most of all, you need to worry about yourself, if you fit anywhere into the middle class.

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4 Responses to Standing up for what we believe in — My Sunday Column for Glendale-Burbank-Pasadena Papers

  1. Scott Zwartz says:

    “It looks like we will be waiting a long time unless we take the initiative ourselves in our lives, our work, our communities and start standing up for what we believe in, at the same time seeking to find common ground with those whose beliefs are different than our own.” so says Ron Kaye
    However, as I am sure Ron Kaye knows, Pogo nailed the origin of our owes, “We have met the enemy an he is us.” [Pogo should have said “and he is we,” but predicate nominatives sound like direct objects, and poorly educated Americans use the accusative case. In his defense, however, Pogo was a alligator and no doubt he was educated in those Florida Everglades where Michele Bachmann wants to drill for oil — but I ramble and digress . . .
    Locally, we continue to vote for the same mamzers, goniffs and shnorrers, but on the national and state levels, the voters did “Throw the bums out.” What good it do us? We got a weenie wuss as president who only knows back-stabbing and selling out, and our new governor’s Democratic allies pose a far greater risk to our well being and the GOP. There’s no limit on the corruption Brown will condone; no end to the evisceration of the environmental laws Brown will support. Lies, deception and hubris rule California, especially Los Angeles.
    And we come full circle to Ron Kaye, “If we don’t take care of ourselves, who will?”

  2. Anonymous says:

    ER hospital personnel are taxed beyond their normal workloads…What does this mean? Higher mortality rates for the poor and wealthy alike. How did we get here? It’s all about the “New World” order they promised US. Funny how WE have business professionals, former presidents, and pundits, instructing US after the facts…Since the 70′s they administered Alpha inputs,…Now forty years latter, we have Omega outputs….Welcome to history of the 21st Century Part I…Talk is cheap…Start hiring US…BTW..some of those outsourced jobs that our politicians allowed to flee overseas, need to return to our homeland,….Rehire those who were displaced…
    “There will be little drudgery in this better ordered world. Natural power harnessed in machines will be the general drudge. What drudgery is inevitable will be done as a service and duty for a few years or months out of each life; it will not consume nor degrade the whole life of anyone.”
    —H.G. Wells “Outline of History”

  3. Anonymous says:

    To 10:47
    Politicians did not allow jobs to flee, US capitalist entrepreneurs shipped those jobs out to foreign countries…How ironic that some of those same countries hold our debt as well.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The question is, what do we do with the unemployed over 50 years old and unable to find work because of their age? 12.4% unemployment in CA., that’s the offical count, not withstanding those ineligable to collect. Our City Officals really lack leadership.

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