Wednesday, August 11, 2004


See this fascinating article--The New Republic Online: False Positive--about the radical increase in financial instability recently. We've been talking the past few years about income inequality (rich get richer while the poor get poorer) and how it seems to be the end goal behind the Bush Admin policies.

But in this article, Jacob S. Hacker says inequality hasn't been the big winner. At least not yet. Instead, while people in the middle class haven't lost a tremendous amount of ground (haven't gained any either) over the years, what they have lost is a sense of security in their ability to maintain their ground. Significant amounts of risk has been shifted from the government and corporations to the individual, and as a result, more people are living closer to the edge than ever before. Not because they don't make enough money, but because the consequences of losing their ability to make money are so much greater.

So why has instability been a target for this administation? Partly its the obvious--corporations hate to gamble, and removing risk makes them more stable. But also, without safety nets, without a government that looks after its people, individual are vulnerable. And vulnerable people can--and will--be taken advantage of.