Saturday, November 05, 2011


A decade ago I started thinking that OSF in Peoria had lost its way.

I thought that money had become more important to the hospital than patients.

I was afraid that they would let my Haitian patients die, and they have. And I thought that the ambulance monopoly in Peoria served the high end CEO's, not the people of central Illinois.

Leslie Moore of Metamora, Illinois wrote this in the Forum of the Peoria Journal Star on November 5, 2011:

"Early criticism of the corporate business structure have been offered by prominent persons this way: Peorian Robert Ingersoll said, "Every man is dishonest who lives upon the labor of others, no matter if he occupies a throne." "

Today's New York Times columnist David Krugman writes on the difference between those who have and those who don't in our society. Krugman feels that this difference is very dangerous to our society.

Please see the following few paragraphs from Krugman:

The budget office report tells us that essentially all of the upward redistribution of income away from the bottom 80 percent has gone to the highest-income 1 percent of Americans. That is, the protesters who portray themselves as representing the interests of the 99 percent have it basically right, and the pundits solemnly assuring them that it’s really about education, not the gains of a small elite, have it completely wrong.

If anything, the protesters are setting the cutoff too low. The recent budget office report doesn’t look inside the top 1 percent, but an earlier report, which only went up to 2005, found that almost two-thirds of the rising share of the top percentile in income actually went to the top 0.1 percent — the richest thousandth of Americans, who saw their real incomes rise more than 400 percent over the period from 1979 to 2005.

Who’s in that top 0.1 percent? Are they heroic entrepreneurs creating jobs? No, for the most part, they’re corporate executives. Recent research shows that around 60 percent of the top 0.1 percent either are executives in nonfinancial companies or make their money in finance, i.e., Wall Street broadly defined. Add in lawyers and people in real estate, and we’re talking about more than 70 percent of the lucky one-thousandth.

But why does this growing concentration of income and wealth in a few hands matter? Part of the answer is that rising inequality has meant a nation in which most families don’t share fully in economic growth. Another part of the answer is that once you realize just how much richer the rich have become, the argument that higher taxes on high incomes should be part of any long-run budget deal becomes a lot more compelling.

The larger answer, however, is that extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy. Can anyone seriously deny that our political system is being warped by the influence of big money, and that the warping is getting worse as the wealth of a few grows ever larger?

Some pundits are still trying to dismiss concerns about rising inequality as somehow foolish. But the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake.

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