THE BLOG
01/04/2011 05:21 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

I saw some intriguing connections between four purportedly unrelated articles that appeared in the New York Times since New Year's Eve.

Here's a story, "Real Estate Developers Prosper Despite Defaults," about, well, about how there's no failure in failure for developers. Summing up,

there have been surprisingly few career fatalities among New York developers, even though they have lost billions of investor dollars on overpriced real estate and have littered the city with unfinished apartment buildings. While a homeowner who lost a house to foreclosure would find it difficult to borrow for years, developers who defaulted on enormous loans have still been able to attract money...

And here's a story, "Public Workers Face Outrage as Budget Crises Grow," at how angry many people are at people essentially in their own economic class who have some degree of job, wage and benefit protection in an increasingly brutal climate:

Ever since Marie Corfield's confrontation with Gov. Chris Christie this fall over the state's education cuts became a YouTube classic, she has received a stream of vituperative e-mails and Facebook postings.

[...]

Across the nation, a rising irritation with public employee unions is palpable, as a wounded economy has blown gaping holes in state, city and town budgets, and revealed that some public pension funds dangle perilously close to bankruptcy...

Then there's this piece about how excited people are about New York's new governor, especially about... his celebrity girlfriend:

Andrew M. Cuomo flung open the doors of the Executive Mansion on Saturday, saying he wanted people to feel connected once again to their state government.

But for some visitors, the real draw was not transparency, or even the newly inaugurated Mr. Cuomo. It was his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, the Food Network star, who for a time greeted guests alongside him in the mansion's cavernous receiving hall, in front of a fireplace festooned with oversize Christmas bulbs and pine cones.

But here's my favorite part:

Carol Robbins, a teacher, and her husband, Richard, an information-technology specialist for the state's corrections department, who live in Columbia County, most wanted to greet Ms. Lee, whose television program they watched together, or former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, who, like Mr. Robbins, attended St. John's University.

They did not meet either of them, but the younger Mr. Cuomo was an appealing consolation. "I'm hoping he's going to do a good job, too," Mr. Robbins said. [emphasis added]

Then, a couple of days later, I saw this, headlined "Strained States Turning to Laws to Curb Labor Unions." I suppose you can guess the crux of this one.

Anyway, add it all together, and what you seem to get is this: really wealthy people who make huge gambles that they can charge people up the wazoo for their shelter do fine no matter how badly their bets turn out. Meanwhile, we're really angry that teachers and others who trudge in to work every day to educate our kids like to have some assurance they'll be able to pay their bills. And, the pièce de résistance is this: people are really, really interested in a host from the Food Network. Even a teacher and a state employee are more interested in celebrity fantasy than in grappling with issues that actually affect their daily lives. And, given what we see happening, who can blame them?