Graphic Witness: visual arts & social commentary
Graphic Witness home page

A Political Contradictionary from A to Z










ELFARE: The term has different connotations depending on who gets it: a monthly dole to the poor, ensuring their continued poverty or a subsidy to the wealthy, supporting the market price of certain commodities. For example, in Sunflower County [Mississippi], where 90 percent of the black people were poor, the millionaire James Eastland got welfare of a sort; the $170,000 a year he collected on cotton subsidies was nearly twice the county's annual school-lunch budget.
Jason DeParle, American Dream p. 88

WEALTH brings its own very special contradictions. Tax rates on an individual's unearned income are actually lower than tax rates on earned income, in a system that supposedly uses a progressive tax table. The wealthy have access to more loopholes in which to shelter their wealth from the tax collector than do their fellow citizens of more modest means. Ultimately, wealth means enjoying the opportunity to have more, and have it at less cost than is the case for those who are less wealthy.

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
Justice Louis Brandeis

Teach us that wealth is not elegance, that profusion is not magnificence, that splendor is not beauty.
Benjamin Disraeli

WEAPONS:
Blessed with wealth are the arms dealers, i.e., the Military-Industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about. The United States, United Kingdom and France, in that order, have the world's largest defense budgets; when ranking the world's largest exporters of weapons, these same nations are listed in the top 5.

BAE one of the largest multinational weapons producer/exporter sells planes to Indonesia so that Indonesia can intimidate Papuans. Serious questions should be asked about the impact of the possible deal on Indonesia's poor, says TAPOL. Half the population is living in poverty and the government is still paying out hundreds of millions of pounds for previous arms deals.

Gallery of International Arms Dealers compiled by FRONTLINE/World

WAR: Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil.
Robert Anton Wilson [see also the Constitution of the United States]