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Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 00:16:33 -0800
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: A RAY OF HOPE! (fwd)

>    _______________________________________________________
>                    FOR A RAY OF HOPE!
>From The Global Citizen
>November 6, 1997
>By Donella H. Meadows
>P.O. Box 58
>Plainfield NH 03781
>The other day a friend sent me a brochure put out by an
>organization called Responsible Wealth.  I could hardly believe
>the name.  Reading on, I could hardly believe what it stands
>"We are business leaders and wealthy individuals, among the top
>five percent of income earners and asset holders in the US," the
>brochure leads off.  "We are concerned about the rise in power of
>large corporations and the growing gap between the rich and
>everyone else."
>Twenty years ago, says the brochure, the richest one percent of
>the U.S. population owned 19 percent of all private wealth.  Now
>the top one percent owns almost 40 percent -- more than the
>bottom 92 percent of us combined.
>The Reagan regime of the 1980s cut the taxes of corporations and
>the wealthy and promised that their gains would trickle down
>into investments and jobs.  The money trickled up instead, says
>Responsible Wealth, in speculative stock market winnings,
>obscene compensation to corporate executives, and political
>contributions that increased further the privileges of the
>Between 1983 and 1989 the assets of the richest 500 families in
>America rose from $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion. If they had paid
>just one-third of that gain in taxes, they still would have
>gotten richer and there would have been NO government deficit --
>a deficit that is now being resolved by cutting benefits to the
>poor and middle class.
>The folks behind Responsible Wealth see themselves as
>beneficiaries of a game with unfair rules.  "We recognize that
>assets play an essential role in building wealth and prosperity.
>However, we believe there is an overemphasis on the rights and
>rewards of private capital.  Those of us with large amounts of
>capital are able to pass on fortunes from generation to
>generation and multiply our wealth through passive investing,
>while around us one in four children are born into poverty, and
>many have little hope of improving their financial situation."
>"We believe that in a healthy economy workers should earn fair
>compensation and all citizens should have the opportunity to
>earn, save, and be economically secure. We believe that civil
>rights and economic rights are inseparable; we will never have
>one without the other."
>"We believe that economic inequality and the scapegoating of
>welfare recipients and immigrants are dividing our nation and
>undermining our collective sense of community.  By continuing to
>separate ourselves economically, we are contributing to a society
>in which people at one end of the spectrum are walled off in
>gated communities, while many at the other end are behind bars."
>What does Responsible Wealth propose to do?  In essence, lobby
>for policies that we who are not rich never expect to hear the
>rich promote. The burden of responsibility for the deficit, says
>the brochure, should be placed on the wealthiest, who benefited
>most from the policy changes that created it. That means -- what
>an amazing idea! -- tax increases for the rich.
>We need dramatic campaign finance reform, it says, to return
>control of our democracy to the voters, not the campaign
>contributors. The media should say more about the harm to our
>society and the damage to our economy caused by widening
>inequality, Responsible Wealth believes. So the organization is
>creating teams of speakers and educators and starting
>letter-writing campaigns, print ads, and meetings with government
>and corporate officials.
>Are these folks for real? I wondered, so I called them up.
>They're not yet willing to have their names released to the
>public, but when they do, you will recognize some of them.
>Responsible Wealth has over 130 members and is going for 250 by
>the end of this year.  Next month they're having their first
>national conference in New York.
>"As people with wealth," says their first newsletter, "we feel a
>responsibility to speak out against the rules that have been
>written to benefit us and to speak in favor of policies that
>benefit the long-term common good of all."  They quote Martin
>Luther King, Jr.: "Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not
>cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of
>economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary."
>I'd guess that most non-rich Americans, which means most
>Americans, are not interested in absolute equality. We accept
>that some of us are born into, luck into, or manage to earn
>wealth and others are born into or fall into poverty. Our
>financial circumstances may or may not reflect our fault or
>merit. We don't want to demean or envy or fear each other because
>of them. We do want to hold each other responsible not for what
>we've been given, but for what we do with it. And we want a game
>with unbiased rules, with no child born into utter hopelessness.
>It's wonderful to know that some of the most privileged are on
>our side.
>If you'd like more information about Responsible Wealth, you can
>contact United for a Fair Economy, 37 Temple Place, Fifth Floor,
>Boston MA 02111 (617-423-2148 or rw@stw.org).
>[ Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental
>  studies at Dartmouth College.
>  http://iisd1.iisd.ca/pcdf/meadows/equality.htm ]
>   ________________________________________________________

Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
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