Wed 13 Jun 2012
I used this phrase once at lunch today (sorry, D) but it came back to mind reading this Felix Salmon review of new books by Tim Noah and the Krug-meister:
Each of these books, in its own way, is an attempt to disabuse the rich of precisely that idea — to explain that while they’re doing perfectly well for themselves, an overwhelming majority of the population, the bottom 80 percent to 90 percent of the country, is struggling hard and has tasted none of the fruits that have been showered on the wealthy.
Take the quarter-century from 1980 to 2005, during which markets soared and America got indisputably richer: over that period, Mr. Noah, a columnist for The New Republic, says that fully 80 percent of the nation’s income gains went to just the top 1 percent. Most Americans’ incomes stagnated, with the middle class getting nowhere. Mr. Krugman takes a shorter view, and demonstrates that the same group suffered dreadfully in the financial crisis, and that its plight continues today. Both of them try to inject urgency back into the national debate, spelling out how unacceptable the status quo is, and calling on the government to do something about it as a matter of the highest priority.
It’s class warfare alright, as surely as this phrase is verboten across the airwaves except as an antidote for any talk about income inequity. It takes journalists with the guts to call this what it is, over and over, and Salmon is one of them. He’s hard on Dr. K, too, but he should be – that’s the point of criticism, even if you agree with the work. We’re not critical enough. We don’t call a spade a spade or a crook a crook when we need to, and this is the skullduggery to which I refer. The corruption runs deep, but our own complicity in overlooking and excusing malfeasance and greed is its chief ally.