Vittert: Fairness is dead; America is now an aristocracy

On Balance with Leland Vittert

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos (Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — We are losing the fundamental fairness of the American economy, and it should make all of us angry. Anybody who isn’t angry should be terrified, because you are the top 1 tenth of 1%.

Don’t believe me? Just ask the rich French and Russians, for this is how their revolutions started, and it didn’t end well for the rich.

We are in New York tonight and the big story here is the most expensive home in the country just went on the market. It’s on the billionaires’ row overlooking Central Park and will set you back a cool $250 million — for reference, that is about 1,100 times more than the average American house.

We’ll get to some of the additional record-setting house sales just this year in a minute. But, while the rich get richer and, literally, move up the ladder to the 130th floor, middle class Americans, not the poor, not the working class, but everybody minus the super rich, take it on the chin.

You want proof? The same week of the world’s most expensive house going up for sale, the Dow had its biggest one day drop in two years — that evaporates our savings, pensions, 401ks. Everything.

Inflation hit another high. Food costs at home are up 13.5% in past year, the largest increase since 1979. Rent is up 6.7% in past year, the highest since 1986. Electricity is up 15.8%, largest since 1981. Health insurance is up 24.3%, the largest ever increase.

The inflation that has already occurred will cost the average American household $8,616 over the next 12 months.

So if you are on a fixed income, this year crushed you.

Mortgage rates are now at 6% compared to nearly 3% a year ago. The average American home costs $400 more every month than it did this time last year. If you’re doing the math, that’s an additional $5,000 per year.

Yet on the same week, the most expensive house in the world went on the market for $250 million.

The billionaires are buying more and more expensive houses.

Brooklyn nets owner Joseph Tsai bought his $188 million home in New York City earlier this year. Last year, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen bought a Malibu property for $177 million. This spring, Oracle Corporation co- founder Larry Ellison bought a mansion in Palm Beach for $173 million.

FILE – In this Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, file photo, Bill Gates, former CEO and co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, arrives for a meeting in Berlin. Microsoft executives in 2008 warned Gates to stop sending flirtatious emails to a female employee but dropped the matter after he told them he would stop, the company revealed Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

And the middle class and working class in America is getting poorer by the day. This is a fundamental reversal of the original bargain we had. Even in 2008, the rich guys got crushed. Now, during the pandemic, the little guy gets crushed and the big guys get even richer.

Billionaires in this country made nearly $2 trillion dollars between March of 2020 and May of this year. That’s $2 billion dollars a day and $25,000 a second.

Here are just a few examples: Elon musk’s net worth rose $230 billion. Jeff Bezos is now worth an extra $37 billion. Bill Gates’ wealth rose $31 billion.

John Kennedy, who came from one of America’s richest families, understood this can’t work.

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich,” Kennedy said in 1961.

America was built on the idea of fundamentally fair play and people didn’t mind guys getting rich. If they did, well, then you have a chance. If Sam Walton can do it, so can my kid. Now, people rightfully believe they don’t have a chance and the deck is stacked against them and its worse for their kids.

Right now, only 30% of Americans believe in the American dream. That’s awful.

The dream is what binds us together. The dream is what we all believe in, until we don’t.

America never had a class problem. We were born free of the European entrenched aristocracy. I didn’t come up with that idea, someone smarter than me did. But it’s true. America was exceptionally free and Americans were exceptionally free to go from the broom closet to the castle.

It was fair. Fairness, too, is a uniquely American idea.

Now, not so much. It’s not fair anymore. It’s about class now, and that is a dangerous thing. We have an aristocracy, their wealth will last until the end of time.

History tells us when a country divides on class things don’t end well.  Just think about the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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