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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Enormous Income Inequality in U.S.

H. Zinn writes that from 1944 to 1961 the distribution of wealth in the United States "had not changed much: the lowest fifth of the families received 5 percent of all the income; the highest fifth received 45 percent of all the income. In 1953, 1.6 percent of the adult population owned more than 80 percent of the corporate stock and nearly 90 percent of the corporate bonds. About 200 hundred giant corporations--one tenth of one percent of all corporations--controlled about 60 percent of the manufacturing wealth of the nation."

A People's History, pp. 441-42.

Barry repeatedly talked about income inequality during his campaign for the presidency, saying it was the greatest it has been since the Great Depression.

Haven't heard him use the phrase once since he took office.

On health care reform, I was surprised to see a clip of Ted Kennedy on TV roaring that health care was a right, not a privilege -- in 1978! The fundamental reason reform is needed was clearly articulated a long time ago. The power of the insurance and pharmaceutical industry lobbyists to strangle necessary public policy is astonishing.

To provide health care as a for-profit business is inhumane and vile. In a civilized society, health care is a universal, inalienable human right. If one loses one's health, "liberty and the pursuit of happiness" instantaneously evaporate, and in a not insignificant number of cases, God help us, "life" itself vanishes. Press reports indicate that the lack of universal health insurance in the U.S. causes more than 10,000 unnecessary deaths a year.

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