Relative Deprivation and Trump Appeal
Most people would choose a 3000 sq-ft. house over a 4000 sq-ft. home — if that’s the only way that their house could be bigger than everyone else’s.
That may help to explain Donald Trump’s appeal.
The white working-class (Tump’s biggest supporters) have plummeted in relative status over the last 40 years.
Their wages have languished or fallen even as minorities have gained ground — threatening white privilege and dominance, points out Thomas Edsall at the New York Times. Plus, the buying power of the top 10% has kept many goods and services beyond their reach, he adds. Read the rest of this entry
American Hunger Games
In the futuristic country of Panem of North America, young Katniss hones her archery skills to supplement her family’s meager meals in
a world where roses are unimaginable, and bread is a commodity so valuable that its arrival is a symbol from the heavens and it can create emotional ties that last a lifetime.
Amidst the impoverished masses dwell a wealthy few who dance beneath crystal chandeliers, turn platinum doorknobs, and embody their excess in elaborate hair, make-up and fashion — one dress is even designed to flame as it twirls.
The elite have invented “The Hunger Games,” a reality show to distract the masses, enthralling them with impoverished contenders picked by lottery to compete to the death — of all but one.
But perhaps these games are not so fictional.
In the last 40 years nearly all of our GDP gains have gone to the top 1%. And some of that 1% want to end food stamps — 80% of which goes to families with children, the disabled, and the poor elderly. Others are working poor.
Meanwhile, rising inequality squeezes the middle-class, with more and more dropping into the lower classes and, sometimes, poverty.
As the rich give big campaign contributions, the middle-class bails out Wall Street. The rich get tax shelters and tax preferences to offshore work. And they gain “right to work” (for less) laws. Minimum wage stays stagnant. Too many Walmart workers must apply for food stamps. Yes, the rest of us are supplementing the wealthy Walton family.
And in fact, House Republicans voted to both subsidize Big Agriculture and eliminate food stamps.
Government has no right to take people’s money and give it to the poor. But it’s a-okay to give it to the rich, as Paul Krugman points out. He continues:
Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies.
So the wealthy build helipads on top of penthouses and abandon kids unable to focus in school due to hunger pangs. Uneducated, they are more likely to drop out, get pregnant or go to jail.
Now, create a distraction by blaming the poor. It’s that hungry child’s fault that she can’t eat because she’s just too lazy to work, or wasn’t clever enough to be born into Sam Walton’s family?
Or, try to end public education to make the common folk that much easier to manipulate.
America is moving from democracy to plutocracy: the rule of the rich. If you would like your members of Congress to listen to you instead of Money Bags, get in touch with one of the following: Common Cause, Move To Amend, Rootstrikers or do your own Google search.
And if you’d like to help end hunger and poverty, contact RESULTS.
Because right now the odds are never in your favor.
Thanks to Alyssa Rosenberg @ ThinkProgress for a couple of these quotes.
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