In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin famously cuts into a conversation by saying "Let's talk about something important" and then screams at Jack Lemmon to "put that coffee down!" That's sorta what I felt like saying to a lot of folks in Washington, D.C. who, as Frank Rich noted this weekend, are normally so insulated on the cocktail party circuit they don't even know what's really plaguing America right now. As long as Beltway-types keep getting their tickets to their fancy events and get to hobnob with other pathetic political dolts, the political Establishment is protected from having to talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
What exactly am I talking about? Wealth inequality. It's the issue that cuts through most - if not all - of America's key challenges today. Wherever you look - whether its health care, jobs, wages, energy or anything else - America needs to start considering the possibility that wealth concentration in the hands of a very few people has a lot to do with our problems. Just look at today's news for a real-world example of the problem. The San Diego Daily Transcript reports that average California households "are making less than half the income necessary to buy a median-priced home" in the state. This, in the same state where mansions are a dime a dozen and the LA freeway often looks like a exotic car convention.
Politicians, of course, don't like to talk about wealth concentration/inequality - they consider it "class warfare." But who is waging the "class war" - those who talk about the major economic problem in our country, or those politicians/fat cats who perpetuate it?