Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and Christmas is right around the corner. It's that time of year when we celebrate with excessive consumption and consumerism and all of the self-loathing that goes with it. It's with that in mind that I came across this set of headlines and stories, almost all juxtaposed one upon the other:Ex-Citigroup boss 'to get $95m'Buyout Firms, Hedge Funds Look to Senate, Bush to Beat Tax Rise'Hidden Costs' Double Price Of Two Wars, Democrats SayMiddle-Class Dream Eludes African American FamiliesWorld’s poorest people being left behind, says report
from that last story:
NEW DELHI: A new global study says that despite much progress in poverty reduction worldwide, a substantial number of the world's poorest people are being left behind.
"Business as usual won't do," says the report entitled, 'The World's Most Deprived: Characteristics and Causes of Extreme Poverty and Hunger' by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). It finds that 162 million of the world's poorest people - the "ultra poor" - survive on less than 50 cents a day. If concentrated in a single nation, they would comprise the world's seventh most populous country.
We constantly hear about the disparity between the very rich and the very poor, but it's absolutely astounding. A CEO gets a "bonus" (that's on top of the obscene salary) when he does a bad
job that's enough money to pay a year's "wages" to over half a million of the world's poorest people? How does one self-justify such excessive largesse?
Then we have the hedge fund firms trying to get out of paying taxes, while the bill for the costs of the wars keeps getting worse as the accounting starts catching up with reality. Why is it the people making all the money off of the labor of the rest of us don't seem to want to help pay for the country and the people that helped make them rich? You'd think they made this money in an isolated bubble.
Let me see if I can summarize: The rich make more money than they know what to do with, the poor become more destitute, the government spends more on wars, and is lobbied by the rich to keep them from paying for it. Did I get that right?
So while these gluttons crowd around the Thanksgiving banquet table sucking all the meat off the bones and dribbling bits of gravy off of their fat greasy fingers into the mouths of the poor, perhaps the one thing we can be thankful for this time of year is that we actually have one thing that they don't...