Opinion: The rich get richer, and the rest of us get screwed

Opinion: College for dummies

Opinion: College for dummies

Robert Thomas Young

Robert Thomas Young

Robert Thomas Young is a senior philosophy and psychology major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

The political buzzword of the month is class warfare. If it’s true that a war between the classes is happening, I wonder who is winning.

Class warfare seems to be strong language lately from dozens of republicans, when nearly all of the bills put forth in the last two years have stripped social programs for the poor while extending tax cuts for the rich.

But, let’s go with their notion that there is an economic civil war in America. I find it absurd that this is the term that republicans have chosen to argue their case against making wealthy people pay a little more back into the system that has allowed them to prosper so much.

So, if the classes are at war, then we should look at how things stack up. In 2002, one year after the terror attacks on 9/11, corporate profits totaled $765 billion. This number more than doubled in eight years, totaling $1.8 trillion last year.

How patriotic is it that the assets of the middle class are dissolving at the same time that corporations are flourishing? It doesn’t seem fair that poor and average Americans are making life-changing sacrifices, whereas, wealthy Americans and corporations are making out like bandits.

State and local governments are facing mounting debts and possible bankruptcies, while those at the top of the economic spectrum reap levels of wealth rarely seen in history. At what point does the economic freedom of one person encroach on another?

From June, 2009, to December, 2010, wages and salaries accounted for one percent of economic growth. During the same 18-month period, corporate profits accounted for 88 percent of economic growth. Corporations experienced 88 times more growth than wage earners! This entire stimulus favored big business and the wealthy.

Corporations are having record profits again this year, as the majority of the country is forced to make sacrifices. We are experiencing high unemployment, cutbacks in education and layoffs at police and fire departments.

Most Americans are feeling the economic pinch that is the continued distribution of capital to the super wealthy, or what I would consider actual class warfare.

We see it right here at Kent State. Tuition and special fees have been steadily increasing. Classes are maxed out, making it more difficult to get personal attention from the professors (and sometimes, even a desk).

Students, teachers and entire departments are being asked to make constant sacrifices, yet President Lefton’s salary and bonuses continue to increase. Why isn’t he expected to make sacrifices with the rest of us? It seems like there is a different standard for the wealthy.

How is it justified to have a hiring freeze while increasing Lefton’s salary by dollar amounts greater than that of some professors’ entire annual salaries?

I’m going into more debt to pay increasing tuition, while the overall experience for which I’m paying is declining; and Lefton continues to get more money in bonuses than most of the students who graduate from KSU will ever make in a year. How’s that for class warfare?