Carry this thought with the George Floyd justice protests: income inequality is the highest in a half-century

george floyd protesters
A confluence of feelings among protesters

The numbers suggest people demand change — regardless of what the stock market says.

People need to connect relevant reasons to protest with their personal lives so they can hit the streets with conviction. In many cases, these reasons combine to drive even more energy into crowds.

In the case of the George Floyd protests, the primary reason is straightforward: the man’s horrifying murder, literally at the knee of Minnesota cop Derek Chauvin.

But we also have protesters who aggregate other data points to shape their commitment.

The long-term oppression of the poor and people of color represent a family of reasons to protest. You can hear these reasons shouted in the streets.

There’s also the current blistering of the American economy, largely attributed to President Donald Trump’s inept handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 108,000 Americans are now dead from the disease. About 40 million are unemployed.

We can also attribute a simmering, decades-long reason for catalyzing people to demand justice: income inequality, measured by the Gini index, has now reached the highest level it has ever been during the past 50 years.

And it’s no surprise that African Americans and other people of color are over-represented at the bottom of the economic ladder.

How’s that for progress in the “Make America Great Again” economy?

American income inequality has been grotesque and constantly rising for decades. The problem didn’t begin with President Donald Trump.

However, this chart clearly shows the President piled on to make society even worse — a “Greater” country for the rich, and at the expense of everyone else, including the poor, White Americans who voted for him.

Corporations also share blame. For example, large businesses could have used Trump’s first round of tax cuts for innovation investments, or other activities that could expand business operations and wage growth.

Instead, the tax cuts were used to reward shareholders with stock buybacks.

Which is why I shake my head when people affiliated with Democrats and Republicans blame their ugly paychecks on each other’s political party, constantly blaming the wrong beautician as inequality becomes uglier, regardless of the President in power.

America has the highest Gini index among all industrialized nations. For years.

Show me a society with high inequality, and I’ll point back to show you a bunch of pissed-off people who demand change. I think some of this anger is also evident in the George Floyd protests.

None of this matters to President Trump, who would rather bulldoze peaceful protestors off church steps so that he can pose with a bible in front of it for cameras.

It’s up to us to make him see more clearly in November …

song currently stuck in my head: “amor verdadeiro (true love)” sivuca

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