Monday, October 27, 2014

When will the wealthy get their wake-up call?

In an NY Times Op-Ed, Paul Krugman describes the political struggles in Hong Kong and discovers--surprise!--the wealthy of Hong Kong are trying to suppress the votes of the bottom 50%. Sounds a lot like what's going on in America, right? Krugman's conclusion: "The truth is that a lot of what’s going on in American politics is, at root, a fight between democracy and plutocracy. And it’s by no means clear which side will win."

You don't have to be a genius to see the vast wealth of CEOs and Hedge Fund Managers. Wherever you live, you can find enclaves of beautiful homes for the wealthy and vast stretches of mediocre homes for everyone else. The best property in any town is captured by the wealthy: The wealthy have the property next to the parks, the homes with views, the huge lots. The wealthy live in the nice neighborhoods with trees and garbage collectors and little boutique shops full of stuff that only they can afford to buy.

The wealthy really can't hide what's going on. They tell their supporters that all this can be theirs, too, if they just work hard enough and long enough and vote Republican. But even the dullest resident of the poorer districts can see those houses on the hill and those penthouse apartments and understand that he or she will never be living there. 

No amount of money spent on fancy propaganda is going to keep the 99% from the realization that they don't live in a mansion and don't own several houses and don't earn enough to buy those things. The 1% will never be able to convince the immigrants who do many of the menial jobs in this country that their lives will be better if they don't get the right to vote.

So I don't think there is a question about which side will win in the end. Eventually the non-wealthy among us will realize that immigrants are likely to vote with us and against the wealthy. That is precisely why the wealthy don't want to give citizenship to immigrants, even though it is the wealthy who benefit most from the maids, cooks, janitors, dishwashers, waiters, gardeners, security guards, night watchmen, and nannies who have come to this country to work. The 1% enjoy the unjust and unfair economic system just the way it is and they are fighting like Hell to keep it that way. The wealthy call this selfish attitude, "Conservatism," when it is really just "Greed."

The wealthy will lose because the non-wealthy are not nearly as stupid as they think we are.

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