<b>A new world</b>
EDITOR: As the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination nears, I wonder how our nation has fared since those idealistic times. On many fronts, among them civil rights, women's and gay rights and the environment, much has indeed been accomplished. However, on the economic front, America has gone backward. The gap between the rich and average citizens has vastly widened, most paychecks and the middle class have shrunk, and young people have dimmer prospects than their parents. Pessimism and extremism grow since our economy and government no longer serve average Americans.
How did this regression come about? Corporate profits poured into conservative think tanks, public relations firms, lobbyists and the mass media, all to convince citizens that government, taxes and unions were bad and unregulated capitalism, privatization and globalization were good.
This sales job worked. Well-funded right-wing groups, playing on people's ignorance and fears, have rolled back American progress. In JFK's day, CEO salaries were 20 times average wages; today, they are 200 times. Then, the rich were taxed up to 91 percent of income; it's 39 percent today. And many giant corporations pay no tax at all.
The fat cats will continue buying politicians, slanting the media and looting our economy until enough Americans act to reverse this disastrous trend.