Sunday, July 10, 2011

Income Gap Holding Back Economy

I heard an interesting story on NPR today about income inequality and its effect on the economy.  (Read it or listen to it here.)

It's the sort of story that makes my blood boil at the injustice and greed of the few, which is just accepted by the many.
...the current CEO of Dean Foods makes 10 times the amount the company's CEO did 30 years ago [he makes $10 million a year], the rest of the employees make on average 9 percent less than they would have in the 1970s, after you adjust for inflation.
So how do the employees feel about executive pay?
"They were resentful of it," says Whoriskey. "But for the most part, they were just trying to figure out how to get by. They honestly said they were just happy to have jobs."
People shouldn't have to be "just happy to have jobs," especially when CEOs are making more money than anyone could hope to spend in a lifetime.  People should have jobs that allow them to provide for their families and be happy.  It makes me even angrier when certain politicians are willing to risk our whole economy to protect the exorbitant earnings of such CEOs.  With that kind of money they can afford to pay a little more in taxes to avoid a government loan default.

When and how did we become so blinded that we started to believe that the greed of these ultra wealthy people is okay?  Here's a reality check for all those who say "This is America. One day I may be that wealthy, and when I am, I don't want to be taxed higher"... You are never going to be that wealthy, and even if you could be, the big question is should you be? My two cents says "no."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

It is impossible to skip Independence Day in Chicago.  Even if you avoid the crowds at the firework display on the Lakefront, you can't avoid the fireworks all around.  The sheer multitude makes you feel as if you've traveled back in time and are sitting with Francis Scott Key listening to a battle in 1814.  I know this is what the girls think is happening.  For years Yaya was terrified of this day.  She thought for sure we would die.  Her fear is still present, but she's gotten somewhat braver...

Indeed, the fireworks begin in the early afternoon.  By 3:00 you begin to hear them seemingly in the distance.  Pop! Boom! Pop!  You can't see them, of course, so it seems like a battle in the distance.  As the evening wears on, the frequency of the Pop! Boom! Boom! Whirrr! increases, but you still can't see anything.  The battle is nearing, but it's not here yet.  Then, the sun sets, the sky turns black, and you can feel the earth shake with fireworks.  The noise comes from every direction -- Pop! Boom! Boom! Whirrr! Boom! Pop!  And for minutes at a time it is continuous.  While a group on one corner sets up for the next round, another group a few blocks away is going full force.  Now you can see the displays, too.  They are indeed impressive and can be seen in every direction, but it is still quite frightening for my children.  They can look for a second, enjoying the color, but quickly fear of the noise takes over, and they seek refuge under the covers of their beds.

"...the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting through air..."  You can experience it all -- unharmed -- in Chicago on the 4th of July.