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The CEO of a very successful hip hop record label just finished building himself the biggest house in South Florida. His name is Ronald Slim Williams and he’s worth an estimated 300 million. I read an article where he talks about his success and at the end of that article he says hard work does pay off and if people are willing to work hard they can have the same kind of wealth and success he has. I understand the need to inspire people, especially young African-Americans, but I take issue with the idea that his wealth (and anyone else at his level) is a result of hard work. The super wealthy are always dangling this proverbial carrot in front of the less fortunate even though they know it’s a lie. That kind of wealth has absolutely nothing to do with hard work. More than anything it’s a result of pure luck, being in the right place at the right time, or being born into a family with wealth. I’m sure he works hard and he seems to have a very good mind for business and I know he’s very well versed in the workings of the music industry. All of that is a talent and I recognize that, so I’m not saying this to take anything away from him. All I’m saying is there are a million other people with those same talents who has worked just as hard but all of that didn’t produce hundreds of millions of dollars for them.
The chances of someone becoming that wealthy is 1 in a billion. Less than 1% of this country holds this kind of wealth and over the last two decades the super wealthy have actively pushed legislation that makes sure no one else has opportunities to build wealth, and are currently blocking avenues for the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. I’m not saying that Slim is doing this but I look at it like this, if someone with his power, influence, and political access stays silent while benefiting from the system that creates wealth inequality, they are just as responsible as the people who are marshaling their resources to rig the system in their favor (Koch Brothers, Art Pope, Sheldon Adelson etc are money hoarding pros).
Here’s something that a lot of people don’t understand. For every person who’s worth 9 figures and up (100,000,000+), they aren’t doing anything with their money. 99% of what they spend is money from tax breaks, capital investments, and bank interest. They don’t have to touch a dime of their money because that’s the way the system they created works. Essentially they are hoarders of wealth. It sits in a bank making them richer with interest. Our financial system creates a finite amount of money. In order for mega millionaires and billionaires to exist, there has to be extreme poverty. Children have to starve. Families have to be homeless. To put it in simpler terms lets say I created my own world and named it “Socurb”. In Socurb I print out 100 dollars and that’s all the money in my fictitious world. Socurb has a population of 11 people (including myself). I can distribute that 100 dollars anyway I’d like. So let’s say I decide to keep 99 dollars for myself and let the other 10 inhabitants divide the rest among themselves.
As long I sit on my 99 dollars no one else has an opportunity to get anywhere close to my kind of wealth, and in order for me to keep my wealth I know some of the inhabitants will starve, some will decide to use force or violence to steal money from other inhabitants, and every other negative outcome that poverty produces will occur. My wealth will protect me because I can afford security and my house will be very far away from the poor people. So any crimes committed will most likely be poor people stealing from other poor people. If I see all of this going on as a result of my wealth hording and continue to hoard my wealth, what kind of person does that make me?
I believe we should look at wealth inequality as a moral issue because that’s exactly what it is. It’s completely amoral for anyone to aspire to be a billionaire. Every single person who obtains great wealth and parks it in a bank or somewhere offshore is without question amoral and is personally responsible for every child who goes to bed hungry every night, for every homeless person they pass on the street, for every death that occurs as a result of a treatable disease, every inner-city neighborhood where crime flourishes and hopelessness abounds, for every dehumanizing hoop we make the poor jump through to receive any kind of assistance. That is the cost of their wealth. So this blog is not about envy. I do not envy billionaires and I have no interest in obtaining that kind of wealth. I could not enjoy the perks of that lifestyle knowing that my money is drenched in blood. I couldn’t live with that on my conscience. Of course I’d love to be rich and I’m not knocking rich people at all. There’s a huge difference between rich and wealthy. 7 or 8 figures is rich and is a sign of a healthy meritorious financial system. Those who are creating new technology, or finding cures for disease deserve a bigger piece of the financial pie. But when a system creates consolidated wealth and distributes it to a few, that is the sign of a very unhealthy system. The larger that gap grows, the more instability and restlessness you’ll see among the 99%.
Proud supporter of Kay Hagan for North Carolina Senate. She represents the constituents of North Carolina with integrity and I believe she has earned another term in office.
North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and the republican legislature are not interested in winning your vote.
The republican majority in North Carolina’s legislature gained a huge victory this week when the US Supreme Court stayed the Fourth Circuit court order reinstating two voter restrictions that will effect the coming election in November. The first gets rid of same day voter registration, and second gets rid of a rule that will count an eligible voters vote even if they cast that vote at the wrong precinct. Both of these decisions can be overturned before the presidential election in 2016 but they will be in effect for the coming election in November (2014).
