Why do I bring up the discussion of the Forbes Top 400 list? There is validity in bringing up this list for many to see. For instance, let's take a look at New York. Sam Roberts of The New York Times reported on the increasing income inequality facing New Yorkers today. Now with a nearly 21 percent in the poverty rate, the city of New York faces increasing income inequality that reflects the tune of the 1920s, except there is no bloom of new culture or music. Rather, it is the rebirth of poverty, inequality and homelessness that the state and local administration does not seem to be address forcefully. Mayor Bloomberg gained $3 billion dollars from last year, yet New Yorkers lost $821 dollars. Though, the top fifth percent of New York gained more than $1,900. Couldn't Bloomberg simply share the $3 billion dollars with the rest of New York? I'm certain he wouldn't lose anything of value or even see a change to his lifestyle.
The situation in New York couldn't get any worse. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeless Services reported that homelessness in New York City increased 23 percent, a conservative estimate based on the flaws presented in the report. The solution seems to be cutting money for homeless shelters, a significant disappointment. Mayor Bloomberg promised in 2004 that in five years he would make homelessness "effectively extinct in New York". Based on previous years, homelessness has been a failure for the Bloomberg administration. In fact, Bloomberg has worsen the problem of homelessness as the Coalition for the Homeless reported a growth of 33 percent for those in shelters and 45 percent for families after he took office. Homelessness is not even endangered, it's facing a boom.
I do not need to report on other states to reinforce the fact that inequality is out of control in this country. The situation in New York can be easily replicated throughout the country. The biggest problem in this country today is that we debate that the "job creators" need to be rewarded further. The reality is that the bottom 50 percent of people own 1.1 percent of total net worth in this country according to the Congressional Research Service. Does this not alarm anyone? Income inequality is out of control and we need desperately to redistribute wealth from the richest Americans and Wall Street to poorer Americans and Main Street. To suggest we don't is foolish as it is an issue which can be extremely volatile. Mark my words, if the issue of income inequality is never address, then the United States edges closer to a social revolution that will be more widespread than ever before.
The Forbes Top 400 list is an insulting list for the millions of Americans who are struggling to get by every day. The United States is already facing a magnitude of problems both at home and abroad. Do we need a constant reminder of the richest people living in the United States? I constantly worry on the future I, and a whole lot of teenagers and young adults, will face once the power shifts with our generation. While protest groups like Occupy Wall Street try to make a change to the system, it still is not enough. That is my major disappointment and I'm sure others would share the same sentiment.
Imagine where our wages go up, commodities decrease in price, higher education is cheaper, health and dental care is provided free, those in poverty are given enough help to escape and the wealth is more even with all of the classes. It is attainable and doable if the federal, state and local government start to become more aggressive in taxing the rich than hurting the poor. As Americans we need to understand that sacrifice is needed for stability and the rich must make the ultimate sacrifice for stability. Hard work doesn't at all play out into this, if it ever did than people forced into labor in Africa would have already become millionaires. What plays out is that everyone is given an equal chance at living a good, meaningful life. Isn't that what life is all about? Where opportunity, happiness and stability fulfill us to our very end?
Of course, the minimum requirement of $1.1 billion to join the list will undoubtedly not shock people and in a few weeks this will be all forgotten. Perhaps in a few years, everyone will forget about this new list and we'll discuss the same old issues with different characters on stage. Overall, the message falls on deaf ears and nothing is accomplished. We might as well get a subscription to Apathy Magazine if that day ever comes.