“I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others, then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America… I believe the way to lift people and help people have higher incomes is not to take from some and give to others, but to create wealth for all of us,” said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently.
Of course the formula that Romney describes has worked quite well for the one percent. That is exactly how they have enriched themselves: They have taken from others and given to themselves.
Obviously the hole in Romney’s analysis is that there is only so much wealth to be had. He also overlooks the fact that in order to accumulate mass amounts of wealth you have to under-compensate, exploit, defraud others of their right and just reward for their labor.
Of course if we believe that we get what we have earned when we go to work, we do so because we are taught to believe that. But this equation is far from fair. In reality the factory owner, the owner of the company, simply cannot produce his/her product by themselves. They have to have laborers to produce their product.
The deceased Steve Jobs of Apple was hailed as a pioneer and innovator. But Jobs did not make Apple computers; thousands of poorly paid workers did. If there were no workers working for substandard wages, Steve Jobs would not have been such a wealthy man.
Therefore, in reality, because of this dependence it would stand to reason that the relationship would be “quid pro quo.” Since one (laborer/employer) can’t really do anything without the other, then the reward should be shared equally.
In capitalist society, those in power have convinced the workers that those with the major capital deserve the lion’s share of the produce. That may be the way things are, but it’s not fair and it’s what has built the wealth inequity gap.
The rich want us to believe that they are rich because
they are better, smarter and more favored.
Romney has also been claiming that nearly half the population is dependent on the government. While there is good reason for that, considering the economy and the number of retirees dependent upon Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, Romney was saying it to pit the working class against itself by claiming that one half is trifling and slovenly.
However, in reality it is the rich who are really dependent. They are dependent upon us to keep believing the old song, the same old propaganda. The rich want us to believe that they are rich because they are better, smarter and more favored.
In reality none of that is true. Even in the province of Christianity the Biblical record reveals that God actually favors the poor, the exploited and the downtrodden. It was the point of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The rich use their books, their education, their press, even their stories to ingrain in us the idea that this is the way things are, it’s the way things have always been it will never change. Change is impossible, they tell us, which is why they even try to answer questions that are bound to be raised before we take them up seriously.
They, as I pointed out earlier, even use their religion to discourage us. Jesus saying “the poor will always be with us,” as if he made a proclamation rather than a statement of the facts surrounding him. Jesus did not proclaim that there had to be poverty and poor people; he was trying to convince his disciples to relax in this incident in which someone seemed to be wasteful.
The rich are dependent on the poor continuing to allow them to be exploited, and they are dependent upon the government to set favorable terms for their goods and to give them “welfare” that sustains their businesses and sometimes — as in the case of the bank bailout — they are dependent on simple handouts.
The working class has not been calling for a redistribution of the wealth, though it’s been on our minds. Yet the ruling class has shrewdly got in front of the conversation and tried to mislead us.
Let’s be absolutely clear, whether we realize it or not, we do want a more egalitarian society. We do want equal opportunity for ourselves and we do want the rich to share what they have gained primarily through and unequal and unjust relationship.
We ought to ask like Aretha Franklin in her song “Here We Go Again,” “you must think [we’re] foolish, you must think [we’re] blind… it’s just the same old song.”
This is just the same old song. And they are singing it as if we can’t see through their lies. We might not be able to do anything about it but I think that it’s safe to say that most of us sane poor folks want a little redistribution. We want the rich — the one percent — to give back what they stole.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to [email protected]