In 2008 Barack Obama won the state of North Carolina and that victory helped him win the white house. The success of North Carolina’s Obama for president coalition in 2008 caught the state’s republicans off guard. Obama’s coalition was something southern politics had never seen before and something no one thought was possible. That coalition included black people, white people, Latino’s, college kids, independents, first time voters, women from 18 to 80, just a huge array from all different backgrounds working together for a common cause, and working hard to elect a president they believed in. This coalition shouldn’t have caught republicans off guard if they were paying attention to NC’s changing demographics. For every presidential election that preceded 2008, republicans won by tailoring their campaigns to address the issues of one demographic; white men. Convincing the state’s white men to vote for them was all they needed to win. So all of the issues that were important to every other demographic were ignored. Especially issues of concern to minorities and women. Marginalizing those two groups left the door wide open for a candidate with a message of hope and change. President Obama spoke to their concerns and made them feel like their issues were important to him. It was just that simple. Listen to the people, address their concerns, and show them a way government can help equalize opportunity so more than one demographic group can succeed. The election happened and of course Barack Obama won. After the election North Carolina’s GOP was floored at the results. Even though they won the white male demographic by a landslide, they still lost.
Following 2008 NC’s GOP had two choices if they were going to remain competitive in future elections. They could listen and address the concerns of minority and women voters, or they could use their legislative majority to gerrymander districts, tweak and change voting rules, and add new restrictions on registering new voters. Their choice tells us something very important about who they are and what they believe. They love freedom, they proudly support each American’s right to vote, and they are huge fans of democracy… until freedom, voting, and democracy doesn’t work in their favor. Since none of that worked in their favor, North Carolina’s republican led legislature began passing unprecedented sweeping changes that altered the way North Carolinian’s exercises their constitutional right to vote. We know these changes are designed specifically to lower democratic voter turnout and stifle any minority influence within the legislature because the proof is in the results that the laws give us.
If you ask governor Pat McCrory why these changes are being made he will lie and say these restrictions are needed to protect the integrity of the vote, and to cut down on voter fraud. We know that is a lie because voter fraud is almost nonexistent in NC. North Carolina hasn’t prosecuted one single case of voter fraud in the last 30 years. We can prove the real motive behind this by looking at the specific changes they made. Minority voters have a tradition called “souls to the polls” where church congregations load up in a bus after Sunday church service and go to vote as a group. So NC’s GOP decided to get rid of Sunday voting. Minorities are a lot less likely to have two forms of id. So NC’s GOP created a new voting rule requiring two forms of id to vote. In districts with a large percentage of democratic voters, NC’s GOP made sure they have less resources to accommodate the large number of voters. 70% of NC’s minorities took advantage of the state’s early voting in 2008. So NC’s GOP cut the number of early voting days. In the 2008 election blacks accounted for 42% of those who utilized the same day registration rule. So NC’s GOP got rid of same day registration. I could go on and on with statistics just like these that all hurt democratic candidates and unfairly target minorities. Every republican legislator who denies that these laws are designed to suppress the vote are insulting the intelligence of the American public. It’s impossible to put these restrictions and laws in place without knowing who they will negatively impact. I wish they would just be honest about their intentions because even though I think it’s a vile despicable slimy way to hold power, I’d at least respect their honesty and feel like they respected me enough to tell me the truth.
The good news in this sad state-of-affairs we call NC politics is, the Reverend Dr. William Barber and the Moral Monday movement. They are on the front lines fighting to get rid of these unconstitutional un-American, unfair, voter suppression laws. The movement has grown to include 80,000 North Carolinian’s from all walks of life. Governor McCrory and NC’s republican legislators should be very afraid of Dr Barber and his movement. Just like the Obama coalition from 2008, the Moral Monday movement is diverse, organized, and motivated. If you look at some of the protests you’ll see white, black, republicans, gay, straight, Christian, men and women. Some of these activist even voted for McCrory, but they see these voting laws for what they really are, and they refuse to sit in silence just because they are republican. When you have truth and justice on your side, you will be victorious in the end. The harder the opposition defends these unconstitutional laws, the larger the Moral Monday movement will grow. That will eventually lead to a democratic majority in North Carolina’s legislature, and a democrat in North Carolina’s governors mansion.
Just when you thought they couldn’t sink any lower they pull one of the sleaziest vote tampering tricks in the book. If you thought Kevin Spacey’s character on House of Cards was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. The billionaire Koch brother’s political organization that helps republicans get elected, created a mailer with incorrect voter registration information and sent out thousands of them to North Carolina voters. Anyone who gets this in the mail and fills it out thinking they are registering to vote will be in for a rude awakening when they show up to the polls to cast their vote in November because their registration will not be processed due to the dirty trick the Koch brothers mailer played on them. And even though they can prove they thought they were registering when they filled out the mailer, NC’s new voting laws says they are still ineligible to cast their vote. This is how desperate the state’s republican party has become. They are willing to do anything, even shred our country’s constitution to hold on to power at any cost. Zero integrity, zero honesty, extremely poor character. I have no idea how Novembers election will turn out, but I know for a fact that the communities they are trying to stop from casting their vote, will show up in record numbers to let them know that this state can not be bought by billionaires with no morals, or won by dirty tricks created to elect republicans like Tom Tillis.
NC Republican admits they are trying to suppress the vote of minorities.