The ratio of CEO income to worker income has never been greater: It now approaches 300-to-1. And it's about to get much worse, courtesy of Donald Trump and his obsequious Congress, which includes the ever-compliant Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Their tax bill was never subjected to hearings; instead, it was rammed through against the advice of the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates it will add upwards of $2 trillion to the national debt. McMorris Rodgers and her fellow Republicans have taken a bad situation and made it much worse by passing a bill designed primarily to appease wealthy donors.
Some say not to worry about inequality — that trickle-down economics will take care of all such problems. Sorry, but even Arthur Laffer, the father of the so-called Laffer Curve, doesn't believe that, having acknowledged that beyond a certain point — reached long ago — more tax cuts just add to inequality while doing nothing for the general health of the country.
"I pledge allegiance to the United States of America and to the plutocracy for which it stands." That would seem the dismal truth of the matter.
As to the impact inequality has on the body politic, surprisingly enough I can do no better than refer to words of one of the original Mormon Apostles, Orson Pratt, who once stated:
"An inequality of property is the root and foundation of innumerable evils; it tends to derision, and to keep asunder the social feelings that should exist among the people of God. It is a principle originated in hell; it is the root of all evils. It is inequality in riches that is a great curse."
The many conservative Mormons who are still lock-step supportive of Trump might want to brush up on their own church's history. Until the death of Brigham Young in 1877, the LDS church was progressively communitarian.
Another surprise: The New Deal was also brought about by a Mormon, Marriner Eccles, for whom the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., is named. John Kenneth Galbraith put it directly: "Marriner Eccles invented the New Deal."
His mother, the polygamous second wife of David Eccles, inherited from her late husband small banks in Utah but had no idea how to run them. She relied on her young son Marriner, who had what amounted to a freshman college education. Seems he had a knack for the business and was doing well until the Depression hit. Unlike today's plutocrats, Eccles felt responsibility towards his banks, his community and his customers. Not one of Eccles' banks failed. He brought to banking the radical idea that what we need is a consumption economy requiring a modicum of equality, fair pay and, sometimes, pump-priming, which could require deficit spending. FDR's staff urged Roosevelt to buy into Eccles ideas, which he eventually did. Thus the New Deal.
The Republicans who voted to institutionalize plutocracy don't believe in priming the pump, they don't believe in responsibility to the public, and for certain they don't believe that there is anything morally wrong or even bothersome about gross inequality. It's perfidy writ large.
As Trump did to Hillary Clinton, they deflect their intentions and agenda through use of the "tbig smear." It's nothing new, as we remember what the paranoid Republicans called the Democrats back in the early 1950s — the K1C2 Party, for "Korea, Communism and Corruption."
(Drat! Once elected, even Ike sold out, as he went to Korea and signed off on the exact armistice deal that Harry Truman had negotiated, much to the dismay of his hard-line supporters.)
Trump's GOP — and it is Trump's GOP now — might be renamed the Three P's party, for "Plutocracy, Perfidy and Paranoia."
Finally, three revealing footnotes:
With an opioid crisis raging in the nation, what does Trump's man Jeff Sessions do? Instead of focusing on this very real problem, he declares war on marijuana farmers. It puts me in mind of what Harry Truman said back 1948 at his Kiel Auditorium campaign speech in St. Louis: "Any farmer who votes Republican needs his head examined." And where is our congresswoman on this matter?
Oh, and mark my words: When the predicted tsunami deficit arrives, the GOP won't deal with it by trying to increase revenue; they will seek further cuts to community and social service programs. Medicaid will be at the top of the list of programs to be cut or, better yet, destroyed. They will try to use their self-inflicted deficits to do to the Affordable Care Act indirectly what they couldn't do directly.
Some congressional Republicans are trying to come to the president's rescue on the Russia investigation. They all have a serious moral question to answer: What's more important, this deeply flawed president, or the Constitution they have pledged to uphold? It should be an easy question to answer, but in the Three P's Party, who knows? ♦