As we move into 2014, we the people have some critical challenges. The success of our efforts will depend on total commitment from every element of our society, not just the “radical right” or the “radical left.” We can’t be complaisant, and allow ourselves to be governed by wealthy corporations. Every one of us needs to be fairly represented.
Here are some major matters that require our attention:
The middle class continues to decline with median family income some $5,000 less than it was in 1999. More Americans, 46.5 million, are now living in poverty than at any time in our nation’s history.
Real unemployment is not 7 percent. If one includes those who have given up looking for work and those who want full-time work but are employed part-time, real unemployment is 13.2 percent.
Millions of college students are leaving school deeply in debt, while many others have given up on their dream of a higher education because of the cost.
Meanwhile, as tens of millions of Americans struggle to survive economically, the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well and corporate profits are at an all-time high. In fact, wealth and income inequality today is greater than at any time since just before the Great Depression. One family, the Walton family with its Walmart fortune, now owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans. In recent years, 95 percent of all new income has gone to the top 1 percent.
The scientific community has been very clear: Global warming is real. It is already causing massive problems and, if we don’t significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the planet we leave to our kids and grandchildren will be less and less habitable.
Let’s vow to work together this year, and really make things better.