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if you think about it, saying that middle class/poor ppl are “just jealous” is a great tactic for disparaging income equality. it becomes about jealousy instead of neighborhoods and schools and all the other factors that can actually be changed.
As jessica-messica said:
“You’re just jealous of the rich!” seems less like an actual reality on the street and more like a lie the rich sell us to hurl at anyone in our income bracket who is critical of their bullshit. At least in my experience
I don’t think most Americans would freely admit being “jealous” of rich people, or would say that those are their motives for doing anything, because the answer is always, “THIS IS AMERICA. WORK HARD. BOOTSTRAPS.” I know that if I told my family that I thought the rich should be taxed higher because I was jealous, I would never hear the end of it. They would tell me I was lazy. They’d yell at me and tell me to work harder and save my money and some day I will have the American dream. That’s what Republicans hear when liberals talk about economic disparity - they see it as a character flaw on the part of the liberals: “They’re just lazy and they don’t want to work hard they want things handed to them. LAZY. BOOTSTRAPS.” The idea that in America you can work hard and become rich is so deeply ingrained in our culture that any talk about helping the poor - aside from private charity and church groups - is absolutely abhorrent to many people, even people who are poor and who would benefit from certain policies. Because “those people” are lazy. They’re “taking my money.”
In our conversation about healthcare reform my brother - who works part time and lives in my mom’s basement and who only has healthcare because Obamacare allows children his age to stay on his father’s plan - railed at me saying, “There are people out there who are living on unemployment and getting drunk and they’re basically walking up to you and saying ‘Give me money!’ That’s what this is! Why don’t I walk up to you and say ‘Give me money!’ Would you do it? What kind of an idiot are you that you would give those people money? They won’t go get jobs so why should they take my money and give it to them?”
why is that a brit thing? not being snarky…i’m genuinely curious.
Eh, it’s not totally a Brit thing, necessarily, but I just felt like he was fundamentally missing the point by continuously asking people about what they think of richer people. An American would have known that if he wanted strong opinions, he would have asked about poorer people than them, and the way he seemed so surprised by the way the billionaire talked about bus drivers leads me to think that he hasn’t sat through all the hundreds of conversations with uncles and grandparents and brothers and moms and dads talking about “those people” and “they’re taking my money” and “why should I pay for them.” He was feeling envious of the woman above him on the ladder and he was angling to hear these other people express similar emotions, but he wasn’t getting it. He was thinking of the economic disparity talk in terms of people being jealous of the rich, but I think most Americans experience it as resentment of the poor. An American would have sat through hundreds of conversations - like the ones I have with my family and greengrey with her dad - of “why should I work my butt off and then they take my money and give it to welfare queens?” That’s a fundamentally American, I think, viewpoint, and it’s the core difference between Republicans and Democrats. He totally missed it.