There are existential threats all around these days. In the long run, I believe the rich are facing one. In the short run, I am. And the poor always are. Here are a few thoughts on modern American.
If there really were class warfare between the 99% and the 1% (actually, more like the 0.1%), then it would no longer be metaphorical. When numbers are this lopsided, the small minority will either be taken out or forced to change. I think the fact that no one is calling for revolution (Even the Occupy Movement just wants a discussion!) indicates we as a people are committed to our political institutions and accepting of high levels of inequality.
Claiming that people who would like to see a wee bit more equality are engaged in class warfare is the height of right wing whining. The truth is that the rich (Especially the super-rich!) should want to see a slightly more egalitarian society. Their lives are great. They should want to preserve it. They should be all for giving alms to the poor—even or perhaps especially the “undeserving” poor. They should be all for calming the anxieties of the middle class. They should be all for fighting environmental threats. If the world goes on tilt due to global warming or there is a revolution because of inequality, all I have to lose is the continued struggle of my crappy life. The rich, however, have very much to lose.
Another thing that bugs me is this idea that people should be rewarded for “risk taking.” We’ve heard this a lot from Mitt Romney, I gather, because if he is deserving of his hundreds of millions, it is because of the risks he’s taken. On its face, this doesn’t make a lot of sense, because Romney was never risking his own money or even his job or reputation. But there is a much bigger issue here: stakes.
Sheldon Adelson is said to be worth roughly $25 billion. I am worth about $10,000. This means that just based upon the numbers, Adelson could invest $10 million in a new company and this would be equivalent to me investing $4 in—What?—a used book for research. So I don’t see why Adelson should be rewarded for his risk taking—he isn’t taking any risk! This goes further, because Adelson could “risk” $20 billion without really risking anything. He would still be wealthy beyond imagining. On the other hand, for me to risk $1000 is a huge risk. It is an existential risk. Adelson would have to risk something like $25.999 billion to start to face an existential risk.
I found this on Crooks & Liars. As bad as Obama is, the stakes in this election are too high to protest. Romney-Ryan really are an existential threat to this country. And this video is very funny in pointing this out: