Monday, April 24, 2023

#114 / Mechanisms Of Wealth Inequality


Evan Osnos writes for The New Yorker. In the January 23, 2023, edition of the magazine, in an article titled, "Trust Issues," Osnos outlines some of the financial and legal mechanisms that have generated the wealth inequality that is now one of the most defining characteristics of the economy, society, and politics of the United States. 
The family used as the example of how the system works is the Getty Family, known to San Francisco Bay Area residents because of Gordon Getty, "a composer and a philanthropist in San Francisco, worth an estimated $2.1 billion." Gordon Getty came to his money from his father, oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. He was J. Paul Getty's fourth child. Gordon himself had four sons with his wife, Ann. "Secretly, he also fathered three daughters in Los Angeles during an extramarital affair." When the daughters' existence became public, Getty "cut his daughters in on the Getty fortune, using a trust fund." Osnos tells us just how the "trust fund" system works. 
Hopefully, interested persons will be able to read what The New Yorker has to say about the Getty family, and about how the "trust fund" system perpetuates wealth inequality. The "trust fund" system is what the Getty family uses to shield its fortune from virtually any and all taxation - and of course the Getty family is just an example of how all the rest of the super-rich do it. The system described will increasingly act to siphon the wealth of the nation into the hands of a very small number of persons. Meanwhile, hard working Americans are ever less well off.

I like to tell those who read these blog postings that "we live in a political world." In case you haven't noticed it, the specifics of the "political world" in which we currently reside is governed by rules that perpetuate and accelerate wealth inequality. 

We can learn about how the system works by reading The New Yorker - and by otherwise studying how our economy and politics are currently structured.

We should be aware, though, that there is nothing "inevitable" about the rules that currently allow the Trumps, and the Gettys, and the other other super-rich families that dominate our politics to grow their riches while the rest of us are increasingly impoverished. 

To change the rules, though, the non-super rich are going to have to get organized. Getting "mad" about how the system is currently operating might just be step one in motivating us to do what is necessary to change the situation. 

If you'd like to "get mad," read that article by Evan Osnos. I think it will make you just as mad as it made me!

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