This morning, out of the blue, Kit asked me about Queen Marie Antoinette and her remark about “Let them eat cake.” Was she being sarcastic? he asked.
I did a double take, then thought about it, and replied, “No, she just couldn’t imagine that bread was all that poor people had to eat and that without bread they starved.” The more I thought, the more I realized that there was a total disconnect between the top 1% and the bottom half. It was Abysmal ignorance. And I fear ignorance is endemic to the people at the top.
Actually, God, looking at these graphs comparing average household income and share of income in 1979 and 2007, it hits me that I, too, have been abysmally ignorant. I’m peering at the graph above right. Does it REALLY say that 80% of Americans have a substantial smaller share of America’s wealth than they did in 1979? The bottom 40% of us are WAY DOWN? IT DOES! Dang! That is quite a drop! Let’s look at another graph to double check.
Sheesh! This graph is even worse! I can barely see those two blue lines on the right that represent the bottom 40% of Americans. I see Dan Ariely who wrote Predictably Irrational is involved in the study that showed what Americans THINK the economic reality is. Hmm. It looks like my abysmal ignorance is widely shared.
This is from the article, “It’s the Inequality, Stupid,” in Mother Jones. I don’t think “inequality” is quite the right word, God. Inequality makes it sound like children squabbling over who got the bigger piece of cake.
This looks pretty darn STRUCTURAL to me, God! In fact, it looks a bit unstable. Sigh. It looks as if, maybe, we’ve been looking at “profits” when looking at “the Prophets” might be more instructive.