Letter: U.S. economy needs a new model

U.S. economy needs a new model

In response to Bill Bernstein being surprised that people are upset with the rich getting richer, saying “ … some people getting richer does not make me poorer. One thing has nothing to do with the other.” (Aspen Daily News, “That some people get richer doesn’t make me poorer,” June 28) Well, actually, it does. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the largest transference of wealth in modern history, with basically all of it going from the middle-class to the top ten percent. And thus, we can see a direct correlation. Millions of Americans are most certainly poorer. If you haven’t felt the pinch, that’s great.

But in addition to this economic inequality, our social inequality is also at an all-time high. And if you look at the research, an increase of inequality has a direct correlation to increasing social problems: violence, domestic abuse, prison population, substance abuse, mental illness and school shootings. However, this is seldom talked about in the mainstream media. I mean, who wants to brag about leading the pack down this dismal hall of shame? That’s right. We’re No. 1! By a long shot. And we’re all poorer for it.

Lastly, to Bernstein’s point, “Those who get richer work harder, and/or work smarter, or just work …” No, not really. The majority of “those who get richer” have had their wealth handed to them. Not all, but most. Ever wonder how those Oil Barons, the Koch brothers, got so rich? Well, their dad gave them $200 million dollars and the family business. And how did Donald Trump get to be that flamboyant and annoying real estate tycoon? His father gave him $50 million and the family business. Hey, did you know that Mitt Romney gave his five sons $20 million … each?! Yeah, to help them, you know, get started.

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to this type of “Head Start Program”, then you can turn that money into more money, often from the sweat — and the debt — of the people doing the actual work. A third of this country now lives at the poverty line, and many of these folks are working harder for less pay.

What’s the problem here? Why the perpetual division? Could it be a system that divides by design? Structural Classism built right into this aging economic model. Extremely harmful to our society. But is it really still necessary?

Things grow old, like cars, computers and economic systems. The time comes to trade it in for a new model, Updated, sustainable, moving from scarcity to abundance. And by utilizing the full potential of our 21st-century technology, it’s actually possible. Ten years ago we weren’t quite there. Now we are. How long until we take that step? Well, that’s another discussion.

Steve Saylor