Larry Hogan, Maryland’s governor, called those committing violence in Baltimore after the death of unarmed African-American Freddie Gray while in police custody as “lawless gangs of thugs roaming the streets.”

I would call them people who have experienced poverty, discrimination, underfunded schools, fear of the police, second-class status and hopelessness. If I and many readers of this paper had to overcome those barriers, we would probably commit violent acts also.

If we want to prevent this kind of violence in the future, we need to end skin color discrimination against African-Americans. We need to ensure good-paying, living-wage jobs for all, guarantee a good education for every student, and give people who live in poverty, whether in Baltimore or Maine, a way to escape that poverty and succeed.

A good place to start is to reverse the income and wealth inequality that continues to get worse in this country. An income and capital gains tax, such as what we had from about 1945 to the late 1970s, where millionaires were taxed up to 90 percent of their income, reduced that inequality. It’s time to tax the wealthy at a much higher rate and spread the wealth.

Larry Dansinger


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