For all the current conversation about income inequality, class is still sort of the elephant in the room.
Oh, people don’t even know. If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets. If the average person could see the Virgin Airlines first-class lounge1, they’d go, “What? What? This is food, and it’s free, and they … what? Massage? Are you kidding me?”
Obama’s been faulted for not showing anger in public, and for not speaking in simple, declarative Bushisms. Of course, the moment he does do that, he’s accused of being an angry black man.
There’s an advantage that Bush had that Obama doesn’t have. People thinking you’re dumb is an advantage. Obama started as a genius. It’s like, What? I’ve got to keep doing that? That’s hard to do! So it’s not that Obama’s disappointing. It’s just his best album might have been his first album.
What has Obama done wrong?
When Obama first got elected, he should have let it all just drop.
Let what drop?
Just let the country flatline. Let the auto industry die. Don’t bail anybody out. In sports, that’s what any new GM does. They make sure that the catastrophe is on the old management and then they clean up. They don’t try to save old management’s mistakes.
That’s clever. You let it all go to hell.
Let it all go to hell knowing good and well this is on them. That way you can implement. You hire your own coach. You get your own players. He could have got way more done. You know, we’ve all been on planes that had tremendous turbulence, but we forget all about it. Now, if you live through a plane crash, you’ll never forget that. Maybe Obama should have let the plane crash. You get credit for bringing somebody back from the dead. You don’t really get credit for helping a sick person by administering antibiotics.
What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t?
I’d do a special on race, but I’d have no black people.
Well, that would be much more revealing.
Yes, that would be an event. Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.
Right. It’s ridiculous.
So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
Five hundred billionaires, 15,000 people all averaging $2,800,000 per year, and every group below them averages a tenth or less in earnings. Look at that list above, and notice the bottom bullet. Everyone from the top 2% through the top 10% averages less than $200,000 per year – 1/120th of our lucky 15,000.
Why point this out? Because people have no idea what life for the 15,000 is actually like, much less life for someone in the David Koch class. When we think of the wealthy, we imagine MacMansions blown big; we conjure pictures we’ve seen from wealthier neighborhoods, and we just … scale up a bit. We see monster Cadillac SUVs and say, “Ah, the very rich.” People who live like us, but with more stuff.
Our image of the very very rich – MacMansions, only scaled up; nice cars, only pricier; like us, but with more toys – is very very wrong. It’s also one reason we haven’t had a class revolt since the New Deal era.
Except even he (Chris Rock) doesn’t scale up enough. These people never ride first class because they never fly commercial. He rides first class; they own airplanes. They don’t own homes, they own estates – so many of them in fact that not one is “home” in the normal sense. Now extend that – for most of these people, not one country is home either.