Stewart Acuff

May 30

Inequality, Economic Recovery, & the Health of Our Planet

We in the U.S. are rightly worried about the global economic crisis caused by Wall Street’s reckless investment practices in 2007 and 2008. Wall St. destroyed $50 trillion in the world’s wealth, $7 or 8 trillion in America’s wealth, busted budget and worker’s pensions, and hastened the shrinking and potential destruction of the American middle class.

Wall St. also destroyed more jobs than at any time since the Great Depression, plunged middle class families into poverty, almost destroyed the Eurozone and European currency, forced major fights over economic policy in Spain, Portugal, Britain, and other European countries, and, perhaps worst of all, HASTENED THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC RACE TO THE BOTTOM, global poverty and human misery, and GREATLY EXPANDED DANGEROUS LEVELS OF INEQUALITY.  And, by the way, allowed radical right-wing Republican governors and state legislatures to weaken, threaten, and destroy whole segments of unions and collective bargaining.

Now we are beginning to be given a choice – grow the economy, jobs, and living standards while further degrading our planet, or put the brakes on global climate change and our planet’s destruction.

We all know how that argument plays out and which side wins, but it is a false and inhuman choice.

The collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State is a jolting reminder that America has a deep, destructive, productivity and wealth slowing infrastructure crisis. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given our infrastructure a grade of D+. Is that worthy of the USA?

We are told we must build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would be an atmospheric disaster because of the additional assault on the atmosphere. This would only accelerate global climate change.

Meanwhile the top 7-10% of Americans continue to suck up huge amounts of wealth and refuse to invest in the jobs-producing real economy, while driving the paper economy to near record heights.

Something is desperately wrong with this picture.

Tomorrow we will discuss common sense solutions.


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Photo Credit: Joe Kekeris/AFL-CIO

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