It's time to expose this grand larceny and reverse thirty-plus years of the massive transfer of wealth upward. Our society cannot survive with a tiny number of filthy rich and everybody else poor.
Horatio Alger was always a filthy lie. The fact is if you worked hard and played by the rules, you generally stayed poor because you didn't have the connections:
The story goes like this: America’s affluent are affluent because they made the right lifestyle choices. They got themselves good educations, they got and stayed married, and so on. Basically, affluence is a reward for adhering to the Victorian virtues.
What’s wrong with this story? Even on its own terms, it postulates opportunities that don’t exist. For example, how are children of the poor, or even the working class, supposed to get a good education in an era of declining support for and sharply rising tuition at public universities? Even social indicators like family stability are, to an important extent, economic phenomena: nothing takes a toll on family values like lack of employment opportunities.
But the main thing about this myth is that it misidentifies the winners from growing inequality. White-collar professionals, even if married to each other, are only doing O.K. The big winners are a much smaller group. The Occupy movement popularized the concept of the “1 percent,” which is a good shorthand for the rising elite, but if anything includes too many people: most of the gains of the top 1 percent have in fact gone to an even tinier elite, the top 0.1 percent.
It's almost exclusively the Forbes top 400 and those just under it who have made off with the spoils that the rest of us have produced.
It was critical these crooks and sociopaths bought off D.C. politicians in both political parties in order to get and keep "their" wealth. It truly started with the Reagan era and its infatuation with Milton Friedman's crackpot ideas, which sought to make "intellectual" arguments in support of the divine right of the tiny number of economic elites to rule and screw over everybody else.