Of the 1%, By the 1%, For the 1% Reads the headline in a Vanity Fair Story by Joseph Stiglitz.
This story begins with the following remarkable facts:
The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent.
These facts are nothing short of utterly devastating for this country and portend nothing but crisis and calamity on the horizon. How can this not be so? Can anyone make any argument that this imbalance must be corrected IMMEDIATELY? Can anyone envision how this might start to be corrected without violent and dramatic revolution? As the condition and experience for everyday Americans continues to get worse and for some it becomes grave and critical will they continue to suffer in quiet desperation? Or at some point in time will Americans rise up and lash out?
Americans are fundamentally a violent people. We just are. On the one hand we are powerful and feared…and rightly so because we are the worlds greatest warmongers. But that violence is reflected inwardly as well as the United States experiences vastly greater more violence and crime committed among and between our own people than any other country in the history of this planet. Think those Rwanda is bad? Episodic and isolated. Think Iran or China are oppressive and violent? They are generally a meek people with a few violent hotheads.
And the one thing that no one ever talks about or considers even for a moment. THERE IS NO COUNTRY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD WHERE IT’S PEOPLE WERE SO ARMED AND PRIMED FOR BATTLE. The weapons possessed by private citizens all across this county are absolutely mind-boggling. I have always been a gun owner and a supporter of gun rights, but the proliferation of weapons scares the hell out of me. People simply have no idea how many weapons are out there and the kind of weapons that are out there. Are you shocked by the pictures of weapons seized in the Mexican drug wars? Where do you think all those guns came from? Go check out a gun show or a gun shop…but I warn you that it will be quite unsettling.
And has anyone stopped to think what happens with all these weapons when something goes wrong?