I do not usually write posts like this, but this one is too hard to pass up. I published this article on January 10th about the right-wing class envy arguments. Relevant excerpt:
What the conservatives call envy, the leftists call a yearning for equality. What those who scoff at envy really seek to do is shut up those who are calling out privilege and injustice. I understand that conservatives do not think there is any injustice involved in these class issues. Indeed, this has always been the position of the conservative, denying injustices and blocking progress in favor of a status quo that affords them so many unequal and unfair benefits.
The next morning on January 11th, Mitt Romney was asked a series of questions about inequality and his proclamations that Obama was exploiting the politics of envy. Relevant excerpt:
QUESTIONER: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?
ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.
I rest my case. The biggest fear for those on the right is that people will start to understand just how much inequality has grown over the past few decades. The envy claptrap is just the newest effort at trying to keep people quiet about it. Why else does Romney want inequality talked about only in quiet rooms if not to keep people in the dark about it? Romney and the rest of the right-wing knows they have a lot to lose once people figure out just how wealth is distributed in this country:
In this chart, you have what Americans think is the ideal wealth distribution, what they estimate the wealth distribution to be, and what it actually is. Already Americans think the current wealth distribution is not ideal, but they underestimate just how unequal we are. The more they learn, the more upset they will get. I do not know if the right-wing’s accusations of envy will shut down public discussions about inequality, but as Romney’s statements make clear, that is what they are hoping will happen.