For over thirty years, you and I have lived through a radical redistribution of wealth — upward, to a tiny fraction of the population — as though we’re part of a bizarre experiment to see how much inequality a democratic society can tolerate. Finally this past year, as a result of the Great Recession that burst the mortgage/refi/credit card bubble that had allowed too many of us to deny reality, people have woken up and “We are the 99%,” the rallying cry of the Occupy movement, has spread far and wide.
CHUCK COLLINS has been on the case since at least 1995, when he co-founded United for a Fair Economy to raise the profile of the inequality issue and support efforts to address it. In fact, when he did so, he was one of my first guests on this show and we talked then about the same issues we will talk about today.
Chuck’s new book, 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It, paints a picture of how disparities in wealth and power play out in America and the world, and identifies the shifts in social values, political power, and economic policy that have led to our current era of extreme inequality. He lays out the destructive cost of inequality on virtually every aspect of society.
But Collins believes there’s hope and offers proposals for closing the gap, and a guide to many of the groups working toward a society that works for everybody.
There are the repercussions of the Republican electoral victories in last fall's elections - not just in Washington but in statehouses across the country. Though they well know that they were swept into office due to unemployment and a weak economic recovery on the one hand, and voter ignorance and lack of memory on the other, the GOP in DC is acting like they have a mandate for gutting Planned Parenthood, Public Radio and Television, and the EPA. Even worse, in the states, they are seizing on budget shortfalls to try to crush public employee unions.
JOHN NICHOLS is a Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate editor of The Capital TImes in Madison, Wisconsin. He is the author of Jews for Buchanan, and co-author with Robert McChesney of Our Media Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media.