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Nation must focus on choosing priorities

Published: February 4, 2014 4:00 AM

It's the inequality, plain and simple. The haves and the have nots.

Say what you will about Goldman Sachs -- and we do say a lot -- but its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, recently boiled down one of America's most complex problems into a perfectly simple and quotable line. Repeat after Lloyd, folks:

"This country does a great job of creating wealth, but not a great (job) of distributing it."

We, the United States, have never been richer, and our economy is still the largest in the world by a hefty margin. Yet inequality has grown to record levels. Productivity is up, but the majority of households are living with stagnating or even lower household incomes. Chief executives of the nation's largest companies earned an average of $12.3 million last year, more than 350 times the income of the average worker and more than 800 times the income of a full-time, minimum wage worker. The richest 400 Americans own as much wealth as the bottom 150 million Americans. Almost half of the county lives below, at or near the poverty level, and one in six Americans is food insecure -- meaning they don't know where their next meal will come from.

Our America needs a strong middle class, but the mindless sequester cuts threaten the very priorities that help build and sustain it: Childhood nutrition, student aid, job training and housing assistance programs. Treading water by simply avoiding more cuts is not enough -- we must accelerate job creation efforts and prepare our people with 21st Century skills training. We should increase investments in our communities, supporting more good-paying jobs in construction, manufacturing, education, public safety and health care. Those investments will increase spending in local economies, helping our country to grow at its full potential.

We have a choice. We can allow the growing disparity between rich and poor to continue unimpeded, or we can take action to budget responsibly and strengthen and expand the middle class. If we want this economy -- and this country -- to meet its full potential, the choice is simple. Call your elected officials and let them know how you feel.

W. Frank Hairston, Ravenna Township

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redleg6 Feb 4, 2014 4:19 PM

From above: "we must accelerate job creation efforts and prepare our people with 21st Century skills training. We should increase investments in our communities, supporting more good-paying jobs in construction, manufacturing, education, public safety and health care"

The above sounds like Obama talking points.

What happened to all that Stimulus money, and those Shovel Ready Jobs President Obama talked about?

Our poorest Americans are rich compared to the poor of the world.

Most folks in the world don't have a government "Teat" to nurse on.


TaggR Feb 4, 2014 2:12 PM

Braindead followers posting their political propaganda and rhetoric. Is it any wonder they are so unhappy.  They have no thoughts of their own and reality is out of their reach.

little_r_republican Feb 4, 2014 11:36 AM

tggr..the establishment repubs are worse than the demoncrats. the democrats make no bones that they are socialist dictators who will lie, cheat, steal and do whatever it takes to stay in power. And everyone expects the democrats to be evil and despicable. In contrast the establishment repubs pretend to be Constitutional republicans when in fact they are just the wimpy defeated republican branch of the democrat party. So why vote republican when you can have the real thing in voting for a democrat socialist dictatorship. When I saw that democrats were exempt from prosecution for not paying fed taxes....I quickly changed my party back to the democrats. And we all know that as long as reid and obama are in office the IRS will only go after republican or non democrat affliiates. And the democrats have permanent control since 51% of the population is now on the federal dole of some sort or another.

stanback Feb 4, 2014 11:27 AM

amt, If you take off your "R" and throw away your "I Hate Obama glasses", it will be easier for you to see that there is a direct correlation between inequality and poverty. Poverty is at an unprecedented level - well, guess what? Inequality is at an unprecedented level as well and this is not a coincidence. Business hiring freezes are a statement and not a necessity which, in turn, adds to not only the poverty but to the inequality, as well. The economy has rebounded but yet corporations are not hiring at the same pace so where do the additional and, in some cases, record profits go. I can assure you of one thing and that is that the increase in costs in 2014 for Obamacare did not even make a small dent in those profits. I believe that greed was mentioned below. 85 people in our world have as much wealth as half of the entire population of the world. One can make all of the excuses they choose, but this is an extremely dangerous economic level and the United States is not the only country that is starting to put things into place to stop this. Again, I believe that you mentioned greed below and you are on to something but I don't think you know what you are on to.

TaggR Feb 4, 2014 8:57 AM

"And tell them you won't vote for Democrats ever again." 

Here is a taste of reality, don't choke on it:  http://www.recordpub.com/opinion/2014/02/03/pat-buchanan-how-the-republicans-lost-middle-america

little_r_republican Feb 4, 2014 8:01 AM

Keep the feds out of income distributiuon. The war on poverty has excerbated poverty to an unprecendented level.  Nearly 20 trillion dollars spent...for what? it is anti Constitutional for the feds to confiscate the money I have worked hard to earn...and give it to their friends and cronies to buy votes to stay in power. There is at least 20% waste and fraud in the feds spending. $3million for "friendly" yoga instructors? REally?

Recall the solendra bail out? The $600 million to build a web site for obamacare?

jimlighton Feb 4, 2014 7:04 AM

"Spoken like a 'TRUE SOCIALIST'!!!  

amt_ Feb 4, 2014 6:35 AM

This writer's concern should be with poverty, not inequality. Concern about poverty is good. Envy and greed for other people's money is not.

Poverty has accelerated under Obama and the Democrats.

The writer wants "more good-paying jobs in construction"? Obama has refused to approve the Keystone XL pipeline for five years, with no approval in sight.

He chases jobs out of the USA by increasing ruinous taxes and regulations, then says about our own companies "You didn't build that".

Obamacare has frozen business hiring for years, and it will only get worse.

"Call your elected officials and let them know how you feel." Absolutely. And tell them you won't vote for Democrats ever again.