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Take time to learn about wealth divide

October 31, 2013
By RON BRIGGS , The Leader Herald

Recently at training, I was given a test to see how much I understood the current climate for the average working family. Please be honest with yourself and take the test before you read the answers.

The goal of the test is to raise awareness about the divide in today's society - no, not that one (Republican versus Democrat), the one that really matters, the wealth divide.

I am not speaking about living comfortably; I am speaking of the 1 percent of our nation that is taking in more of the nation's income than at any other time since the 1920s. You know the 1 percent I am speaking about, the ones who own half the country's stocks, bonds and mutual funds. My goal is not to chastise the wealthy; my goal is to educate everyone. If at the end of the test, you say I know all of that and I am OK with the way things are, then go about your daily business. If at the end of the test, you have cause for pause, challenge yourself to work toward a brighter future for everyone.

1) On average, how long does it take a middle- class worker to work, to equal one hour pay for a CEO? 2) What percentage of children lives in poverty in NYS? 3) Since 2011, homelessness in New York state has increased by what percentage? 4) Over the last five years, what was the percentage increase, if any, of New York residents using food stamps? 5) What is the total cost of tax breaks supporting economic development programs? 6) Since 2009, how much money did New York spend on tax breaks for companies that cut jobs, failed to create jobs or didn't promise to create jobs? 7) How much has the net worth of a typical middle-class family changed since 1989? 8) How much has the net worth of a typical 1 percent changed since 1989?

Here are your answers: 1) one month, 2) 25 percent, 3) 10 percent 4) 60 percent, 5) $7 billion a year 6) $182 million 7) minus 21.9 percent, and 8) plus 70.8 percent.

Now you know. Working together, we can change these answers.

RON BRIGGS

President,

CSEA Local 818

 
 

 

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