Part of the motivation for doing the survey was to facilitate a dialog between the 1% and all the rest of us so that there can be some resolution of our nation’s problems of income inequity. It seems that we have been harboring false stereotypes about them – boohoo – and they’re hurt and somewhat miffed. No, they are not all selfish and greedy. Some of them are very generous in their charitable giving and their time.
The attitudes reported in the article of the 1% did not particularly surprise me. Of course, some wealthy people are generous with their time and money – although giving an average of 4% of their income isn’t especially magnanimous. Most seem to feel that the government should have a limited role in adjusting the income inequity in our country. Is the corollary that it should be up to the largesse of those who can afford it?
Americans in general are a very generous people when it comes to giving on an individual basis or volunteering and the 1% is no different than the rest of us in that respect. The problem is that this isn’t working nor has this ever worked. Before our social safety net was in place, during the Great Depression, people depended on the kindness of others and ended up selling apples in the street. Many starved and there were many evicted when they couldn’t pay their rent or mortgages. We need to have a much more systematic approach to deal with United States' income inequity which is now the most unbalanced in the world. We have a 1% who has 36% of the nation’s wealth. More and more people are becoming unable to pay for their basic needs and are finding it increasingly difficult to send their children to college or to think of being able to retire. I think that this is what the Occupy Movements have been trying to say. The issue isn’t the individual attitudes of a few people; it’s about the system. And something besides a few well meaning people has got to give.
Let’s hope that in the New Year we can get beyond all our large and small differences and arrive at some kind of resolution. Happy New Year everyone! May it be a happy, healthy, and more prosperous year for EVERYONE.
I’ll be back next year with more easy, economic recipes along with my stories and ideas. See you soon!