What’s Left: Income Inequality



The Occupy movements throughout the entire world aren’t some sort of loosely related accident. They aren’t a conglomeration of crazies to balance out the Tea Party. They aren’t young and unem­ployed loons as my counterpart has tried to point out. The issue at hand isn’t a student’s choice of academic study, it isn’t the cost of a college education and it isn’t about paying back student loans.

It’s time for Republicans to stop bastardizing the ever-increasing portion of Americans that are under- or unemployed and it’s time for college students to stop pretending like their major is any better than anybody else’s.

We’re here to talk about income inequality. According to a study released by the University of California at Berkeley, the top one percent account for almost a quarter of all income. In the early 1900s when robber barons like Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt and Ford dominated the American economy, the same percentage only controlled about 18 percent of the nation’s income. So what’s the deal here? Why is it that in a time with fewer bazillionaires, America’s income gap is as large as it has ever been?

The answer lies in the frightfully asinine political action of congressional Republicans. Boehner and his cronies are unwilling to budge on a mostly Tea Party-inspired agenda.

Republicans champion the elimination of budget shortfalls and the creation of a balanced bud­get amendment, but ignore the best ways to do it. The poor keep getting poorer and college gradu­ates with nothing more than economics degrees don’t understand that unemployment isn’t always a result of laziness, but instead is a direct measure of the sheer idiocy of the term “job creator.”

Companies are getting tax breaks and aren’t hiring. General Electric paid zero dollars in taxes last year. Apple spent $60 million each on eight senior executives. And at the worst, Republican candidates make millions from corporate interests but still champion hard work as a core American value. Sorry, guys, getting paid for a political position isn’t hard work, it’s cheating the system.

If congress were to repeal Bush-era tax cuts, the projected savings to the deficit would be around $593 billion. These tax cuts are in regard to estate taxes – the poor don’t have estates.

Keeping all else constant, the Bush-era tax cuts are directly increasing the income gap in Ameri­ca. It’s impossible to champion hard work and the abolishment of an estate tax at the same time – a hard worker makes his/her own fortune, not his/her parent’s.

It’s about time that Americans everywhere (including a heck of a lot of Colgate students) stop pretending that it’s their hard work, college education choice or lack of debt that’s getting them a job. Paris Hilton has a GED and is worth $45 million. I’m working on a degree in either English or political science and am worth a sack lunch.

Republicans champion my ethic, but Hilton’s end result. As a result, I’m going to continue vot­ing for candidates who support funding for actual job creation, not funding for the pockets of so-called “job creators.” I’m going to vote for candidates who care about the entirety of the population, not ones who care more about those that don’t need any help. Sorry, that’s just the right thing to do.

I’d love to end this article with a magnificent quote by Elizabeth Warren, one that every single Colgate student should read and comprehend. Maybe the economics students could learn a little from a woman who dedicated her pre-governmental life to education: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there – good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory … Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

I want to live in a country where everybody has a shot, and that’s not the view of Republicans in America, no matter what is said. Vote Democrat.

Contact Andrew Philipson at [email protected].