Last week, Federal Prosecutors announced a $25 million college admission scam organized to help kids of wealthy families get into top tier colleges. The scam dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues”, included cheating on the SAT and ACT, bribes to college administrators and athletic coaches, and falsifying applications.
Some parents paid as much as $75,000 per test to help their children get a better score. Others families faked athletic credentials, in some cases going as far as to have their children’s heads photo-shopped onto athletic looking bodies. Even worse, some applications were falsified, stating the applicant was disabled, when in-fact they were not.
While this is shocking, it’s not unexpected. The gap between the wealthy and those less fortunate is growing. With that wealth comes advantages and opportunities, including having the means to participate in an elaborate college admission scam. The nonchalant way these “rich-kids-parents” perpetrated the fraud can’t be overlooked. This was about taking opportunities from more deserving children because they could.
In other words, this is another example of class warfare. Some may deny its existence, and others will look the other way, but it’s real and its being waged everywhere, including our schools. It’s no secret that America is deeply divided politically, but the places people have drawn their lines are misplaced. Economic position above all us should drive our political beliefs. Regardless of your gender, ethnicity, race or religion, we have more in common with others from similar economic class than any other group.
Certain media outlets and fear-mongering politicians continue to promote political differences that have very little to do with our everyday lives. It seems their false-messaging has taken hold in some corners of the country. The election of President Trump has shown that people will not always act in their own best interests.
For example, many soy bean farmers voted for Donald Trump and said they traditionally vote Republican. These farmers have said they still support President Trump, even after Trump’s trade war has caused many farmers to lose business, and others to go bankrupt. The disconnect is astounding, and even more puzzling, many of those same Republican-voting farmers are celebrating the $12 billion farmer’s welfare package Trump approved. To be clear, the $12 billion of welfare would not have been needed but for the vary tariffs Trump implemented.
The level of these farmers’ delusion and hypocrisy is bewildering. Republicans have and continue to be against welfare (but have always promoted various forms of corporate welfare), yet these farmers’ livelihoods are being saved by the vary welfare they vote against. Quite simply, their current acceptance of government subsidies falls neatly under the Democratic platform.
In Indiana, Trump promised several hundred Carrier factory workers that he would protect their blue-collar jobs. While progressives knew this claim was foolhardy at best, and a blatant lie at worst, many of these factory workers voted for President Trump anyways. Months later, these same factory workers found themselves in the unemployment line. Notwithstanding President Trump’s empty promise, Carrier rolled out massive layoffs. And to throw salt on an open wound, these layoffs came at the same time as Carrier received huge financial windfalls from Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The idea of welfare, the government’s giving of financial resources to those in need, really brings the issue into focus. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represented a massive and costly package of corporate welfare, the benefits of which have not and never do “trickle down” to the average worker. You need to look no further than Amazon for one of the more egregious examples. Amazon made over $11 billion in profits last year and paid $0.00 in federal taxes. If a multi-billion dollar company is excused from paying taxes, why shouldn’t a family of 4 living on a household income of $75,000 also receive similar treatment?
Class warfare is real, and until every white, black, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, conservative, liberal, man and woman understands that they are fighting a common enemy, the wealth gap, and more importantly, the opportunity gap will continue to grow. No matter what your race, gender or religion, if your household income is less than $200,000, you have so much more in common with people in the middle class than big corporations or wealthy individuals like the Trump family.
While conservatives and progressives argue about things like gender equality, immigration and gun regulations, the rich are laughing all the way to Congress, using their wealth and influence to ensure their piece of the pie grows, which often means the rest of our pieces shrink.
It’s not to say those things issues aren’t important, because they are. It’s to say that economic balance should be at the forefront of every voter’s minds when they think about politics. It should not be about Democrat vs Republican, but should be about the middle and working classes vs everybody else, because that’s exactly how the wealthy think.