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America Feeds the Rich

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The report also notes: “Rising income inequality and wage stagnation threaten the future of America’s middle class. While corporate profits break records, the share of national income going to workers’ wages has reached record lows.”

Walmart provides the perfect example of that. The corporation made $17 billion last year, while paying its workers poverty wages. As Walmart workers use government programs to get by, the six Walmart heirs now have more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined. Between 2007 and 2010 the wealth of the six richest Walmart heirs rose from $73 billion to $90 billion while the wealth of the average American declined from $126,000 to $77,000.

This results from government policy. The government doesn’t require Walmart to pay a living wage. Instead, the government uses taxpayer dollars to minimally subsidize low-paid Walmart workers while cutting taxes on the wealthy Walmart heirs.

The government subsidizes Walmart the way it does millionaire famers like Fincher. Though low-income workers receive the food stamps, essentially that government aid is welfare for Walmart.  A food stamp applicant must prove poverty to qualify for government aid. But not big business.  Not agri-business.

The number of food stamp recipients increased dramatically since 2008 because of the great recession, an event caused by reckless gambling on Wall Street. House Republican policy calls for the victims of the recession to suffer and the perpetrators to continue receiving low interest federal loans.

This policy, this funneling of money to the top, increases inequality and decreases opportunity. A child who goes to school hungry, for example, has a very hard time learning.

Universal Studios is among the corporations that have institutionalized inequity. At its parks, middle-class parents and their children wait for hours for entrance to attractions, but the wealthy and their scions simply cut in line. The children of the wealthy don’t have to wait. Universal facilitates this with expensive VIP tickets that entitle rich children to park privileges. The VIP package includes hand sanitizer in case a rich kid accidently touches a “regular Joe” kid, as Universal called them. Also, VIP families get exclusive breakfast and lunch service.

America feeds the rich. Equal opportunity is dead.