Monday, April 22, 2024

Inequality

The issue of Inequality—that all humans are created equal and should be treated as such, yet our globe is replete with examples of current and growing inequality at all levels and we often find an attempt by some to maintain that inequality—is a concern we should all share. We should all have the right to autonomy, personal freedom and privacy, and equal opportunity, and in a democracy, we, the people, have an equal say in how our nation is governed. Ensuring that equality requires constant vigilance.

For those of you who can remember the days when the homeless were so few you rarely ran into a panhandling one, please remember the many you now regularly run into. How many of you have seen foreclosure signs on neighbors’ homes? Have you turned onto Beulah from Franconia and seen the townhouse complexes on the right side while driving by the mansions on the left as you head toward Manchester Boulevard? We are a diverse community but not just in racial and ethnic terms, but also in economic, social, and political terms, and in terms of opportunity. Inequality, to some extent, exists among us.

Our nation was conceived under the idea that there were such things as self-evident truths, that there were an unalienable set of rights we all possessed, and that we were all created equal. Today, we have alternate facts, fake truths, people who commit high crimes and go unpunished, and those who commit petty crimes and get the most draconian of penalties imposed. Did you know that in the middle of the housing bubble the real estate under Springfield Mall was refinanced in terms that were better than those the owning real estate company had just defaulted on? How many of your acquaintances with mortgage defaults managed that rabbit out of the hat? If not, why the inequality?

When the financial institutions who created the mortgage fiasco were allegedly teetering, the federal government gave them huge loans to ensure their solvency should the people holding mortgages default. The money that financed those loans was yours and mine, our taxpayer dollars. Did you know that most of those loan-receiving banks simply invested that money and then gave themselves, the creators of the chaos, bonuses based on the large profits their companies made off those investments? Oh, and still no one helped the mortgage holders who then defaulted and left the mortgage companies and banks owning the properties. Why where financial institutions more important to care for than the citizenry? Why the inequality?

What happened to all that returned federal relief funding for small businesses that ended up going to big businesses in record time? Did it then find its way to the needy small businesses? These are the types of issues we would like to keep an eye on, particularly when they reach our streets.

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