You're not just a millionaire down on your luck


1 comment
Thanks to S. Woodside for the cartoon.
  • Thanks to S. Woodside for the cartoon.

Throughout history, time after time, the rich and powerful make economic and social decisions that are in their best interest, not anyone else's ... and time after time we let them. Sure, occasionally a union will rise up and demand better working conditions — you can thank them for the eight-hour work day, for example — or social-reform advocates, like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., will raise their heads above the crowd and demand change. But, what do we do then? We usually do our best to knock them down and disparage them, even though the change they're seeking will benefit us.

Why do we do that?

I don't think it's because we're stupid. Though, I can't help but think Bill Maher had it right when he said, and I'm paraphrasing, that the masses support the rich and powerful's slash-and-burn mentality when it comes to taxes and programs that affect those who aren't rich and powerful — all while making life more cushy for themselves — because so many working- and middle-class people figure they're just millionaires who are down on their luck.

Well, you're not. In fact, there's a pretty good chance that you're not even middle class anymore. Those two or three people who rise up out of poverty every year to become crazy rich? They're the exception, you're the rule.

So, I ask again: Why do so many working- and middle class people remain silent while the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?

Ask this guy (below), from WMMT (88.7 FM) in Appalachia. He could have raised awareness about his radio station's plight, but he allowed a New York Times reporter to do that for him. Why? Why does he, and do we, have such a hard time standing up for ourselves against the monied interests in Washington, on Wall Street and in Uptown Charlotte?

Rich Kirby, a part-time producer for WMMT, the community radio station here, was interviewing two local aid officials the other day about the effect of Washington’s proposed budget cuts on this region, in the heart of Appalachia.

“We’re in one of the poorest if not the poorest districts in the country,” Ricky Baker, of the private Community Action Council, which receives 95 percent of its financing from the federal government, said into the microphone. Without that money, he added, “we’ll have people either freeze to death, starve to death or die of a medical condition because they can’t get appropriate health care.”

Mr. Kirby refrained from chiming in that his own employer, WMMT, is also imperiled by the same budget ax. As lawmakers seek to cut billions of dollars in federal spending, the Republican-controlled House voted in February to end financing for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 2013. While President Obama wants to continue financing the corporation, the current budget turmoil has left its long-term fate uncertain.

Read the rest of this The New York Times article, by Katharine Q. Seelye, here.

Further reading: WRAL reports on proposed tax cuts in North Carolina


Showing 1-1 of 1


Add a comment