After World War II, the American economy thrived for 30 years. Prosperity was shared at all levels of income, with each segment seeing a doubling of income between 1949 and 1979. Top tax rates for the rich of 91 percent under Dwight Eisenhower and 70 percent under Richard Nixon did not slow this economy.

During the 1980s, Ronald Reagan began reducing tax rates, deregulating and reducing government spending to spur growth.

America continued to generate wealth; however, that wealth became concentrated at the top. This bonanza was supposed to “trickle down,” benefiting all Americans, but this simply did not happen.

While the rich saw their incomes double again during these three decades, the rest of America saw their incomes stagnate or decline. Had the sharing of American prosperity seen between 1949 and 1979 continued, a family at the medium income level (ours?) would now be making an extra $10,000 yearly.

Warren Buffet sums it up this way, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Why do we continue on this “winners take all” course of increasing inequality? Simple. The rich, never satisfied, use their power to make sure it continues. They recently got the Supreme Court to approve the unlimited and anonymous use of their money, and this November they seek to buy more power.

Most members of Congress and key economic policy makers are members of the top 1 percent and know that if they serve the rich well, they will be even richer.

Things will never change until we realize the power of the people at the top depends on the inaction of the people below. We must take action and make government work for the rest of us, the 99 percent.

John Benziger

South China

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