By Jasper Smith (January 7, 2020)
I live in a country that used the military and militias to kill and forcibly remove people from their ancestral lands after tens of thousands of years of living here so the government could give that land away for free to white people to have homes and farms and so oil, timber, and mining interests could profit from “free” land for a quick buck.
I live in a country where 100 million acres of land was given away by the government for free to private railroad companies who sold the land at a profit to build houses and cities.
I live in a country where five white landowners own 9 million acres of land and all African-Americans, over 40 million people, combined own 8 million acres.
When we say the government can house people who are homeless and provide affordable housing in exchange for a third of people’s income, it should sound like a small thing, not a big thing, for this country to do.
I live in a country where for 250 years, it was legal to own another human being based on their skin color and force them to work for no wages and own no property to benefit the land owner.
I live in a country where today, workers lose more money in wage theft by business owners than all the robberies, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, and larcenies combined. Wage theft is rarely prosecuted, but if it were, it carries only a $1000 fine.
I live in a country where Apple, which has 2-3 times more cash on hand than the US government received $500 million in government subsidies and Google, one of the most profitable businesses on the planet, received $600 million in government subsidies.
I live in a country that just gave away $1.5 trillion in tax breaks and encouraged overseas tax shelters for billionaires and corporations.
When we say the government should tax people and corporations fairly, and spend money on human needs for housing, safe drinking water, health care, education, income and social supports, it should be an easy thing for this country to do, not a hard thing.
The government redistributes wealth all the time. Instead of concentrating wealth for the few which is destroying our communities and the planet, we need to use our government to meet the needs of the people and invest in equity and justice.