We are free today substantially but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. – James Madison
Twenty-six of the world’s wealthiest people possess more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the world’s population combined. That’s 26 individuals possessing more than 3.8 billion people.
Wealth and income inequality in the U.S. is at or near historic highs. Almost all the gains in wealth since the Great Financial Crisis have gone to the top 1 percent, and within that group, the top 0.1 percent has garnered the most.
Yet most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Many carry high debt burdens. Student debt has exploded past $1.5 trillion. Bankruptcies due to medical expenses aren’t uncommon. Social ills are rampant. Suicide and drug overdose rates have escalated. And we’re led by a highly divisive pathological liar.
Despite the corrosive effects of the gross inequity overhanging our populace, and the populist propaganda being vomited near daily by the White House and the pathetic con man who occupies the Oval Office, a year ago our Congress and president gave the wealthy a humongous tax cut. The consequence was predictable and, indeed, predicted: inequity has gotten worse and the national debt has ballooned (the Boomers “gift” to their children and grandchildren).
I guarantee you their eventual response to this will be to cut social programs: Social Security, Medicare, Pell grants (education), food stamps, Medicaid, etc. Their solution is to take it out of the hide of labor. It always is.
Madison predicted that our Republic will become an impossibility, that eventually our system of government will fail us.
He may be proved right. And sooner than any of us anticipated.