We have a new (yet old) act in town this year (2011).
Somehow, the prosperous seem to be the root of all evil. And all along, I thought it was envy. Oh wait, it's still envy.
The dialog this year has been ever-more frequently decrying the disparity between them that have and those who have not. Define that however you like; and that is the problem - any definition seems to work in this scheme. This is more than class warfare. Frankly, I find the concept a pointless waste of emotional energy, but that has yet to stop a progressive from bleating in the dark of economic night.
Look, if you are going to beat this sorry drum from centuries past, try pointing out the disparity between oil-rich middle east theocratic oligarchies and just about everyone else in the world. We give them our money because we want their product. It's that simple.
The fact that some people in this country are well-off and some aren't is just a fact of life. The price of stuff is set by the amount of money people who want the stuff are willing to pay. What have our efforts to increase access to home ownership, education and health care by lower income citizens accomplished? Raised the price of homes, education and health care to even higher absurd levels. Taking money away from those with more and giving it to people with less does increase demand - but it also increases cost and results in the same net effect -- the same people are at the bottom. You would think that the number of people with the wealth would decrease, and perhaps it has. But also note that the people with the wealth now have more of the wealth. Conclusion: wealth redistribution has the effect of trickling up, not down. So theoretically, we can perpetuate hate for this minority (the top 1, 2, 5 percent) as long as we like.
If this country wishes to make demons of the well-to-do and rob the rich to pay the poor, it will find the rich departing to more welcoming countries. This applies to corporations as well as individuals. Face it, one doesn't need America to be rich, one needs product. One doesn't need money to develop product, one needs energy and a tolerant environment. Given the means and the venue, the money will follow.
This zero-sum game of wealth-envy and piss on the prosperous is being played out every where from the environmentalists (we'll save the planet when YOU buy/use less) to a spiritual message.
Links to a sample the progressive poor me messages du jour:
Eliminating Inequality is Good for the Soul (or you have lies, damn lies and then there are statistics)
The Upward Mobility Gap Bipartisanship in 2011? No Chance