Income Chasm Widens Here

This is one great column. I think every US citizen should understand the GINI index. The CBO Report has implications far beyond San Diego and these factors support the message of "Occupy Wall Street" even more.... 1) One has to compare income inequality and public (governmental) support for social and economic justice around the world. In these comparisons San Diego, California and the USA have an astonishing and tragic deficit. According to the CIA sample Gini indices are: Sweden 0.23, Canada 0.32, UK 0.34, Japan 0.38, China 0.413, Russia 0.42, USA total 0.45, Mexico 0.482. It is not an overstatement to say income/social structure in our whole country is on full tilt and we have become a "banana republic." These observations are reenforced by a recent analysis based on OECD Gini figures (which are about 0.5 points lower for each country) published in as "Social Justice in the OECD: How do the Member States Compare?" published in 2011 by Bertelsmann Foundation (available on the web)with many comparisons to counties around the world including the USA. In income inequality we are well behind many countries around the world that we look on with disdain. 2) The current government fiscal and tax policies which support the income of the top earners are in fact new since 1980 and before that since World War II they had a broad leveling impact.It seems to me that the current disaffection of America with government and its agency (which can ultimately create remedies for our country)has its origin in a the playbook of deregulation promoted by the very 1% who profit from these policies and brought on the great collapse of 2008. 3)I would refer you to a recent best seller around the world: "The Spirit Level" written by Wilkerson and Pickett, two English medical epidemiologists, that demonstrates that in developed countries many parameters of social morbidity from alcoholism to teenage pregnancies to obesity to math skills and literacy to longevity to homicides to life expectancy are highly correlated not with a country's wealth (i.e. income per capita) but to the equality of its income distribution (Gini index.) Yes, with OWS and the Tea Party these are tumultuous domestic times. They reflect the underlying public failures best represented by our horrible Gini index.The economic contraction of 2008 has not been handled well by public policy under our current politicians. Both political parties seem to be in the hands of the 1%. I would hope you would take the time to look at these powerful references and write a future column about this huge problem at the heart of America's achieving its ideals.
— October 30, 2011 11:26 a.m.

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