Why do the media leap all over any comment that puts the spotlight on the poor? I sincerely believe there is a Faustian deal between the "poor" and those that would "protect" them that's resulted in generational poverty. The first trick is to get people to believe they are part of a class, in this case, the poor class.
The second trick is to get them to tie their futures to those of their neighbors, so instead of overcoming hurdles of life to achieve success they are anchored to communities where the pressure is to play the victim card. While there is strength in numbers, there is also weakness and the urge to be bold.
What we're facing in America over the course of this year isn't new and, in fact, has been part of the fabric of western civilization for centuries.
The Peasant War
I really hate the idea we are a nation of classes when we are, in fact, a mobile nation where people move up and down the economic ladder. You can be born poor and die rich and vice-versa in this country, and it has less to do with class and race than grit and determination. In fact, Tocqueville marveled at how Americans from each economic bracket thought they could be rich in this nation.
In Europe you were born into a class and that's where you died. This is the backdrop for the original wars over class and opportunity.
In 1524 a petition titled "Twelve Articles" was presented to the Holy Roman Empire on behalf of Germany peasants. The leader of this movement, Thomas Munzer, claimed to have been penetrated by divine will. Yet, the movement morphed into a secular battle that saw peasant insurrections including one at Muhlhausen in 1525 that dissolved the town council, confiscated Church property and created a communistic community. That uprising was put down and Munzer was tortured and executed. Yet, this was the last uprising in Europe before the French Revolution, and its roots are said to have influenced Karl Marx and other socialists and communists.
German peasants were seeking the abolition of cattle tithes, a death tax, and to preserve all common fields, forest and water so they could also hunt and fish. These were reasonable request, and there was indeed a class system in 16th century Germany that meant success in life was decided at birth. Today's America is not 16th century Germany where the class system was entrenched:
The very poor in America are well taken care of and live a lifestyle better than the overwhelming majority of the rest of the planet. Poor Americans get gout, once called the "rich man's disease" and diabetes from obesity. I had a great interview with Tucker Carlson on Payne Nation last night, and we discussed the difference between the very poor and working poor. I've seen it first hand, and it's where the Faustian deal often begins and is acceptable. One person works for low wages and lives in the same neighborhood as someone that doesn't work but has all the same stuff. At some point a decision has to be made, and all too often it's for the working person to join the club, get political cover and a steady check and benefits.
Mitt Romney and President Obama should be concerned about the very poor because they stopped believing in the greatness of America. They can't see what has been a key fabric of our country going back to the visit from Tocqueville. But it's not our pity they deserve but a serious hand and push to get into the mix. If President Obama insists this is an unfair nation because high school dropouts aren't corporate CEOs and people that can't pass drug test don't get jobs driving long haul tractor trailers then I say fine. Let's go with that notion and make a new pact to replace that Faustian deal.
Everyone gets a fair shake and no excuses or finger pointing afterward
I think it's a better tradeoff that puts pressure on everyone to stand and deliver rather than sit back and collect a check and still somehow be a victim in this great country of ours.
"I'm gonna go down in history as being one of the best music men and businessmen in entertainment ... The people that I'm going to be greater than are Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Clive Davis." -- Diddy
Listening to Ben Bernanke calmly talk about his ability to stem a massive tidal wave of future inflation brought to mind some of the cockiest quotes I've ever heard. In the world of sports and entertainment, arrogance is said to be a key component toward achieving success, but we all know it's the main reason for many a spectacular fall from grace. I cringe when the Chairman of the Federal Reserve says he could simply sell assets or dip into a magic bag of tricks and no matter how much momentum is behind it, stem the rise of inflation. These days, everyone is a star and learns how to speak in public and gets handlers, and it feels so much like Hollywood.
I wonder if the glare of that fame part of the gig is getting to Bernanke, or does he really think he's that good? One thing for sure is that sooner or later we are going to find out, and I fear it's not going to be pretty. Gold is already screaming about this inevitable battle and saying Bernanke is going down but not as the greatest Fed chairman ever, just like P Diddy isn't going to have a larger bust than Spielberg, Geffen or Clive David in the Music Hall of Fame. But P Diddy and Ben Bernanke will share a lot in common including the fact we are going to party from their efforts.
Yes, stocks are rocking and the Fed gets 90% of the credit, and this party is just getting started, unless those harsh anti-business policies prove too much even with the money printers working overtime.