How wealth is passed on through the generations

You may have seen John Oliver use the lottery to demonstrate how income inequality works, but why has it recently become more of a problem?  UC Berkeley’s Robert Reich talks about how our recent policies around the estate tax have long term consequences:

We’re on the cusp of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history. The “self-made” man or woman, the symbol of American meritocracy, is disappearing. Six of today’s ten wealthiest Americans are heirs to prominent fortunes.

Reich has some ideas for solutions to this issue and you can read about them here.

It is amazing to me that the conservative working class (especially the working poor) has been so captivated (and captured) by corporate America that they fight fang and claw to keep themselves on the bottom end of increasing economic disparity, and to make the wealthy, wealthier at the expense of worker.

In the 4th century BCE, Plato said that neither oligarchy nor democracy are suitable systems to bring about social justice. An Oligarchy—rule by the few and the wealthy—is unacceptable because the wealthy are only interested in their own appetites and will exploit the workers for gain. But Democracy will not lead to social justice either, because the public, by and large, is ignorant of the functions of government, and by that lack of information, they are easily misled by the emotional rhetoric of self-serving politicians.

Even back in Plato’s time, the two major political parties in Athens were the Oligarchs and the Liberals. The Oligarchs wanted precisely what conservative “leaders” want today—an oligarchy. The Liberals wanted all men to be equal and have equal voice—same as today.

The process of good propaganda is clear:

1. Demonize a word (such as “liberal”) by using it always in a negative sentence, preferably as emotion-generating as possible (falsehoods actually work better than truth). Give the word no quarter and never speak it in a positive sentence. Because of the constant demonization of the word, long and loudly, many in the public will come to hate the word and everything associated with it.

2, Now, attach any person or policy to the word, and the person or policy comes to be hated as well.

Evidence? Take a look at Newt Gingrich’s memo to GOPAC back when the political division was not as bad as today: Google “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.” Yes, the conservatives started this well before Gingrich wrote the memo, but it did serve to clarify and consolidate the political methodology of the Right Wing. This was greatly enhanced by the rise of the neoconservatives.

So, here we are, a corporatocracy, slipping quickly into an oligarchy with the help of the corporatist conservative Supreme Court.

The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party; and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect his purpose.

I am almost ready to say that this is probably true; that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power on the minds of the now contestants, he could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And, having begun, he could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.

Abraham Lincoln

September 30, 1862