The rate of suicide committed by a white middle-aged person has increased 40% between 1999 and 2010. According to the PEW Research Center, during the Great Recession the drop in the wealth of white households was 16%. Pew has also measured the ground lost by the American middle class between 1970 and 2015. The nation’s aggregate household income has substantially shifted from middle-income to upper-income households, driven by the growing size of the upper-income tier and more rapid gains in income at the top. Fully 49% of U.S. aggregate income went to upper-income households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially from 62% in 1970.
To illustrate this idea better, The Washington Post wrote a report on the income increase of the top 1% earners between 2009 and 2012. This report shows that the income of the bottom 99% decreased by 1.1% while the income of the top 1% increased by 29.1%. This report also points out that the current level of income inequality is reaching that of the 1930’s. The causes for this seismic shift in wealth moving from the bottom 99% percent to the top 1% are varied and diverse – from tax policies to the decline of unions – but what is clear is that the rich and super-rich have benefited greatly from different US policies during the past forty years. And it is clear that the once thriving American middle class is now smaller than the other two extremes combined, and continues to shrink while it gets harder for lower earners to escape poverty. The system is rigged, no doubt about it, but not against the billionaire running for president, who inherited an undetermined sum (calculated between 40 and 200 million dollars) from his father. His silver spoon self is so used to the system working for him that he complains and whines at the first sign of things not going his way. His sense of entitlement is so great that he cannot fathom the possibility of having rules applied to him.
The system is rigged because of the insatiable ambition of people like him, the money hoarders. He is the symptom and the cause, not the remedy to this economic atrocity. He has (by his own admission) used and abused every rule in the book to benefit his business practices. His products are made in China, his buildings built by immigrant labor, his brand directed to the rich and powerful who also, like him, benefited from this unscrupulous system. A company can make the strategic decision to employ a factory in Asia, like a developer can choose to take advantage of immigration by paying low wages or a billionaire construction mogul can sell apartments only to wealthy individuals, but none of these can run around the country saying that they are going to make America great. If from the beginning his business practices have been designed to earn as much as possible regardless of the consequences of these decisions, he does not represent a feasible way to move away from the upward distribution of wealth.
The whining billionaire’s behavior is nothing short of a playground tantrum. Most mental health professionals believe that children who have frequent emotional outbursts are lacking certain skills, among these: impulse control, problem-solving, and delayed gratification. In this case, his lack of preparation has placed him in defensive mode, and like a child who does not like the outcome of the situation, he tries to bend the rules or kick over the game board. But in this game, who he is, unlike in his previous life experiences, is the most detrimental factor to his ambitions.