Monday, December 10, 2007

In a time of disasters, gap needs shrinking

The “Slow” culture — one in which we have time to enjoy the things that matter –- requires a small gap between the rich and the poor. Yes, we can all live a little more simply and slow our pace, but to really live the “good” life , we need equality. A fresh example: In the Nov 17th issue of the Nation Naomi Klein (Shock Doctrine) writes about private companies like Blackwater who will provide services to the rich in times of emergency, like fires or terrorist attacks. She tells about how a private company sprayed fire retardant on some of the houses in the San Diego fire and she goes on to tell about other companies who will provide escape in private jets for disasters like Katrina. Of course it’s all very expensive. Obviously, when the rich get tax breaks, they can afford things like this, while the rest of us have to make do with reduced services of the government who have cut back because the rich aren’t paying their share of the taxes.

The invidious daisy chain of exploitation is currently on display in Lewis County here in Washington State. Record floods have devastated homes and businesses, but the average Joe and Jill is being hit far harder than Wal-Mart and Home Depot, and the logging companies that caused the destruction. In fact, logging companies not only get government subsidies but walk away from devastation without paying a nickel.

Perhaps the rich should be levied a "disaster tax" that would help pay for the public's recovery after the ruination of other people's lives that greed and arrogance cause.

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