I was looking at cartoons about income inequality last night and I came upon a number of them that I’d like to share. Click on them to go to the original websites. They all highlight different aspects of the problem. As Estragon said, “Nothing to be done.” That’s the conservative answer to income inequality: nothing can be done, and even if something could be done, we shouldn’t do anything. It is for the best that there be high levels of inequality. Why? Because!
Raise the Minimum Wage?
How could the companies possibly afford to raise the minimum wage? After all, profits are at all time highs! We need to wait until profits go back down, and when companies aren’t sitting on piles of cash. That’s when things will be “normal” and companies can make a good decision about how much they can pay. Of course, then they won’t be able to pay more because profits aren’t high enough and they aren’t sitting on such large piles of cash.
Start at the Top!
If you want to become rich in America, the surest way is to have a rich daddy. Just ask Tagg Romney. But the next surest way is to start at the top with the minimum wage:
The big thing about the way that we think about economics in this country is that it is “natural.” But there is nothing natural about it. Income distribution is 99% determined by our laws. I understand that the rich don’t see that, because it would be very inconvenient to see that. But there is nothing natural about this:
We have an economic system that just so happens to make some people unreasonably rich. No one would look from the outside and say, “That’s the way it should be!” Our economy is like a board game. If you are very good at it, you do well. But if the game were different, you wouldn’t do so well. Is the sorta free market economic system we have the best one? I don’t think so. This is a good example of just how “free” and “meritorious” our system is:
This is my favorite. I hear this coming from liberalish pundits all the time, “We all need to sacrifice!” How does that work exactly. For the poor, an economic downturn means they lose their jobs. In a normal cultural system, in a downturn, people would work more and harder. But in our screwed up system, they aren’t allowed to work at all. Of course the conservatives and “liberal” moderates aren’t sacrificing except that maybe their investments aren’t growing quite as fast as they’d like. “Shared Sacrifice” (which I’ve heard Obama say so much that it sickens me) is just another way of saying, “Screw the poor!”
Let Them Eat Cake
But leave it to Dilbert to put it just right: let them eat cake. Of course, it isn’t the employee who really doesn’t deserve a promotion who is the problem. The problem is the corporate system itself and the way that it enriches the rich beyond all reason. And despite what Milton Friedman used to say, this system is not also making the poor richer. But I’m sure if he were alive, he would just come up with a new apologia for why our unconscionable inequality was good. Regardless, let the rich eat cake:
And really: die. That’s when the rich do their best work.