“Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term… to the general prey of the rich on the poor”*…
Something massive and important has happened in the United States over the past 50 years: Economic wealth has become increasingly concentrated among a small group of ultra-wealthy Americans.
You can read lengthy books on this subject, like economist Thomas Piketty’s recent best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (the book runs 696 pages and weighs in at 2.5 pounds). You can see references to this in the campaigns of major political candidates this cycle, who talk repeatedly about how something has gone very wrong in America.Donald Trump’s motto is to make America great again, while Bernie Sanders’s campaign has focused on reducing income inequality. And there’s a reason this message is resonating with voters:
It’s grounded in 50 years of reality…
Take the tour at “This cartoon explains how the rich got rich and the poor got poor.”
* Thomas Jefferson
As we take stock of ourselves, we might send yellowish birthday greetings to William Randolph Hearst; he was born on this date in 1863. Hearst built the nation’s largest newspaper chain, and (in competition with Joesph Pulitzer) pioneered the sensational tabloid style– crime! corruption! sex!– that we’ve come to know as “yellow journalism.” The possibly apocryphal, but indicative anecdote that became Hearst’s signature dates to the period just before the Spanish-American War: famed illustrator Frederic Remington, sent by Hearst to Cuba to cover the Cuban War of Independence, telegrammed Hearst to tell him all was quiet in Cuba. Supposedly Hearst responded, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”
Hearst parlayed his power as a publisher into a career in politics, serving two terms in Congress, then losing a series of elections (for Mayor of New York City, twice, and for Governor of New York State). An early supporter of Franklin Roosevelt, Hearst became one of his staunchest– and loudest– opponents.
Hearst’s life was the inspiration for Orson Welles’s classic film Citizen Kane.