Rich people are having a moment. In fact they are having a long succession of moments. They can’t believe that we have finally noticed that they are stealing money and funneling it up the ladder. They don’t understand that they have been so greedy or so scared that they would not have enough, that they have left us feeling way less than flush. When we had enough income to bankroll a comfortable lifestyle, when we had perhaps a bit more than enough and could afford a few luxuries, we were content to send the rest to the top. We bought into the schema of bosses and employees; the schema that says bosses should be paid much more than workers. What we didn’t realize is that these wealthy people were working through our government to insure that more and more money would rise to the top and, if we did notice this, we were assured that some of it would be passed back down the chain to us bottom dwellers so we could fill a two car garage. Someone, some expert in economics knows exactly which laws and tax loopholes are skewing affluence so sharply to the 1%. Someone, that same expert I am guessing, knows how to rewrite the laws to allow more largess to trickle down on the 99%, perhaps even on those terrible takers, the 47%.
Rich people have pretended that they believe that the American people want them to throw all of their wealth in a big money pool and then divide it by the total number of Americans and dole out their money equally amongst us all, the way it was reported that some Arab countries did with their oil money. The American people are not interested in either socialism or communism, as these rich folks insist they are. Most Americans have no real concept of socialism and communism, which were areas of popular speculation from the 30’s through the 50’s. Such speculations basically died with the parting of the Iron Curtain. We can still be riled if people or ideas are connected to the terms Hitler or the Nazi, but it is really considered beyond the pale to go there and it mostly rebounds against whoever does this particular type of labeling. And contrary to the fears or pretended fears of at least one of the wealthy, no one in America is plotting to pack rich folks into trains in order to treat them like cattle and let them anticipate what a frightful place they are headed for, a place they could not even imagine in their worst nightmares. But we do not plan to do that to the wealthy. We don’t plan to steal their jewels or their gold teeth or freeze their bank accounts or sell or stockpile their art. Although we might enjoy it if the rich decided to spread the wealth among us all, we do not expect it. We expect the people in the 1% to face reality. Leaving consumers without a pool of disposable income is terrible for our economy and will perhaps do more to turn us into a socialist or communist society than the people in the 47% are likely to do, the people who have been pretty quiet and docile even as their fortunes have waned, who have kept their noses to whatever grindstone they could find, no matter how poorly it paid, and have raised only the slightest ruckus as far as I can ascertain.
Rich people do live lives that rarely connect with the hoi polloi. They live on huge estates with gates and electronic security systems. They live in villas in fabled cities where the wealthy collect and hog all the loveliest scenery and best weather. They live on yachts which are like cities and they anchor at one beautiful port after another and do whatever they like to do when they arrive. They believe they don’t need the rest of us. We have become superfluous and perhaps a bit frightening. We are all walking around with our hands out asking for a handout.
You cannot actually live without us though; it is a delusion you would like to believe. Right now you can get all your food and services just by exchanging some of your cash for it. That may not always be the case. You do not grow your own food. You do not plant your own gardens, or cook your own meals, or clean your own houses, or fix your own little estate infrastructures. You hire people to do these things. What if we all give up on being productive because it doesn’t pay? What if we really do decide to be lazy and just get by with as little work as possible? How will you eat if farmers no longer grow things? How will you fix your refrigerator or your pool or your yacht if there are no skilled workers who train to repair these things? How much will you wilt without your air conditioning? You are not living on private islands where you never have to encounter the poor or even the rapidly dwindling denizens of the middle class. We are all interconnected.
However much rich folks may want to deny climate change they will eventually have to accept that it might be real. Changing climates are one of the factors that may make food so scarce that even endless supplies of money may not buy enough. If I were rich and I saw the escalation of extreme weather-related events I would think about investing some of my bucks to make sure we did things that might help reverse or at least halt this. I hope I would not just stick my head in the sand and party as if every scientist was deliberately lying to allow the (dirty word) people to get their hands on my money, to halt the flow of that liquid gold that allows the gushers of profit that keep me on my yacht or in my villa, to make it impossible to hold on to my high-flying lifestyle. You are wealthy, you say because you are a risk-taker. You are wealthy because you are superior to commoners. You work harder, you play harder, and some of you are quite charitable. But you only take risks that increase your profits, and you are not currently into taking risks that are somewhat long term. You could reform energy in America, you could ride a wave of new, renewable energy into the future instead of putting an elegant blonde model-spokesperson on TV to repeat the oil company mantra over and over again that fossil fuels can burn clean, that fracking does not pollute air and water, that dirty oily stuff piped from the depths of the earth is as clean and perfect as this elegant person in front of us, who would never say such things if they were not true. Saying something over and over does not make it so, even though you keep plugging away at us with this childish strategy.
Rich folks, be done with your moments. Use your powers for good. Even if you don’t want to believe some little part of you must have doubts about the way things are trending. You have paid to put yourselves in leadership roles and you have said that you have big brains. Stop using your brains to create strategies to bash us over the head with your fears. Engage that risk-taking behavior that got you to the top and fix some of this. Stop name-calling and moaning about the unfairness of it all. Stop turning other Americans, Americans who are not rich, into monsters who wish to gobble up your wealth and drag you down with the takers. We are at our wit’s end because you insist on being paranoid rather than helpful. You had better work on your farming skills and your plumbing skills, etc. It looks like you will need them to live on your island with the coconuts, or on that yacht (among the pirates). Because without your help in this matter the rest of the world is likely to descend into a misery you will want to avoid for as long as it is possible.
By Nancy Brisson
This is the view from the cheap seats.
<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>