A $6,000 toaster is the most absurdly perfect metaphor for income inequality.

When tax cuts came up during a televised community meeting in Australia, let's just say that things got a little ... toasty.

The controversy started during the May 9 taping of "Q&A," a popular panel discussion show on the country's public broadcasting network, when audience member Duncan Storrar asked an impassioned question about the country's latest tax cuts:


GIFs via AussieNews1/YouTube.

It's a valid concern. And Australian Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer, who was one of the panelists, offered a, erm, less-than-valid rebuttal.

O'Dwyer launched into a tried-and-true refrain about trickle-down economics — a theory that's been repeatedly debunked regardless of how much people really really want it to work. But it was the example she used to prove her point that really raised some eyebrows. Referring to a(n imaginary?) small-business owner with a $2 million budget, she said:

GIF via AussieNews1/YouTube.

Yup: SIX. THOUSAND. DOLLAR. TOASTER.

GIF from "The Brave Little Toaster."

Upon hearing this, most Australians thought, "Who the &$%# spends $6,000 on a bloody toaster?!"

All across the country, people were moved by Storrar's speech — and dumbfounded by O'Dwyer's blatant disconnect from the struggling poor and working-class citizens, who the government should actually be listening to.

GIF via Denny's/YouTube.

Our cousins Down Under rallied together and launched a tongue-in-cheek GoFundMe campaign to buy a $6,000 toaster for Duncan Storrar. Within two days, they raised more than 10 times that amount.

That's even more remarkable than the guy who raised $55,000 to make a potato salad. But while the impetus behind this campaign was similarly silly, it was also coming from a place of desperation and discontent with the ever-increasing rate of income inequality that's been spreading across the entire global economy.

Taxes are basically just a mandatory government-run crowdfunding campaign. And while you can argue about that supposed tyranny all you want, the fact that thousands of people willingly gave up their own hard-earned cash to help a man in need speaks volumes about the power of empathy and the far-reaching effects of community support.

GIF from Nicolette Groome/Tumblr.

The fact that governments across the world continue to eviscerate social benefit programs to give tax cuts to the wealthy is a disheartening affront to that same goodwill.

Governments should work for the people — which means all the people, not just the biggest breadwinners. So how come nearly 1 million Americans are losing food benefits while House Republicans are proposing an additional $98 billion in social program cuts? Why are 500,000 people in the U.K. losing their disability benefits, which many of them rely on to survive? Why are people like Australia's own prime minister hiding billions of dollars in potential taxable income in places like Panama and still getting tax cuts when the time comes around?

And how come when thousands of people opened their wallets and said, "This guy deserves a piece of toast! (Or, more accurately, to take his daughter to a movie once a year!)" the Australian government still ignored them?

Put mildly: That's not cool.

Guess which side of this toaster represents the working class? GIF via Photonic Induction/YouTube.

These phenomena obviously aren't limited to Australia. But a $6,000 toaster making front-page headlines is a pretty good indicator of just how absurd the problem really is.

Granted, there are some smaller businesses who would benefit from a six-foot-wide, double-racked toast-making behemoth like this. But what good is a $6,000 industrial toaster if the majority of your potential customers are too poor to afford a sandwich?

Maybe instead of concerning ourselves with fancy electronics, we should make sure everybody has their bread first. After all, you can't make toast without it. And if a couple thousand people were willing to chip in $60K in just two days to make one guy's life a little easier, imagine the difference it would make in the entire community if everyone did their part.

More
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular