Economic (In) Justice
I attempted to leave a comment directly on the main page, but kept getting a blank screen instead.
As I touched on in an earlier post, the issue of economic inequality relates to feminism in the existence of oppression and exploitation of the poor, lower class, as well as working and middle classes by those in the wealthy upper classes. This can also be viewed in the divisions of privileged and unprivileged in similar consideration to that of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc. One particular difference which has been a point of popular inclusion in protests and arguments surrounding the occupy movement is that in this case those being exploited far outnumber those in the position of privilege. The societal ideal that what is normal, right, and accepted is determined by the majority is extremely questionable here. These are points that I plan to speak more on in my post on the Occupy Providence assignment. The main point is that issues of inequality must be addressed with a voice and a sentiment for change. In this way the growing disparity of financial means between class catagories in our country fits into the context of feminist consideration.
Our country is continuing to loose it's edge globally while those who live within the wealthy upper class see exceeding growth in income. In contrast, all below the line of upper class distinction appear relatively stagnant in comparison. Incomes for many have actually declined while unemployment exploded during the past three years. As covered in the news, CEO's and high level executives (many within the corporations who received federal bailouts) have enjoyed lofty bonuses and unreal retirement compensation packeges while the working class scrape by. This cannot be said or assumed of anyone based solely on what class they fall into, as catagories can be wide in range, but this is a typical assessment of our current economic position in America. The Ben Stein article link covering his discussion with Warren Buffet made some great points. It's easy for most within the middle class and below to express the fairness and need to increase taxation of the wealthy in order to help balance the deficit. I was somewhat unsure about this approach feeling that this might be comparable to taking from any dominant group in the opinion of fairness. To target someone due to a perceived association to a group is a questionable tactic in attempting balance and equality. Through Ben Stein's article though it became clear that in reality the consideration of increasing taxation for the wealthy was in the attempt to achieve a balance in percentage of income taxed, which in comparrison only seems fair. The idea that those working to make ends meet and provide for a family have a greater percentage of their incomes taken in taxes than those of the highest income earners reminds me of points discussed in class on bank fees. Those with the means to maintain high account balances earn greater interest accumulation while those without the means often incur penalty fees. The rich get richer while the poor get poorer.
I came across a great blog post titled "We Are Not All Created Equal" speaking on the issues of class inequality in America and the grim reality of the difference between our idealistic views and actual state of affairs. "It is hard to imagine even any temporary regression back to the days of the swelling American middle class. The forces of inequality are simply too powerful and the forces against inequality too weak. But at least we can end the hypocrisy. In ten years, the next generation will no longer have the faintest illusion that the United States is a country with equality of opportunity. The least they're entitled to is some honesty about why." While this is a sad thought to consider, it makes a great point.