I'm not saying this is the best way to deal with the state budget deficits. I'm not saying this is my advice or policy prescription.
But, to put the so-called state budget crises in context with our exploding gap between the mega rich and everyone else, consider this [insert adjective: crazy/humbling/jaw-dropping/outrageous/enlightening] fact:
If you combined the cumulative wealth of the 10 richest people in America -- about $271 billion, give or take the GDP of a small country -- you could pay off all of the state budget deficits projected for next year ($145 billion) and still have an average of $12.6 billion left over for each of the 10 richest Americans.
I don't know about you, but that just turns my stomach.
With the country's economy still so shaky and with so many millions of Americans still out of work; with our federal and state budgets in so much trouble and with the power-hungry Walkers of the world cracking down so hard on teachers and other state employees; and with so few people doing so obscenely well, you do have to ask the question: at what point do these titans have enough and when is it appropriate to demand that they step up and give back to a country that has been so obscenely generous to them?
I'm not enough of an economics expert to know where the right balance is, but you don't have to be an expert to know that something is terribly wrong with America today. You just have to have eyes, an honest brain, and just a tiny bit of moral curiosity to see the dire consequences of allowing such economic disparity between the few who have so much and the many who are losing everything.
The good news is that there is a growing awareness of the growing income and wealth disparity in America. Mother Jones has performed an incredible service in breaking this stark issue down with such compelling graphics.
Here's another point: The American GDP was just under $10.3 trillion large in 2001 when W. was selected. Last year, it was $14.5 trillion. That's an increase of about $4.2 trillion in the last decade = +41%. And yet, here we middle and worker classers are -- struggling, living paycheck to paycheck, barely treading water -- and that's the fortunate ones.
Just where the hell did all that money go? Of course we know the answer -- the mega rich sucked it all up. Over the last decade, the number of billionaires in the world has more than tripled from 322 in 2000 to 1011 in 2010.
It's time for these mega rich to stop hoarding. It's time for them to step up and do what's right for our country in our time of need.