Let’s Hear It for Class Warfare!
In your June 30 special issue, “The New Inequality,” you showed a bar graph of the relative annual compensations of the top five “earners” in each of five groups (military leaders, Congress members, university presidents, CEOs and hedge-fund managers). The hedge-fund managers bar is more understandable and even more shocking if their $12,600,000,000 figure is measured (on the same scale) in these ways: if printed to its full height, it would travel up through eighteen and a half pages of The Nation, or would stand sixteen feet, eight and two-thirds inches or 5.097 meters tall. I think that amounts to the biggest bank robbery in history.
JOHN J. MURPHY
The Nation appears only to hope for curbing capitalism’s excesses. We will win battles and lose the war as long as we believe that reform of this economic system is possible. Capitalism’s concessions to women, blacks and workers came at a time when America was in its ascendancy. But it took a depression, war and a US-dominated world economy to squeeze those compromises from the ruling class. Now we are in a wholly different period. The Soviet Union is gone, leaving capitalism in control. China and India are creating competition like we have never seen. The wealthy are loath to give one inch, much less go back to a time when there was a gesture at economic equality. Fighting for reform is absolutely necessary. But it must lead to the socialization of wealth and production for human needs.
WARREN DUZAK and EDWARD MORRIS
The Harpeth Institute for Social Policy
Reform and Resilience
Ari Berman’s “John McCain’s Voodoo Reformism” [July 14] unfairly attacks a reputable think tank using a rehash of discredited accusations and erroneous conclusions. The Reform Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy organization that advances a bipartisan, solutions-based agenda to restore Americans’ faith in government. The institute is not, as Berman suggests, affiliated with John McCain’s presidential campaign.
The institute enjoyed the support of Senator McCain as it played a key role in advocating for landmark campaign finance reform legislation in 2002. With then-Senator Bob Kerrey, he was honorary co-chair of the institute’s advisory committee.
The modestly funded institute receives contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Its diversity of funding reflects the institute’s ability to attract support from across the political spectrum. It goes beyond what is required of a 501(c)(3) by disclosing donors on its website.