January 6, 2014
By Thomas J. Mackell, Jr., Ed.D. President, Association of Benefit Administrators, Inc.
The United States is one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world. Yet, nobody who works 40 hours per week should be in poverty. But what can you expect from a country where the typical American household earned $51,017 in 2012?
This was roughly the same income that the typical American family earned 25 years ago in 1988!
The concept of leaving the ladder down to enable others to climb up is not part of the national dialogue. We live in an era where the mantra is "I got mine, you go get yours." Forget the ladder of opportunity for millions.
Wall Street and corporate CEOs are hell-bent on garnering all of the goodies and sucking the blood out of everyone else. The inequality of wealth in this country has the potential of leaving multi-millions of our citizens in the lurch.
Despite the news that 203,000 jobs were created in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7%, 11 million Americans remain unemployed while another 7.6 million are working part time involuntarily. November was the 43rd month in a row that more unemployed Americans left the workforce discouraged than found jobs.
The late author, James Baldwin, said it well when he stated: "The most dangerous creation of society is the man (or woman) who has nothing to lose."
For unfettered capitalism to continue down a quasi-destructive path is something that should not be acceptable. I don't have all of the answers but I do know that this schism in wealth gathering is not heathy for a society. Too many people will have nothing to lose as it widens.
The inaction on the part of this do- nothing Congress to extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million unemployed Americans is nothing short of selfish fat-cats in Washington who clearly have lost touch with their constituents. This is unconscionable.
The political divide deepens and who knows what next year's Congress will accomplish as they focus on keeping their jobs in the 2014 elections and do nothing to protect or create jobs for all others. What a pathetic bunch!