HENRYs or HENRIs?

The New Age of Socialism in America is walking hand in hand with a redefinition of class and the term “rich.” Once, in generations past, there were “rich people” and “poor people” and relatively few in between. The rich were easy to spot with their top hats and carriages, and they generally owned everything and pretty much built this country with their wallets. The poor were also fairly easy to point out. They had one pair of pants, gnarled fingers, little education, and they were everywhere. Many of them labored long, difficult years in the factories of the rich for little pay and few benefits, but the fact that they kept making oodles of babies means this way of life must have been a fairly successful strategy, practically speaking. Since the don of mercantilism and the subsequent emergence of free markets, a range of middle classes have emerged, much better off than their poor predecessors, however orders of magnitude poorer than the still narrow class of the “rich.”

The poor have historically hated the rich, and the rich have correspondingly looked down upon the poor, and the middle classes have consistently sought the approval of the poor and the acceptance of the rich. Generally, they get neither. The poor hate them for being successful where they have failed, and the rich still think of them as poor, so their acquaintance is of little consequence. Governments have traditionally sought power by playing the two against each other, using the political clout of the poor to steal from the rich, and the wealth and power of the rich to manipulate the poor. The middle classes again, fitting neither category well, are often times exploited for their meager wealth and pressured for their political capital, and then generally made to feel guilty by all parties for not “sharing the burden of the poor.” In this effort, the government and society must play a game of semantics with the middle classes. They must appeal to them as potential voters by calling them “hard working” and “average citizen,” yet simultaneously justify taxing them on an absurdly sliding scale along with the “rich,” “wealthy,” and “elite.” The middle classes, always desperate to please, continually fall into this trap. They allow themselves to be called “hard working” in order to win the approval of the poor, and they are flattered at the title of “rich,” so they let the contradictory and disabling definitions stand.

The American government knows the only way it can sponsor sky-high spending and crippling dept is to find new sources of income. One of the simplest means to achieve this is to increase taxes, but no one likes to see tax increases, and consequently they are political time-bombs. So, what can they do? Rather than raise taxes on the rich or the poor or the middle classes, they can simply, yet decisively, redefine the classes themselves. All of a sudden “lower middle class” becomes “middle class,” “middle class” becomes “upper middle class,” and the “upper middle class” becomes “rich.” The rich don’t really care, because they couldn’t care less about anyone lower on the ladder than they are, and they already pay vastly more taxes than the rest of us. The poor think its great, because now there’s an empty slot open for advancement in the “lower middle class.” The middling middle classes get a similar boost in status without a major taxation penalty, so its a win-win for them. And the “upper middle class,” the only group to really get the shaft in the short term are too small of a voting block to worry about. As the government knows, but would only admit under Inquisitorial torture, they aren’t really “rich,” so their financial influence is querulous at best.

Let me make a few bold claims:

1) The nonsense term “hard work” is killing America.

2) As a group, the poor has vastly too much political clout for the limited knowledge they posses.

3) The middle classes need to stop caring about how they are viewed by the rich and poor classes, because the former will always despise them for being poor and the latter will despise them for being rich, and neither will be content to let them succeed in peace.

I was initially planning to just write an intro to an opinion article I read the other day, and it turned into somewhat of a rant. Here’s the article, discussing the current plight of America’s doctor’s, lawyers, and mid-level businessmen. After you read it the title will make more sense.

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