A lot has been written about inequality so far and even Obama has tried to seem like he is addressing this subject. I do believe it goes deeper and affects more people directly and personally than even most writers and pundits have expressed.
After a Texas teen from a wealthy family avoided jail time, many are wondering whether the case has set a precedent for “affluenza,” the affliction a psychologist cited in the trial.
A psychologist testified that 16-year-old Ethan Couch, charged in the deaths of four pedestrians while driving drunk, suffered from the condition in which children — generally from richer families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, and make excuses for poor behavior because parents have not set proper boundaries.
A judge gave the teen 10 years of probation for the fatal accident. Prosecutors were seeking the maximum 20-year prison sentence.
When I first worked in Brazil in the late 1980s, the country was widely described as o pais da impunidade – the land of impunity. What this meant was that there were no political consequences. Politicians, officials and contractors could be exposed for the most flagrant corruption, but they remained in post. The worst that happened was early retirement with a fat pension and the proceeds of their villainy safely stashed offshore. It is beginning to look a bit like that here. This is not to suggest that the people or companies I name in this article are crooked or corrupt; it is to suggest that the political class no longer seems to care about failure.
If you have money, or access to it, you are basically home-free regardless of your actions. But if you do not, you are screwed. It’s that simple. And this even goes if you are cited for jaywalking. A poor person who gets a ticket is basically hosed.
If I take a long trip someplace and I have money in the bank and a stack of credit cards, I generally do not have to worry about much on that trip. But if I only have enough to make the trip, I better be damn careful about how I drive, where I go, where I eat, and whether I get hurt or sick since one little mistake can cost me or even land me in jail.
It’s that simple. I don’t even have to bring up the CEOS or banks or Wall Street or the [in]justice system.
The more money one has, the less the consequences of one’s actions affects you and/or your family, so the less you care about the consequences or your actions.
Drug possession, embezzlement, robbery, rape… even murder can be gotten away with if you have sufficient capital. Wealth equals impunity.
During the reign of terror in France not only did one’s wealth and position NOT keep them from the guillotine, it pretty much guaranteed an appointment with it. A situation the elites did not want to repeated. Then or now.
Which is one reason why the elites LOVE inequality and have no desire to have the situation changed.
But this is the biggest reason why this MUST BE CHANGED. Redistributing wealth is pointless as long as it can still buy privilege and impunity of any kind.
When a mass murderer be he a high level businessman or poor person is just as likely to get hung or gassed. When a banker who is caught with his hand in the till or responsible for a financial collapse is as likely to get thrown in jail for a very long time – as a petty thief.
THEN only THEN will we have equality. And not until.
Image by DonkeyHotey under Creative Commons license