The recent tribute to Phoebe Apperson Hearst in The Tribune brings up an important consideration regarding the role of wealth in our country. Mrs. Hearst’s high level of social awareness is, unfortunately, an anomaly and not the norm of the super wealthy.
While nothing is wrong with wealth, the level of greed and the corruption that it brings is antisocial and destructive to millions, even billions, of lives.
We had controls in place to stop that greed, such as the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, and as a result, we saw an unprecedented growth in a vibrant middle class and reduction in poverty all over the country.
Alas, Bill Clinton and his wealthy friends in Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, eviscerated environmental and labor laws in global trade agreements, and reduced taxes on excessive wealth that had helped fund social services, such as schools, police, firefighters, libraries and financial safety nets for the poor.
The result is that corporate profits have soared, stuffing the pockets of the few at the expense of the many. It is time to instate a progressive tax on wealth (not just income). We need to stop the antisocial behavior of the wealthy and take back our country.