POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

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(Political Notebook)

From the Democrats of Hemet – San Jacinto

Money.

Money is defined by Merriam-Webster as “something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment.” There are many slang terms that are often used to mean money such as bread, dough green loot, scratch. The topic of money is mentioned in the Bible over 800 times if gold, silver, wealth, riches, inheritance, debt, and poverty are included.  The Book of Matthew says it is difficult for a person of wealth to get into heaven.

Prior to “money” our ancient ancestors used bartering to trade goods and services such as exchanging food for weapons. Money has been around for about 3,000 years. Use of tokens is believed to have originated in China. About 2,500 years ago the first official currency is attributed to Lydia’s King Alyattes. Today we have “virtual” money transferring value electronically. The use of physical money, bills and coins, is steadily declining, but it is hard to imagine physical money going away altogether. How would you transfer money to a beggar on the corner or give a little spending money to your young grandchildren electronically?

Money is used not only to buy physical items but is often used to buy services. It is also used to “buy” influence. Wealthy individuals (those who have accumulated a lot of money) sometimes use their money to gain influence in our political elections. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, have contributed large amounts to Republican causes. Tom Steyer and George Soros have contributed large amounts to Democrat causes. How politicians raise money for their campaigns has become a topic in the Democratic debates. Do donors give to campaigns because they believe in the principles espoused by the candidates or do they give to try to gain influence?

The distribution of money or wealth has been a hot political topic since Reagan significantly cut taxes. A large shift in wealth to the upper one percent has taken place over the past few decades. The Investipedia website states “In the years since the Great Recession, the bottom 90% saw annual wage growth of just 5.4%; by contrast, the wages of the top 0.1% grew 29.8%. Specifically, the top 1 percent of Americans have 40 percent of the income, and the top 20 percent have 90 percent of the income.

Society suffers, and America suffers when income inequality exists. It has a domino effect and creates injustices in areas such as education, innovation and health, making its growth even more serious. For example from 1870 to 1977, income inequality drastically dropped by 40%. At the same time, there was a rise in the number of applications for patents while productivity and income also increased. The bottom line is this: when income inequality fell, innovation rose. Empirical evidence indicates that income inequality has a negative effect on economic growth in rich economies. If you are not in that top percentage of income wealth you should strongly consider voting for a candidate who is committed to reducing income inequality. Both you and America will be better off.

Dick Gale
President of the Democrats of Hemet – San Jacinto

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