Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Connecting the Dots: Of Haves and Have Nots

I am thinking about three separate pieces this morning, brought together by President Obama's recent tax deal.  The first is a terrific video by Swedish academic Hans Rosling doing the rounds on the internet that illustrates graphically the last 200 years of global development.

You can watch the video here.

The second is, of course, Obama's tax deal, and particularly the extension of Bush's high end tax cuts.  It is all about the economy, stupid, and particularly job creation.  Economists and Democratic policy experts are pleased with the deal, as Democrats in Congress are clearly not.  So if you make in excess of $250,000, go create us some jobs.  And Happy Holidays.

The third is the recent decision by Don Blankenship, notorious CEO of Massey Energy, to resign from his position on the heels of a scathing Rolling Stones' profile piece by Jeff Goodell. It was the closing line of the piece that brought all three pieces together for me:
If any of this troubles Blankenship, he doesn't let on. By his own accounting, the bottom line provides all the proof he needs of his virtue. "I don't care what people think," he once said during a talk to a gathering of Republican Party leaders in West Virginia. "At the end of the day, Don Blankenship is going to die with more money than he needs."
We can only hope, at the end of the day, that Blankenship creates us some jobs.  Obama's presidency, it might appear, hinges on it.

As for the moral of all these stories?  Andrew Leonard put it best: "Suffering pays -- as long as it is inflicted on other people."

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