Inequality and the Luxury of Privilege

[Content Note: Class warfare.]

Paul Krugman's Sunday column is about "inequality denial" and the bullshit arguments used to try to "debunk" the idea that wealth inequality in the US has risen sharply.
In short, this latest attempt to debunk the notion that we've become a vastly more unequal society has itself been debunked. And you should have expected that. There are so many independent indicators pointing to sharply rising inequality, from the soaring prices of high-end real estate to the booming markets for luxury goods, that any claim that inequality isn't rising almost has to be based on faulty data analysis.

Yet inequality denial persists, for pretty much the same reasons that climate change denial persists: there are powerful groups with a strong interest in rejecting the facts, or at least creating a fog of doubt.

...So here's what you need to know: Yes, the concentration of both income and wealth in the hands of a few people has increased greatly over the past few decades.
It seems almost unfathomable that anyone could try to claim otherwise with a straight face, because merely looking around oneself is sufficient evidence for most people of increasing wealth inequality in the US. We can see this with our own eyes; we don't need economic studies to tell us what we know from living in the world.

But of course the 1percenters don't live in the same world that we do. They don't see with their own eyes the same things that we see. They don't attend weekend barbecues with people who are unemployed and can't find work; they don't notice the little signs of decay, or the big signs, depending on one's town of residence, signaling a permanent shift in municipal thrive; they don't talk with their friends about how lots of families like theirs used to get by on a single adult income, and now families of the same size are struggling with two adult incomes, or more. Tommy and his kids had to move back in with his parents.

These aren't conversations that the 1percenters are having. Because they are utterly detached from the people to whom this is happening.

They don't have to know. They don't have to care. They don't have to understand. To deny this reality that is not even debatable, because it is just as much a fact of life as the air we breathe, is a luxury of their privilege.

To casually elide the accelerating decimation of the US middle class as some sort of liberal hoax is a luxury of their privilege.

To cruelly attribute entrenched, generational poverty in the US in both urban and rural areas as evidence of laziness or dependence or personal irresponsibility, or whatever garbage buzzwords they're using these days, is a luxury of their privilege.

To claim without compunction that they are not actively facilitating wealth inequality by exploiting people outside their class is a luxury of their privilege.

Such breathtaking indecency is a coveted luxury item these days indeed.

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