Value of pledges
EDITOR: Wealth concentration in the 1 percent and income inequality are in the news. For the past 40 years, the top 1 percent has hoarded all the national growth in wealth and productivity, leaving the middle class shrinking and treading water economically.
From World War II to the 1970s, when unions were strong, the gains in the economy benefited all classes. Since then, the 1 percent has fought the social policies and unions that ensure that economic growth is shared. They camouflage their fight in democratic themes. Now they are doing it in Sonoma County.
The Feb. 22 Close to Home, "Reject voting pledges," criticizes organizations that ask candidates for a pledge as a prerequisite to gaining their endorsement. The authors, Greg Hurd and Cynthia Murray, are from powerful business organizations that exercise outsized power over candidates because of their enormous financial contributions.
Labor and progressive organizations are the only effective counter balance because they turn out volunteers for candidates. To commit their time, these volunteers want assurances that the candidates share their values. The 1 percent wants you to see this as undemocratic, thereby removing the challenge to its outsized influence. In reality, its concentration of wealth and power is undemocratic.
W. CHIP ATKIN, JR.