When are the wealthy and the political and fiscal conservatives going to address both poverty and income inequality issues honestly? There are quite a few studies out there that have shown that the wealthier one becomes, the less of a stellar character one has to show for it and that a healthy percentage of Wall Street types may be psychopaths, not of the murderous variety, just the absence of guilt type, that did not lose sleep when the global economy gets blown up as a result of certain casino-like behavior. David Brooks and his like minded colleagues do not like to speak about luck or that the policies in place in the tax code are specifically geared to creating and maintaining huge fortunes for those lucky individuals and corporations that have the right ties to Capitol Hill. The myth that David Brooks is pushing is that these wealthy individuals are special, with superior character traits. I do not believe and therefore do not accept his myth. No one on this earth, ever, has made it on their own; it is impossible, there is always a backstory rife with emotional support, luck, risk on the part of others and determination. Our country was partially founded with the idea that it was the land of opportunity for anyone to be able to make it. The question that we face and have been facing for over forty years, is why did we accept this change in our narrative? Why did we allow the wealthy to fall under their own spell of self acclaim and superiority complex? If we pick apart the show “Undercover Boss” it answers the question “are C.E.O’s really 300% more valuable than the other employees” very quickly. My answer is no. When we look at education, it is also a matter of luck, if you are lucky enough to be born to parents who are rich enough to live in Scarsdale New York, you will be going to the best public school as opposed to being born to parents who live in the Bronx, New York, not that far away geographically but socio-economically, thousands of miles apart. If we didn’t fund our public school system primarily with real estate taxes and found some other way, we might see different outcomes. Moreover if we had in place a non shaming nutritional plan where children would not be hungry, we would also see different outcomes. This false debate about character and poverty obfuscates the real problems within our society and these problems aren’t hard to fix per se, it is all about simplifying and reevaluating the tax code and shifting our priorities a bit. Educational opportunities should be high on our list; universal preschool, recommitting our resources to public education nation-wide, including higher education the way it was before Reagan, there is nothing like education to lift children up away from the cycle of poverty, as long as we don’t load them down with debt in the process. These are choices that we could make, that would also define our character as a nation; a nation that believes in the possibility and creating opportunities for all of its people.
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