Animus of the affluent

Olga Steblyk / Sputnik Photography

Financial crisis after financial crisis, all we are told by the nation’s lead finance bros is that everything is on the up and up. I’m old enough to remember the 2008, “once-in-a-lifetime” financial crisis which had resulted in, according to Investopedia, a whopping 3.1 million people losing their homes in the United States alone. I am also cognizant enough to remember the endless lines of cars for food banks and food relief that occurred just as recent as 2020. So, let me ask you a question, dear reader. Doesn’t it make you mad that these rich, soulless, desperately working for daddy’s approval, bottom feeders; keep parading the dead corpse that is our beloved capitalist economy around? I know it does for me. 

Would you believe me if I said there was a time where, at least in the United States, the wealthiest individuals had paid up to 75 per cent of their income in taxes? This seems crazy to think about now, but as a direct result of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program in 1935, this was exactly the case. Well, at least it was, until Ronald Reagan cut the tax rate for the richest members of society from 75 per cent to 50 per cent, then to 38.5 per cent, with it resting at an abysmal 8.2 per cent as per PBS & Wikipedia. Make as many arguments about bootstraps and work ethic as you want, but 61 per cent of Americans are living paycheque to paycheque in 2023, as per CNBC reporting, there is a clear and fundamental failing with the financial organization of our economic systems. 

Now, it’s time to use our critical thinking skills to consider why this may be. Wouldn’t the allowance of our more affluent members of society to retain their financial gains result in more money being put back into their businesses, as Reaganomics foretold? Wouldn’t this result in higher wages for workers that keep the business running? The short answer is no. Reaganomics was the wool the rich pulled over our heads to deceive us. In fact, this whole premise would have been illegal until 1982, as stock buybacks were illegal until the second year of Reagan’s presidency. As per The Washington Post, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s lifting of financial regulations was a necessity, according to Conservative Tax Foundation think-tanks’ Will McBride. 

Frequently, the only people that receive additions to their pay in large organizations, such as Ford Motor Company, are the executive teams who essentially, do nothing. As per the Detroit Free Press, CEO Jim Farley raked in a mind boggling $20 million in the form of an executive compensation package, with other executives John Lawler, Bill Ford, Kumar Galhotra and Doug Field receiving a total of $71 million in 2022. As if this was not enough, Farley had a bonus of $2.75 million that year as well. 

But why bring this up? To most of us, these are just numbers on a page. Fifty dollars is something we can feel in our hands, $20 million is just an image in our heads. It’s simple. The richest members of our society have routinely showcased an utter disgust and contempt for the middle and working classes. They could care less if we starve underneath their Louis Vuitton boots, so long as we keep the engine of their success marking forward. Like a cancer cell, they seek to continue the growth of their obscene empires simply for the sake of growth. If we continue down on this path, just like a cancer cell, they will exterminate us.

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