Let’s call it what it is!
What would you call an action perpetuated by one group of people on another group of people that resulted in the deaths of almost 900,000 people? What would you say if you knew that this action was almost exclusively one sided, with one side baring almost all of the casualties while the other side profits enormously?
Would you be inclined to call such an atrocity among the most violent and bloody acts of warfare in the annals of history?
Kondo, et al (graph at left), published in the British Medical Journal, using the Gini Coefficient, an established measure of inequality, concluded that this is exactly what is happening in the United States. They describe a heinous crime of unspeakable proportions expressly and conspicuously ignored by the corporate media. The Gini Coefficient is a measure of economic inequalitythe higher the number, the more unequal the society. The researchers used the Gini Coefficient to analyze the mortality rates between the United States and more equal nations like Denmark and against the average Gini Coefficient. According to their analysis, almost nine hundred thousand more Americans die every year than would have died had the United States comparable levels of inequality with other industrialized nations.
This mortality breaks down to class inequality. Those Americans with the highest income tend to live longer than those with the lowest income. Low income Americans are more likely to live in close proximity to pollutants, unsafe and unclean housing, crowded conditions. They are more likely to participate in unsafe and unhealthy jobs, killing around fifty thousand working Americans every year due to occupational injuries and related illnesses. Low income Americans are also more likely to have less access to health care and the most up to date methods of medical treatment, causing the deaths of around forty-five thousand. Low income Americans are less likely to use preventive health services, including pre-natal health care. Those at the bottom of the income ladder are also lacking in pertinent educational resources conducive to longer life and are, therefore, more likely to practice unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle choices.
Central to this discrepancy in mortality, however, is the how income inequality kills babies. Infant mortality rates in unequal societies is higher than in more equal societies, for many of the same reasons outlined above. The United States, arguably the wealthiest nation in history, leads the industrialized world in dead babies.
One out of every three deaths in the United States can be attributed to the fact that huge concentrations of wealth are in the vaults of the top 1% of households. In fact, according the Paul Krugman, we can break that top 1% down into the top 1/10%. That top 1/10-1% is doing fabulously well. There is not recession for the economic elite. They have the best of everything, including the prospects for a long and healthy life, and the probability that their children will survive into adulthood.
In essence, the top echelons of society are literally enriching themselves at the expense of the very lives of those at the bottom. This is intentional, not merely a contingency of social organization. The economic elite actively promote, pressure and coerce our representatives into exacting policies that benefit them at the expense of the lower classes. In some cases, the elite literally write the very legislation that they lobby our so-called representatives to pass. Any effort to promote the general welfare by legislating for clean environments, adequate housing, universal health care, better education, healthier and safer work conditions, a living wage, union representation, jobs programs, maternity/paternity leave, or any of a vast number of rights and privileges enjoyed by working people throughout the industrialized world is derailed by corporate lap dogs in our state and federal legislatures.
Meanwhile, poor and working people are expected to tighten their belts by the very elite that are prospering like never before. Those who are literally losing their lives as a consequence of economic inequality are being asked by the benefactors of this de facto purge to make due with less. After all, times are tough. People can’t expect to have the same quality schools and health care and housing and jobs during an economic recession
unless they’re among the economic elite, that is. They simply have to make due with less. We can’t afford the largesse that the poor and working class have grown accustomed to over the years. Never mind the fact that this system is literally killing hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Any suggestion that maybe the wealthy could make due with a little less is scorned by an aghast corporate class. What? We should be bribing encouraging the job creators to produce more jobs, not tax them more. When it’s pointed out that the so called job creators are deriving unprecedented profit from the lowest tax rates in generations but are still not creating jobs the response is, ‘well, obviously taxes are just too high.’ They lobby against even the slightest effort to increase revenue at their expense while proselytizing the virtues of austerityausterity that they, themselves, refuse to accept.
The calculus is simple. If the wealth are asked to give a little more, they remain fabulously wealthy and will be forced to do without
nothing. The poor, however, will die.
They know this, because they are aware of the research, that austerity policies literally kill people of the lower class. They don’t care. If the corporate elite have to create a pile of bodies to further stuff their already bloated accounts, they do not hesitate. What’s the value of a human life if that human life happens to be poor anyway. The poor and the working class are disposable, barely even human in the eyes of the corporate class. So these people actively engage in ensuring and enforcing austerity that literally kills the poor and working class while enriching themselves.
Explain how this complicity in death can be anything other than warfare? Make no mistake. The class war is very real. It is a war with identifiable casualties and deaths, including countless babies. This war is promulgated by one class against another without consequence…so far.
The greatest weapon that the elite class has against us is ignorance. Even the slightest suggestion that the US is among the worst exemplars of class warfare in the Western World is derided as engaging in “class warfare,” by the punditocracy that serves the corporate elite. Of course it is. It also happens to be true. This war has been going on for generations. It’s time for those of us who are losing to fight back. The first step is to recognize it and identify it for what it is
cold blooded, premeditated, violent warfare.