The Transylvania Times -

The National Divide


Thank you for turning out some thoughtful, and much needed editorials! However, on the subject of our being a divided nation, I think income inequality is a result more than a reason. The extreme income inequality we are now seeing, is the result of pretty big differences in beliefs on how our economy should be managed, and how to reconcile the needs of people in general with the needs of businesses to earn profits.

The economic argument seems to be between those who advocate decreases in spending for debt reduction and those who advocate increased spending on infrastructure (roads, bridges, buildings, etc) and education to prime the economic pump by putting money and resources into the hands of the people, who will then, it is hoped, have money to spend and thereby encourage businesses to expand and hire more people. Clearly, the debt-worriers have the upper hand right now.

I think the more important divide is the belief that the way to encourage the economy and produce jobs is to make sure that businesses and moneyed interests maximize their incomes. This is done by keeping business taxes low and by providing subsidies and/or tax breaks. This system gives tremendous incentives to businesses to lobby for changes in the law and tax code for benefits to their businesses. (And, coupled with the high cost of campaigning for political office, has resulted in the essential corruption of our elected representatives.) This whole process has taken place in increments over time so the tax code is now incredibly complicated, keeping legions of accountants and lawyers happily employed. This “trickle down” system of wealth distribution has worked astonishingly well for its proponents, as we see from the current income inequality numbers.

An alternate belief system would put its emphasis on policies that would produce less income inequality, higher taxes on the wealthy, higher minimum wages for labor, and regulations preventing businesses from taking unfair advantage of workers, customers or the general public, either financially or environmentally. The fundamental argument would be that no one gets wealthy without the efforts of their workers, their customers or the functions of a civilized society where laws are generally agreed to and fairly enforced, where the general population is literate, educated, and reasonably secure from starvation and disease.

This is clearly the world in which I wish to live.

Bill Thomas

Cedar Mountain


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