99 problems but the 1% ain’t one
n spite of their happy and friendly nature, Brown stu- to point out that this is an issue that is not necessarily dedents like to get angry. While this anger is typically chan- termined along partisan lines. One must only think back neled through smug academic contempt (rather than your to the Republican primary — when a Rick Santorum cantypical yelling and screaming), it is anger after all. With Is- didacy actually seemed a possibility — to remember that raeli airstrikes into Hamas kicking up and Donald Trump Romney and the wealth he stands for were attacked by Retweeting about a second American revolution, Brown stu- publican primary candidates all around. dents have much to be angry about. Yet the most recent Hudson’s article does beg the question of why so sway of Brown fury has been directed instead toward an much attention has been focused on the wealthy. Why are article our Co-Editor-in-Chief Oliver Hudson wrote for we so angry? Why do we blame the wealthy for their sucthe Brown Daily Herald in November. The now-infamous cess? Why do we fight over how much of their income to op-ed called for apportioning a person’s vote based on the take in taxes in the first place? Why do we spend so much amount of taxes he or she pays to the government. political capital and energy transferring money from the I should be upfront with the fact that I disagree wealthy to other parts of society? with the conclusions my colleague drew in his article. I The answer Brown students gave has some lemust respectfully assert what gitimacy — the wealthy got to many Brown students have alwhere they are because they President Barack Obama’s campaign ready argued. A government is positioned the incumbent as the advocate were lucky. While I do believe more than a huge Ponzi scheme that this is an unfair simplificaof the 99 percent and sketched Mitt of money transferring, but is tion, even I cannot deny that Romney as the aloof, wealthy capitalist. set up to pay for the public economic mobility is not nearly goods that taxpayers individuas robust as one might consider ally would never produce, such as the military, courts, ideal. However, in spite of this truth, attacks on the wealthy schools, and roads. As well, the government, as nearly two are still largely misguided. Of course, I can run through and a half centuries of American political philosophy have many examples of greedy executives going out of their way determined, is intended to protect the rights of all its citi- to screw over the helpless. But if we search for a fundamenzens. I believe the consequences of such as policy would be tal way to improve the social mobility of America’s masses, harmful, but discussing the merits of Hudson’s article is not redistribution and the political wrath that accompanies it my focus. is not the solution. This is especially true when a majority However, once the dust of the controversy clears, of this transfer goes towards the elderly — or, even worse, I do believe there is a message worth considering beneath when our government must borrow football fields’ worth the hoopla of Hudson’s article. The op-ed — and even the of cash to execute that transfer. No, to fix this problem we hate speech it incited — highlights the growing divide in have to invest in our next generation both financially and American political, economic, and social life between the mentally. I will tackle each individually. wealthy and the middle- to lower-classes. This tension was First, we must invest more in education. To Brown inherent in almost every twist and turn of the recent elec- students, this seems like a no-brainer. But unfortunately, tion. President Barack Obama’s campaign positioned the neither party has put much political capital behind exincumbent as the advocate of the 99 percent and sketched panding educational opportunities. While Obama is the Mitt Romney as the aloof, wealthy capitalist. The Romney champion of Pell Grants, in practice his budget devotes less camp instead championed the wealthy candidate and la- than 2 percent of federal funds to education. Spending on beled Obama supporters as “dependent” or “entitled” (see Medicare and Social Security, on the other hand, gobble up Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comment). It is important nearly 40 percent of the budget. This is only part of the reaopinion
Spectator February 2013.indd 21
S 19 2/18/13 10:13 PM
Published on Feb 6, 2013
The Brown Spectator looks into coal divestment, voting trends of ivy-league students, reviews local restaurants, and more.