Ride or die.
Support The Bulwark.
  Join Now

Income Injustice

The problem isn't creeping socialism. It's creeping oligarchy.
July 22, 2020
Featured Image
A person rides past the Capitol building as negotiations on a COVID-19 economic bailout continue on Capitol Hill March 24, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

When Democrats rail against income inequality, that doesn’t mean they believe all incomes should be equal, in spite of what Trump and some Republicans want you to think. No Democrat—not Nancy Pelosi, not AOC, not any of them—believes that. What they are talking about is income injustice.

They’re talking about:

  • Wage growth for workers at the bottom of the income ladder growing 1 percent in the last 40 years, while income for the top earners rose by 347 percent.
  • The 40 percent of Americans today who could not handle a $400 emergency.
  • The 1-in-6 Americans who experience food insecurity daily—which amounts to 49 million of our fellow citizens, including over 16 million kids.

All while Trump and his Senate enablers give a $ 1 trillion to the richest Americans in a tax cut; while Trump bails out a private jet company owned by one of his donors to the tune of $27 million; while the deficit reaches the highest percent of GDP since World War II; while Trump charges the American people hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold events at his private properties.

None of this represents a free market. None of this has anything to do with the American values of innovation, hard work, and competition. It is simply a transfer of wealth: from the poor and middle-class to the rich. And the transfer happened not because the rich worked harder or created more value, but because they had more money to give to lobbyists and politicians.

Every time a corporation gets bailed out with American tax dollars and uses it for stock buybacks or corporate bonuses, we are watching the market become less free, and capitalism continue its slide into oligarchy.

The American Dream is about opportunity. It’s about making a fair wage that pays for food and medicine for your family, or having fair access to loans to create your own small business or sustain your family’s farm. The American Dream is a baseline of opportunity for all of us to have a shot to work hard and create a life for themselves and their families—which turns us into taxpayers and consumers, who in turn contribute to and benefit from our wonderful system of capitalism.

It’s time to admit that the past 40 years has seen the system increasingly rigged and corrupted under both Republican and Democratic leadership. We can all agree on that, whether you’re a libertarian, a Bernie Bro, or a proud worker hoping to MAGA—whether you’re part of the white working class or a person of color struggling to get fair access to a loan or basic healthcare, whether you’re a suburban liberal or a country-club Republican.

But it’s time to cut through the noise designed to distract and confuse you. There are no socialists in the 2020 election. Only people who want a fair version of capitalism, and oligarchs.

Gregg Hurwitz

Gregg Hurwitz is the New York Times #1 internationally bestselling author of 21 thrillers including the ORPHAN X series. His novels have won numerous literary awards and have been published in 32 languages. Additionally, he’s written screenplays and television scripts for many of the major studios and networks, comics for DC and Marvel, and political and culture pieces for the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and others. Gregg lives with his two Rhodesian ridgebacks in Los Angeles, where he continues to play soccer, frequently injuring himself.