It’s Cheap To Be Rich

Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight blog posted a piece by Ben Casselman this morning with the title,

Inflation May Hit the Poor Hardest

Yeah, well, Mr. Casselman, everything hits the poor hardest. A bad economy. A good economy. Everything. You know why? Because they’re bleeping poor, that’s why. But to be fair to the author, he was making a point about the fact that not everyone experiences the same rate of inflation. He begins his piece with this:

It’s getting more expensive to be poor.

He says that “families earning less than $20,000,” because they spend a disproportionate amount of their money on things like rent and utilities,

are experiencing a higher rate of inflation than the public at large even as their wages have stagnated…

The poor experience a double whammy: stagnating wages and a higher rate of inflation that eats away a disproportionate share of their purchasing power. And it is even worse than that. Just watch last night’s 60 Minutes segment on the working poor in Virginia’s part of Appalachia. Those folks are not only victims of a faltering local economy, but they are victims of the Republican Party in Virginia, a party that refuses to allow those poor working people to get the health insurance they are entitled to under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision.

So, you’re damned right it is expensive to be poor in America.

But it is damned cheap to be rich.

Sheldon Adelson, from whom God sometimes has to borrow money till payday, is looking to buy himself a Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 race. Last time he spent almost $100 million in a losing effort. But don’t feel sorry for him. He made almost that much in two special hours last week. In any case, he told Forbes that this time he will “spend whatever it takes” to win. And whatever it takes will still be cheap for him.Republican Billionaire Sheldon Adelson

Unfortunately there are plenty of Republicans who want to be bought by Sheldon Adelson, including presidential hopefuls like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, John Kasich, and the groveling Chris Christie, who if Adelson buys him will be getting a bargain, somewhere around $250,000 a pound—and that’s if Adelson only gives another paltry $100 million. Very cheap for a commander-in-chief who could blow up your enemies.

The Supreme Court, staffed by five conservative Republicans who believe that rich people should have a megaphone that matches their money, have now made it easier for Adelson and other moneyed folks to buy up what is left of American democracy. And although there ain’t much left to buy, thanks to Citizens United, what is left won’t cost those wealthy folks all that much. Last year Sheldon Adelson made about $22,000 a minute. In eleven short minutes he made enough to buy a pound of Chris Christie or a half-pound of Jeb! No problem! Cheap, cheap, cheap.

In the mean time, it remains very expensive to be poor, especially in western Virginia where, because of Republicans, folks have to rely on the occasional visits of two saintly nurses driving a raggedy 13-year-old Winnebago-turned-“Health Wagon” in order to stay alive.

health wagon2

7 Comments

  1. Troy

     /  April 7, 2014

    I watched that 60 minute piece last night. How sad, so very sad….. Sad that people still have to live like that in America. Pitiful

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  2. There is a persistent meme in American culture, the belief that if obtained money is not the result of crime, then it is properly “earned” and therefore not to be coveted. Envy is OK. This myth was overturned in the Gilded Age by journalistic exposure to extremes, so I have to wonder how distant the sides have to get before that happens again.

    I think it’s beginning to happen and I’d like to give a big shout-out to Mitt Romney and his passionate 47% speech for getting the ball rolling. This blog helps too, although its sermon is mostly limited to its choir. But others are joining in and now that the ACA is waning as a campaign issue, wealth inequality just might be a major part of the debate this fall. Bring it on, Sheldon.

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  3. Speaking of hypocrisy . . .

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    • Like your hypocrisy clip. We are what we are. However, I’m sure you know as well as I, Herb, that many organized charities are inefficient, top-heavy with executive salaries and perks, or outright scams. Personally, I like to give my charity money directly. Examples:

      A young family man, college student and efficient waiter gets an extra large tip.
      A disabled grocery sacker and cart-retriever gets ditto.
      A maid/housecleaner gets a Christmas bonus check.

      Sign-holders at the Walmart curb don’t qualify – impossible to assess.

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  4. Then again maybe the Babylonians had it right to begin with. From the Code of Hammurabi: “The first duty of government is to protect the powerless against the powerful.”

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