A news piece on NPR this morning really caught my attention. The news piece said Rolls Royce just had its best year in its 107 year history. U.S. sales were up 17%, European sales were up 30%, and Asian sales were up a mind-boggling 47%. My concern, while keenly aware of the global disparity between the haves and the have nots, is for the rise in U.S. sales.
As our nation struggles with an alarmingly widening gap, especially apparent over the last two decades and predicted to continue unchecked given current polices favoring big business, this report was…surprising. Big business concerns pour huge sums of money into Washington through lobbying efforts. These efforts gain big business a voice with those in a position to impact legislation. Such opportunities are much less available for the not for profit sector with much lesser means to buy face time. Time is money, and big business’s lobbying efforts pay off through favorable policies gained through time spent with legislators.
When I think of U.S. and all conversations economic and political, I think of Genghis Kahn’s divide and conquer strategy which seems to exist in our society as the poor are pitted against the working class, while the ruling class gets richer and stays largely out of the fray yet impacts, or out-right makes the rules the rest of us live by. I think of our Declaration of Independence and our reasons for severing our ties with England and establishing “a government of the people by the people” which has long since ceased to exist as it was intended. I think of social justice being inherent in the foundations upon which our society was built. Our founding fathers didn’t want an elite ruling class that made a career of politics. They wanted and intended for perpetual government of the people, by the people. And I think of George Santayana’s quote,
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
A Rolls Royce starts at $250,000. And sales are up 17 % this year in the United States. Meanwhile, I know many hard-working people, especially many in not-for profit agencies, which got no raise for the last couple of years. Minimum wage has stagnated in New York after being raised to $7.25 per hour as a result of Federal Fair Minimum Wage act of 2007. You’d have to work 34, 382 hours (not including tax) at minimum wage to earn $250.000. That works out to about 16 ½ years.
Written by, Michelle Sicignano, LMSW
Staff Writer, Social Justice Solutions
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