February 17, 2012
Santorum’s Gospel of Inequality
By CHARLES M. BLOW
That was Fox News’s headline about Rick Santorum’s speech at the Detroit Economic Club on Thursday. Santorum said, “I’m not about equality of result when it comes to income inequality. There is income inequality in
Unbelievable. Maybe not, but stunning all the same.
Then again, Santorum is becoming increasingly unhinged in his public comments. Last week, he said that the president was arguing that Catholics would have to “hire women priests to comply with employment discrimination issues.”
Also last week, he suggested that liberals and the president were leading religious people into oppression and even beheadings. I kid you not. Santorum said: “They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? When you marginalize faith in
Yet for Santorum to champion income inequality in
This is a city that last year announced plans to close half its public schools and send layoff notices to every teacher in the system.
This is a city where the mayor’s pledge to demolish 10,000 abandoned structures was seen as only shaving the tip of the iceberg because, as The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010, “the city has roughly 90,000 abandoned or vacant homes and residential lots, according to Data Driven Detroit, a nonprofit that tracks demographic data for the city.”
This is not the place to praise income inequality. Last week, at a hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad, the chairman of that committee, laid out the issue as many Americans see it:
“The growing gap between the very wealthy and everyone else has serious ramifications for the country. It hinders economic growth, it undermines confidence in our institutions, and it goes against one of the core ideals of this country — that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can succeed and leave a better future for your kids and your grandkids.”
This is arguably even more true of people in
As Willy Staley argued in 2010 in an online column for Next American City magazine: “In richer cities, the inequality is put side-by-side, in an uncomfortable, loathsome way; for cities left in the dust of deindustrialization, the inequality is presents (sic) as existing between cities, not within them. Gone is the city/suburb divide between rich and poor, income inequality manifests itself within wealthy cities and between cities.”
And it is this feeling of being left behind by the American economy and abandoned by Republicans that is pushing
Santorum went on to say about income inequality during his speech on Thursday: “We should celebrate like we do in the small towns all across
Santorum might want to take a walk around
Furthermore, as a newspaperman and a former Detroiter, I’d like to direct him to the James J. Brady Memorial. Detroit1701.org, maintained by a
The group provides “warm clothing, toys, books, games and candy” to local children every Christmas in addition to sending poor children to summer camps, the dentist and to college.
Then again, charitable giving doesn’t appear to be high on Motor Mouth Santorum’s list of priorities. As The Washington Post pointed out, based on Santorum’s tax return disclosure this week, he has given the least amount to charity of the four presidential candidates who have disclosed their tax returns. (Ron Paul has not.) His charitable giving was just 1.8 percent of his adjusted gross income.
The Obamas were the highest, giving 14.2 percent, even though their income was second lowest.
Maybe that’s the imbalance we should praise.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs