Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kiss Up, Kick Down

We have an economy that distorts our sympathies and our solutions to problems. It’s all part of The Rule Of Accumulated Advantage, which says the more you have the more you get, the less you have the more we take away. The more you have the more we care about you, the less you have the less we give a damn.

Let's call this Kiss Up, Kick Down.

Examples from today’s news:

Wealth Therapy. Nobody cares about them because they’re rich. So now there are therapists who can soothe their pain. Adding another client class to the retinue, rather than distributing some of that obscene wealth down to the people who actually do the work around here, whose worries are real, whose illnesses can bankrupt them..

The story about Wealth Therapy, in the Guardian.

Down at the other end of the scale, where advantages disappear and disadvantages accrue and reinforce each other, we have a different dynamic at work. We find ways to compound disadvantages. We bill the relatives of the people who die in prison for the cost of imprisoning them. Why charge the families who have already suffered a punishment alongside their kin? Because costs of public necessities are increasingly sorted downward to be paid by people who work for a living, and since people who work for a living have seen their incomes decline there is a persistent deficit. But we must never ever ask the advantaged to pay that deficit. Because that deficit was created by putting a larger and larger portion of our economy into their pockets, and that greater portion deserves its immunity.

The story about charging the imprisoned for their imprisonment, from Vox.

A similar punishing burden falls upon young people who want to go to college. Young people with rich parents have money set aside tax free, but there is very little to be set aside in working families, so they take out loans, which have punitive interest rates, and that money flows daily, monthly and yearly into the pockets of the rich people who own the financial industry. Of course it would be wrong to tax the people who benefit vastly and unequally from our economy to take the load off the people who are trying to better themselves. This is why college debt follows graduates for the rest of their lives, especially those whose education does not lead them into hugely lucrative jobs in the financial industry.

An article about how college loans are our most unforgivable sin, in the Fiscal Times.

The bankruptcy laws allow billionaires like Donald Trump to declare bankruptcy multiple times and walk away from their speculative losses. But the debt incurred by going to college? No that is not something you can walk away from if your life doesn’t fall into place or if misfortune strikes you. Imagine if you graduate from college and unplanned injury or disease prevents you from rising immediately to a lucrative career. You’re outa luck, pal.

The tale of Trump's multiple bankruptcies in the Washington Post.

And in Vanity Fair.

In a way, felons are luckier than college graduates. Felons can be paroled or pardoned. Crimes can be forgiven or plead down. But college debt is never forgivable. The rich can bargain themselves out of their debts to society, but regular people? Never.

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