I wholeheartedly support the nationwide protests in response to the murder of George Floyd, but let’s not forget about the overwhelming structural problems within our economic system that have led to the unjust, unacceptable wealth gap in America today—a wealth gap nurtured by President Trump and his “enablers.” I’m not just talking about enablers in his administration, or his usual little band of loyal Republican congressmen and senators. Make no mistake about it, Trump is still supported by a significant portion of the top 1%–the modern-day “Cotton Kingdom”—the real enablers who tolerate all his lies, incompetence, and blatant abuse of power, just as long as he champions and defends their business and financial interests—think the 2017 “middle class” tax cut that was really one more boon for big business and the wealthy.
If everything wrong with American law enforcement got fixed tomorrow—if every rotten-apple cop was fired and every police department was defunded—African Americans and other people of color would still be suffering significant injustice until we tackle our society’s overwhelming structural economic inequality. Although shifting money from militaristic law enforcement and mass incarceration to things like healthcare, education, housing and fixing inner-city infrastructure would be a positive first step, it isn’t nearly enough.
The fish rots from the head, but Trump ain’t even the “real” head!
Problems like poor healthcare impact poor whites as well, all across small town and rural America, the “heartland,” as it is called. Most of these people are Trump voters, no less. Because going back all the way to Reconstruction over 150 years ago, rich folks managed to convince them that black folks were their enemies and competitors, while the business interests that owned the mines, factories and (sharecropped!) farms were their allies. Based on globalization, automation and technology, we have more and more people fighting for what is nothing but the remaining crumbs of a smaller and smaller pie. And the situation is made all the worse by America’s tax code, a multitude of irrational laws that favor business interests and the wealthy. Which isn’t terribly surprising given those same people pay the lobbyists who dominate Washington, DC, just about write a good deal of the legislation that comes out of Congress.
We can all agree that inequality is a terrible problem, but unfortunately, we can’t wave a magic wand and make it disappear. We need to start addressing the root causes of the problem, one by one, slowly creating a new economic structure for our country that better serves us all. More on that, and the terrible injustices of the tax code, including how “private equity” loots and bankrupts companies without any regard for the workers, coming shortly!