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We’ve been brainwashed by the rich


Stashed in: Politics!, Wealth!, Influence!, Economics!, History!, Education!, Favors!, Young Americans, @troutgirl, America!, Libertarian, Republicans, Jerk Store, Narcissists!, to like or not to like, that is the question, Poverty, Echo Chambers!, Charts!, Conspiracy!, Infomercials!, Rich people get richer., Wealth

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"many who value highly government programs like Medicare don't realize that they are in the public sector."

This article and "living with less is only for the rich" are two articles I've returned to several times:

http://pandawhale.com/post/17925/living-with-less-is-only-for-the-rich

This part really brings it home for me:

It is clear that many, if not most, Americans possess a limited understanding of the nature of the inequality in our society: They believe that there is less inequality than there is, they underestimate its adverse economic effects, they underestimate the ability of government to do anything about it, and they overestimate the costs of taking action.

This is why rich people aren't really in favor of educating everyone else.

If everyone else is educated, they wise up.

It's a bummer that this article is in Salon, which is part of the echo chamber. It needs to be an infomercial, in between reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.

That image you painted has stuck with me for years, Janice.

"Only 42 percent of Americans believe that inequality has increased in the past ten years, when in fact the increase has been tectonic."

BusinessInsider has these fantastic satellite pictures of income inequality.

But the real illustration of the past decade's inequality comes from Business Insider's Dear America, You Should Be Mad As Hell About These Charts:

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[Read more...]

What's wrong with the economy?

"One suggested explanation is that when inequality is as large as it is in the United States, it becomes less noticeable—perhaps because people with different incomes and wealth don’t even mix."

It's pretty much true. Tagging along when my parents and grandparents cleaned up after billionaires, the idea would have been preposterous for us and them to mingle for any reason. It was evident that we were allowed onto the premises solely to tend to their whims, and if we did they'd be kind enough to provide payment for services rendered. Being a child with a child's penchant for wandering and possessing a basic grasp of English, I overheard ugliness to be ever wary of the wealthy.

It's bad of me to generalize but it's still rare for people of different income and wealth levels to talk.

Probably because it'd be difficult to believe there'd be anything they could have in common. There's this terrible notion floating around that people remain in their economic spheres by choice - because one "chooses" to be born poor, "chooses" to go through the public school system where one is repeatedly told that they shouldn't "choose" to be left-handed, or "choose" to speak the language they hear at home, or basically have to "choose" between being pretty or being good at math and science. 

People don't make any decisions in a vacuum of objectivity, and that is the most difficult thing for anyone who has some amount of wealth privilege to understand: the "easy" and "obvious" choices they can make are because there's been enough vested interest in their success that failure doesn't mean the same thing as it would to someone without their background. I'm always fully aware that I'm only one mistake away from homelessness, because I didn't know better and no one cared enough to encourage me to stay in the sciences - even though I grew up in arguably one of the most progressive parts of the country where the demand for certain types of skilled knowledge are always in demand. I know that had I made all the stereotypical bad decisions I could have made, I'd have dropped out of high school and wound my way through the prison system, if not found a way to be dead in a ditch somewhere by now. 

And partially because at every turn I was encouraged to silence myself and accept a certain status quo, it's really difficult for me to believe in myself enough to have the courage to say anything at all. Especially because as a WOC, if I happen to say something in the wrong tone, no one's going to hear what I'd have to say in the first place because all they'd notice is that I'm angry, and angry brown ladies are always ignored.

I'd like to think that people can find common ground -- whether it's World Cup or Game of Thrones or Frozen or Oprah or Pharrell's "Happy" or love of animals or pizza or any of thousands of other things in our shared culture.

I do see your point that it's hard for rich people to relate to our struggles and vice versa.

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