Inequality—Connect the Dots…
I am surprised that your special issue "Inequality in America" [July 19/26] skirts the giant elephant in our midst: the obscene piece of the economic pie going to the military. Military spending is not a good way to create jobs or distribute wealth. As Eisenhower said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
The various contributors to this special issue restate the argument The Nation has been making for months now: wealth to the top, loss of jobs, solution is Keynesian stimulation, etc.
One has to admire how Robert Reich manages to describe the past twenty years without stating the obvious: class war is being waged, and both parties have chosen to be on the same side. No, this not a win-win situation where all The Nation‘s contributors need to do is show Washington power brokers that green solutions will benefit their corporate sponsors. No, it is not a question of Obama having hired the wrong economic advisers because he didn’t know Galbraith in Texas would love to serve. Hello! It is not a question of getting the truth out to the people with power.
I’ve been a union carpenter for thirty years. It is a depression out here. The local media say 40 percent of construction workers are unemployed. Of roughly 38,000 union carpenters, only 11,000 qualified for their health benefits last quarter. (You qualify if you worked 250 hours the previous quarter or 1,000 the previous year.) Whatever numbers you believe, and most of us don’t believe the official statistics, a lot of people are hurting. When will you get outside the box that limits political and economic debate to the difference between Keynes and Hayek? And please, forget about trying to persuade the power brokers. This is a war. Why not join the counterattack?
Harry Hangs the Laundry
In response to Katha Pollitt’s "Women on Top?" [July 12], I would argue that having two parents/members of the household working full time spells disaster for the planet. The economic recession—conservation by default—has done more to decrease our carbon emissions than all the resource-consuming alternatives. As Americans, a lot of us pay to work, contributing to credit card debt, stress, bad food choices and climate change. Ecologically speaking, someone needs to stay home, but it shouldn’t have to be the woman—this is where men still need to step up to the plate. Hanging up the laundry and forging a relationship with a local grower, then cooking that food with love and care—these are things that shouldn’t be optional in our country. We should strive for more balance in work and home life for women and men. Better for us—and better for the planet.