Sunday, August 16, 2015

The REAL Two Americas

Now that the Presidential election campaign is under way, it's time for that time-honored and throughly hackneyed debate topic to rear its ugly head...are their TWO AMERICAS??

Actually, there are probably 18-20 Americas, if you want to get technical about it, but I will concentrate on the Two America shtick here for purposes of clarity. Usually, this trope is most often raised by liberal democrats, although increasingly, republicans have fallen victim to its usage. The basic idea is that America is a horrible place because not everyone is doing equally well. The very existence of wealth means that somewhere, somehow, someone must be poor. The inference is that the wealthy dude came upon his wealth by some fraudulent means, either through inheritance, malfeasance, or chicanery. Insane levels of wealth should shame us. Let me here admit that part of this line of reasoning rings true to me. For example...

How can it be possible that Kanye West is a multi-millionaire ten times over, when a classically trained oboist has to take a second job to pay the rent on his one bedroom apartment in New York City? How is it that Kim Kardashian is worth more money than all the music teachers in American high schools combined? The answer is, of course, that there is absolutely no accounting for taste. Besides, both Mr. West and Ms. Kardashian have obtained their wealth by a series of free exchanges by the individual Americans who watch their shows and buy their records.

Capitalism never promised that it would make the right people rich, only that it would make more people rich than any other economic system ever created. Yes, capitalism has flaws, chief among them  the unavoidably unequal distribution of wealth that always and forever will result so long as talent, ambition, and education are unequally distributed throughout society. But, to hear the Two America's crowd tell it, everyone in America is either rich or poor, so inefficiently has American capitalism allocated resources. Their solution is an invigorated roll for centralized planners in Washington, a much steeper progressive taxation regime, in other words...wealth redistribution, not much different from the old Marxist line about from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.

But, where do I fit in this grim dichotomy? I am certainly not poor, by any measure that a reasonable person might use to determine such things. However, to declare me rich would also be quite a stretch. Most rich people I'm thinking aren't paying off two mortgages and a college loan. Actually, if I were rich, I wouldn't require a loan to educate my kids, but that's another story. Unfortunately, the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clintons of this world all agree that my income places me firmly in the "people from whom wealth must be extracted" list. Well, ok then.

But, enough with this class warfare hogwash. Let's talk about the real dichotomy that exists in America, the one that no politician wants to talk about:

There ARE Two Americas...

1. Southerners...and everybody else.
2. People who love soccer and people who don't.
3. Gamers...and everybody else.
4. People who drink lite beer...and everybody else.
5. People who talk loudly on their cell phones while standing in line in a small enclosed area with twenty other people who don't care to hear the specifics of what this idiot wants for dinner...and everyone else.
6. People who prefer ice in their sweet tea, and those who don't.
7. Hunters...and everybody else.
8. New York Yankee fans...and knowledgable, sportsmanship-loving fans everywhere.
9. People who have all the answers...and people who are just trying to figure stuff out.
10. People who prefer paper...and plastic people.