Last week, this income inequality report failed to get the attention of our mainstream media. In a nutshell, the gap between rich and poor widened again – this time reaching record levels unseen in almost a century. Top wage earners - the so-called 1% - raked in 19.3% of all household income during 2012, surpassing the previous all-time record of 18.7% last set in 1927. The remaining 99% earned a mere 1%. Why is this report so damning – and shocking? History has shown: Income inequality drives Depressions and Recessions and brings massive social unrest. Not a word on the evening news, but we see it everyday in our communities.
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me mowin’ all of the time.
For some reason, everyone in my neighborhood prefers to relax on Sunday and mow the lawn on Monday. For obvious reasons, I prefer to mow my lawn with the sprinkler system running – no explanation necessary. Why every Monday but not Tuesday, you ask? Bizarre, I have to admit. Perhaps it just turns out that way.
Good lawnmowers make good neighbors. We keep up appearances and keep peace in the neighborhood. Witness this daily exchange every time neighbors meet at the mailbox:
“Good afternoon, Mr. Briggs. How are you today?”
“Mighty fine, Mr. Stratton. And yourself?”Although everyone in my neighborhood mows the lawn on Monday, not everyone mows in quite the same way. Here is the odd part: Some of us aim our lawnmowers in straight parallel lines, while others tend to meander, zigzag, or form contour circles around their homes. Why should Euclid matter as long as the grass is cut! Folks of different strokes, notwithstanding, good lawnmowers make good neighbors. We keep up appearances and keep peace in the neighborhood.
Until a strange thing happened! Suddenly Lampposts, Manhole Covers, and Utility Poles won the right to be treated as legal persons. Then they secured easements that granted them special access rights and privileges.
You would think homeowners in the neighborhood might find common ground to form a Monday grass cutting alliance. Oh no! The Lampposts, in league with the Manhole Covers, started a PR campaign that warned the homeowners on Magnolia Street to beware the residents of Hawthorn, who now regard the residents of Dogwood with suspicion and sneer at the residents on Elm, who scorn the residents on Elder.
In short order, Lampposts convinced the homeowners on Magnolia to love the neighborhood more than their neighbors who dwell on Hawthorn, Dogwood, Elm, or Elder – all of whom no longer look like, act like, or think like ‘real’ neighbors, they claim.
The Manhole Covers think of themselves as ‘Job Creators’ (although any job that has ever fallen into an Open Manhole quickly disappears – never to be seen again).
Utility Poles accuse lawnmowers of engaging in class warfare. Cutting grass no longer levels the playing field, they insist; and the teachers, nurses, and other working folks living on Elm are oppressing the Lampposts and Manhole Covers, they claim.
Meanwhile, the Lampposts and Utility Poles say: “If the residents on Elder lose their healthcare or pension benefits, they should consider themselves ‘empowered.’
Legal but non-living persons now rule the neighborhood. They never created a single job but reserve the right to trample on our bushes and shine flashlights at night through our bedroom windows.
Years ago when a Lamppost burned out, a service truck came to the neighborhood and replaced a bulb. This year, the Lampposts say: “Buy your own bulb and replace it yourself.” Then they demand a bonus, a pay raise, and a tax cut. Last year, their service truck morphed into a Jaguar. This year, their Jaguar morphed into a Rolls Royce.
The situation has set neighbor against neighbor, and I am starting to think garden vegetables now speak on behalf of homeowners. Today, you can hardly tell the difference between a Lamppost versus a real person anymore.
Oh, Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee
That Monday evening you’d still be here with me.
Reminder: Tomorrow is Tuesday, the day we bring our trash bins to the curb.