In the pain, we start turning on each other. Parents revolt as administrators pretend that school closings are progressive reforms. Teachers strike against schools without adequate textbooks or libraries. Banks hound homeowners to collect on subprime loans that were peddled fraudulently by agents who targeted African Americans and Latinos for higher rates. The cities head into a hot summer with more unemployed youth, fewer summer programs, fewer jobs programs, less hope and more dope.
The supposed recovery hasn’t reached the people. The new jobs offer less pay, less security and fewer benefits than the ones that were lost. African-American families lost nearly a third of their wealth between 2007 and 2010. (Hispanic families lost more than 40 percent). A fragile middle class has been devastated. Investors and corporate CEOs clean up. The top 1 percent have captured all of the income growth over the first two years coming out of the recession and then some.
We cannot cut our way to a prosperous economy or a healthy city. We can’t cut our way to good schools, safe streets or affordable health care. We have to find another way.
In Washington, investigations reveal how Apple and other corporations transfer billions abroad to avoid paying taxes. Apple’s CEO says this is all at least arguably legal. What he doesn’t say is that the companies spend millions on lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the rules. We don’t have that power. We must see our way through — and mobilize people to act.