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Monday, May 20, 2024

Should the 1 percent control more than 40 percent of the wealth?

The wealthy abuse their power

Halfway through my high school career, something became quite apparent.

And no, I'm not talking about my lack of aptitude for math.

We became intelligent enough to notice the patterns in our history textbooks: History is written by the victors. And who are the victors, usually?

Rich men.

And if we're getting technical: rich, white men.

Pretty much ever since the "civilization" of the "New World," rich and white men have effectively ruled North America.

I don't mean to sound like a cynic, or god forbid like a feminist, but that's honestly the way it's been. And yes, I understand that our president is not white, but that is not the point.

Wealth begets wealth; power begets power.

You can't get elected in this country unless you have the money to do so. Campaigning takes quite a bit of time, effort and money.

I get it; I do. A lot goes into campaign management, which is then transformed into an administrative strategy once the politician is in office.

But don't you see?

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Only the wealthy have the political power. The rest of us are left hoping that our representatives make the best choices for us, the people.

And it's not like the secretaries are in charge of big businesses; those who make the most money are the CEOs or presidents of companies. The head honchos make the decisions and then write themselves the biggest checks.

There's something inherently wrong with that, right? Something too "you scratch my back, I'll also scratch my back" about the whole thing.

So while I may not be down in the proverbial trenches with the protesters of Occupy Wall Street, I definitely see their side of things. The way the "1 percent" runs things is unfair to the rest of us.

We are being governed unsustainably. The way America, and capitalism, works is that the person with the most is the winner.

Well, I'm sorry, but you can't have all of the oil and food and money. Life does not work that way, and none of those are renewable resources as it is.

I'm not claiming to be an economist or an expert on anything. But isn't there a time when House seats don't just go to the highest bidder?

Most lobbyists, and the corporations they represent, should start to think about maintaining what business they have instead of gobbling up every resource in sight; we, fellow constituents, are a resource to them, as we hold the voting power.

I'm tired of rich people (usually also white and male) calling all of the shots because they usually get it wrong. The wealth and resource gap in this country is astounding.

I can pretty much say with confidence that if you're reading this, you are a part of Occupy Wall Street's 99 percent whether you like it or not.

Unless you are miraculously a CEO of a very large business; in which case, please hire me.

I can run your Twitter account.

Sami Main is a journalism junior at UF.


We should blame corporatism

The 1 percent controlling a large share of the nation's wealth would not be inherently wrong, but, as of today, the cards are stacked against the rest of us.

In the current economic and political climate, the financial sector lives parasitically off the success and labor of others.

Good businessmen and innovators should not be lambasted for the rigged operations of the bankers, stockbrokers, regulators and politicians.

Since the end of World War II, America's economy has been a mixed economy, meaning some industries are heavily regulated, like the financial sector, while others, like the technology sector, remain unregulated for the most part.

In the streets of American cities around the country, protesters chant angrily about banks and insurance companies. They claim more government and redistribution of the wealth will solve unemployment problems and debt crises.

How can they claim more government is the solution to fight corporate interests when the government created the problem? Is socialism really the answer?

Yet ironically, videos and images can be seen of them using MacBooks and wearing T-shirts produced by a market which they denounce as evil.

The passing of Steve Jobs garnered a moment of silence in the permanent park residents - a man who built a company manufacturing products that made people's lives more enjoyable.

The real problem is not the 1 percent controlling the wealth; it is corporatism.

It is defined by Merriam-Webster as, "The organization of a society into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and exercising control over persons and activities within their jurisdiction."

The lines between politicians and corporations are blurred.

If it were a Venn diagram, it would be one circle. All they do is swap jobs.

Last year, General Electric Co. paid no income taxes. In fact, the government gave it money. CEO of GE, Jeffrey R. Immelt, serves on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Coincidentally, the Reserve gave GE a good ole bailout because the largest conglomerate in the world "really" needed it.

Immelt also serves on Obama's job council.

Henry Paulson, who served as CEO of Goldman Sachs, was President Bush's Secretary of the Treasury during the bailouts in 2008.

The list goes on and on.

For all of the government road blocks to gain control, some industries have thrived in spite of their efforts.

Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Walt Disney and Larry Page are all great examples of business ventures who created innovative, imaginative industries, all of which made our lives exponentially better.

Think of a life without the magic of Google.

Capitalism is all about fulfilling the desires of others by following one's own self-interest.

Is it morally wrong for someone to give you a cookie for a dollar? Are you stealing? Are you forcing anyone to take your cookie?

Entrepreneurs bring wealth to communities by supplying commodities that people desire to satisfy his or her simple pleasures.

Nicholas Butler is a journalism sophomore at UF.

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