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Gershon Hepner Headshot

Rising Tide

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They used to say a rising tide
could lift all boats, and making those
who're rich more rich would help provide
the poor not just with food and clothes,
but things we all enjoy like cars,
vacations, ladies. Although Gatsby
envied Tom Buchanan, he
thought he'd, with friends who're fat cats, be
raised with a fat cat to the sea,
like Owl, wrapped in a five-pound note,
when sailing with a Pussycat
in a lovely pea green boat.
Marrying, the Owl and Cat
danced, lit by silver of the moon,
but life for us won't be like that,
for, dancing to the piper's tune,
we'll have to pay him soon, because
the rich themselves are getting poorer,
and there's no Wizard now in Oz
who's capable to be our Fuehrer --
not that we'd want one, God forbid!
We all prefer, like King Canute,
to think we can control the tide,
as we our treasury now loot,
from reality to hide.
We'll make all differences dissolve
between the rich and poor since we
will all be poor as we evolve,
responding to calamity
by finding turkeys who will marry us
with rings that cost less than one shilling
because we bought them at cost-plus,
washed up in tides of bail-out billing.

Inspired by an article, "Rise of the Super-Rich Hits a Sobering Wall," by David Leonhardt and and Geraldine Fabrikant in the NYT, August 21, 2009:

The rich have been getting richer for so long that the trend has come to seem almost permanent. They began to pull away from everyone else in the 1970s. By 2006, income was more concentrated at the top than it had been since the late 1920s. The recent news about resurgent Wall Street pay has seemed to suggest that not even the Great Recession could reverse the rise in income inequality. But economists say -- and data is beginning to show -- that a significant change may in fact be under way. The rich, as a group, are no longer getting richer. Over the last two years, they have become poorer. And many may not return to their old levels of wealth and income anytime soon. For every investment banker whose pay has recovered to its prerecession levels, there are several who have lost their jobs -- as well as many wealthy investors who have lost millions. As a result, economists and other analysts say, a 30-year period in which the super-rich became both wealthier and more numerous may now be ending.