Another Reason for Outrage

What’s wrong with this picture?

And why are you putting up with it?

Please consider the following news items reported in the papers:

BP, while being criticized for not making payments to companies and individual harmed by the Gulf oil disaster of last year, has posted a 17% increase in profits for the first quarter of 2011. BP announced that it had profits of $7.1 Billion; it was still receiving Federal subsidies.

Exxon Mobil announced a 69% increase in earnings during the same period amounting to $10.65 Billion. The increase, as reported by the company, was in large measure, a consequence of ” high oil prices”.

From the Agence France-Presse, report this week, ” Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell turned in a 60-per-cent leap in net first quarter profit Thursday, benefiting from resurgent oil prices and the sale of non-core assets. After-tax earnings rallied to $8.78 billion US in the three months to March, up from $5.48 billion a year earlier, the company said. Sales rose 28 per cent to almost $110 billion.”

The stock market surged today to 12,000, the highest Dow Jones Average in years.

As I have already noted, a t a time when most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to prerecession levels. In contrast, average compensation, outside of the executive suite, in the private sector increased by less than 2%.

The Institute for Policy Studies noted the CEOs who fired the most workers during the current economic recession also rewarded themselves with the highest pay. Top managers at the fifty corporations with the greatest number of layoffs were paid an average of $12 million in salary, bonuses and other perks — 42 percent more than the average for the Standard & Poor’s 500.

It’s enough to make one absolutely gleeful, except,

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13.5 Million Americans are totally out of work and an additional 8.5 Million people are working on a part-time or marginal job. Another 1.1 Million have simply given up. The Florida Unemployment rate is about 11.1%

Foreclosures of primary homes have continued to destroy families, neighborhoods, and home values. In Florida, one property in 57 is somewhere in the foreclosure process!

The price of gasoline to operate a vehicle to get to work is nearing $4.00 per gallon and threatens to increase by another $1.50 soon. In the Tampa Bay area, in which I live, our Governor is determined to deny funds for mass or public transit.

The gap between the extremely wealthy and the middle class, never mind the poor, is widening. On the national level and at the state legislatures, conservative Republican office holders are acting anything but conservative. The social safety net upon which millions of us rely is being ripped in order to lower taxes payable by the wealthy, allowing huge corporations to avoid taxes altogether.

The problem lies not with the President, although he seems unwilling to take to the “bully pulpit” and demand fairness. The fault lies not with the Republicans who care not a whit about the unemployed, the foreclosed, the ill without medical insurance or adequate care and the handicapped and disadvantaged among us. The fault isn’t with those of the fringe Birthers who see conspiracies and deny reality.

No. The fault is ours for allowing it to happen.