Provocative op-ed by Dennis Jett, former U.S. Ambassador to Peru. The upshot is that when the distribution of wealth is highly unequal, people will vote for extremes, and that this can happen in the United States just as well as in Peru.
Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high and approaching that of Latin America. Even though the tax burden is lower now than at any time since the Eisenhower administration, the rich here, as in Latin America, always insist they pay too much. Given the cost of running for office, the market economy ensures that the winners are the best politicians money can buy. The result is the current budget debate in Washington, where the discussion centers on how to dismantle the social safety net in order to cut taxes on the wealthy even more.
When any of this is pointed out, the reaction is that the critics are resorting to class warfare. But the war has already begun. Common sense and common purpose have already been victims of that war in much of Latin America. Now Peru has set itself back economically and politically by decades. America is on the same path to division and irrelevance. That process is a tragedy for Peru. It will be a disaster for the world if it happens here.