Even the word “greed” isn’t negative enough to characterize the all-out assault on workers by today’s corporate elite.

From offshoring jobs to busting unions, and from slashing wages to looting pensions, avaricious executives and wealthy investors are taking everything they can get from America’s formerly middle-class workforce.

Plainly put, the more they can take from workers, the more they can put in their own pockets — or, more likely, in their offshore bank accounts. It adds up to a massive redistribution of wealth from the many to the few.

In addition to greedy, though, these people are rank thieves. As Woody Guthrie succinctly put it: “Some’ll rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.”

We’re now in a rapacious fountain-pen economy.

Greed

Muffet/Flickr

Since the Wall Street crash of 2008 — itself a product of grand theft by financial elites — hardworking Americans have regenerated every bit of the wealth that was frittered away by bankers, and we created trillions of dollars in new income.

What a phenomenal national achievement that is, produced in an astonishingly short time by the shared effort of our people.

But strenuous effort is all we shared.

The richest 1 percent of Americans grabbed 91 percent of those gains in income, and the even-richer one-tenth of 1 percent sucked up almost a quarter of the new wealth.

The vast majority of us still haven’t recovered the homes, cars, and savings we lost to the crash. And 99 percent of us are getting less income today than we were before Wall Street crashed our economy seven years ago.

The rich aren’t getting richer because they’re more enterprising, harder-working, or of stronger moral character than everyone else. They’re thieves. They’re getting richer by stealing from you.

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower LowdownOtherWords.org.

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