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I’ve never had a problem with money. It’s good, it’s green, you can do fun things with it. As a finance professor, though, I learned long ago that there is a difference between appreciating the power of money, and falling in love with it. America is a country that loves money the way Flava Flav loves clocks and fried chicken: it’s entirely over the top. And years of unregulated capitalism are serving to undermine the stability of our entire democracy.

SEE ALSO: Tea Party: Don’t Mention Founding Fathers, Slaves

Over the last 15 years, the real wage of the average American worker has remained stagnant. Programs have also been sliced for the poor in record numbers. All the while, the wealthiest 5 percent of all Americans have accumulated more than half of our country’s wealth.  Simultaneously, the bottom 40 percent only hold 0.3 percent of that wealth. This, my friends, is not healthy American free enterprise; this is the making of an oppressive society that is hell bent on self-destruction.

If we are going to criticize President Barack Obama when he comes up short, we must applaud him when he shows extraordinary vision. The challenge to America’s festering economic inequality problem is, quite simply, a matter of national security. Tax laws must be changed to allow the rich to pay their fair share. Our nation’s newfound belief that “greed is good” should be replaced with a concern for the well-being of our fellow man.

The millionaires and billionaires who’ve somehow been led to believe that buying gas for your private jet is more important than feeding starving children must be forced to see their value systems for what they’ve become: our society has, quite frankly, become a sick place to live.

One can only imagine what kind of battles the president is going to face in the coming year. Republicans are determined to be counter productive and obstructionist. They don’t like taking orders from black people, and they’ve convinced a few Bible-thumping hypocrites to support them in their desire to protect the rich.

But at the end of the day, the American people must support the president’s quest to put a real discussion of economic inequality on the table, for we are fighting for the soul and survival of our nation.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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