The new Gilded Age

Via Gin and Tacos, this quote from Jay Gould sums up contemporary America as well as it did the Gilded Age:

I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

It’s probably too long for a category title, unfortunately.

24 replies
  1. 1
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Why bother hiring them? Just point at people who share some physical trait and say to the others “They’re coming for your guns and women!”

  2. 2
    Midnight Marauder says:

    It’s probably too long for a category title, unfortunately.

    I propose “Working Class Thunderdome.”

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    You probably can.

    There are more people now than there is actual work (for human sustainment) to employ.

    But the paradigm that one MUST “work for a living” remains.

  4. 4
    BGinCHI says:

    What percentage of the lower class in this country are in the military and/or National Guard?

  5. 5
    crack says:

    It should definitely make the random blog tagline.

    ‘This blog can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.’

  6. 6
    David Koch says:

    I nominate a rotating blog title “The First Domino”

  7. 7
    David Koch says:

    or more appropriately, “This Blog is the First Domino”

  8. 8
    James E Powell says:

    From the linked article:

    Never before or since have the rich been so rich, the working class so poor, the politicians so supine. The richest 1 percent owned 26 percent of the wealth, and the richest 10 percent owned 72 percent.

    Aren’t we pretty close to that right now?

  9. 9
    MikeTheZ says:

    @James E Powell: By some estimates we’re actually past that now. The most recent data is pre crash and the inequality gap exploded since then.

  10. 10
    Poopyman says:

    Xe is the new Pinkerton’s.

  11. 11
    chopper says:

    really a great read. it’s interesting and frightening to watch america sell itself out, social layer by layer, starting at the bottom. all out of sheer spite.

    watching each group of people become the right-wing bogeyman du jour is pretty scary. first it was the poor and uneducated, then it was unskilled blue collar workers, now it’s educated blue-to-white collar civil servants like teachers, then it’s going to be white collar government workers.

  12. 12
    Peter A says:

    “There are more people now than there is actual work (for human sustainment) to employ.”

    This is why God created indie rock.

  13. 13
    dadanarchist says:

    @Midnight Marauder: I propose “Working Class Thunderdome.”

    This.

  14. 14
    trollhattan says:

    All will soon be discussed in the Caribbean.

    http://instaputz.blogspot.com/2011/02/jesus.html

    Does North Korea ever operate one of those little subs there?

  15. 15
    Matt in HB says:

    Was going to suggest Divide and Conquer as a category, but Working Class Thunderdome beats that easily.

  16. 16
    Hawes says:

    How about we take the title of Nell Irvin Painter’s book, as cribbed from Teddy Roosvelt: Standing at Armageddon.

    We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord Soros.

  17. 17
    wengler says:

    …and then I can lay off half of those.

  18. 18
    Mark S. says:

    When workers complained of low wages, they earned the admonishments of leaders like Henry Ward Beecher, who scoffed when he heard that laborers could not afford butter for their bread on a dollar a day. “Man cannot live by bread alone,” he thundered in a sermon, “but the man who cannot live on bread and water is not fit to live.”

    Sort of missing the point.

  19. 19
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Hey, there’s still a lot of ways it could get worse. In the UK, in 1901, the House of Lords determined in Taff Vale Railway Co. v Amalgamated Society of Railway_Servants that unions are financially liable for their own employers’ lost profits due to strikes.

    I’m taking bets on how long before this one makes a comeback.

    (The decision was reversed by 1906 legislation, but one can never count on justice triumphing in the end.)

  20. 20
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    “watching each group of people become the right-wing bogeyman du jour is pretty scary. first it was the poor and uneducated, then it was unskilled blue collar workers, now it’s educated blue-to-white collar civil servants like teachers, then it’s going to be white collar government workers.”

    You forgot people of color (as the Macaca moment and anti-immigrant campaigns showed, it isn’t just African-americans who get hit), and teh geyz, and feminazis.

    The fortunate thing is that when they alienate a group, those alienated remember the bitch-slap and go off the GOP for a generation. They turned Hispanics (except Cubans) into a solid Democratic voting bloc with their xenophobia in the 1990s, and the union stuff is going to turn union households from ~60% Dem to >80% Dem. That’s a 2% swing nationwide, which even Kochbucks would have a hard time overcoming.

    I remember a UK sci-fi comic where the oppressive government, after persecutiing aliens (as in extra-terrestrial aliens) had to decide on a new target, and chose freckled people. I’m half expecting Palin to start ragging on ginger-haired freckled people any minute.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    @BGinCHI: Traditionally it only took a small force of heavily armed men occasionally backed by government forces to shut down working class actions by violence.

    Attacking more vulnerable targets such as their families and homes helps improve the productivity of union busters.

    And of course you don’t need that many people to carry out actions as the “Palmer Raids”, throwing thousands in jail, throwing hundreds out of the country, and making sure that restrictions such as arrest warrants and 4th Amendment guarantees and so forth would be tossed out any time it seemed interesting to do so.

    Sometimes you get interfering judgest who are Communist themselves, or worse, Yankees, who free these seditious bastard union members from jail for petty “violations” of rights and beatings and other minor stuff, and they say things like

    …[A] mob is a mob, whether made up of government officials acting under instructions from the Department of Justice, or of criminals, loafers and the vicious classes.

    These days, though, I’m not sure that “a scorching indictment of the Department of Justice” by a judge ruling against the blunt un-Constitutionality of the DOJ would matter much.

  22. 22
    Neil says:

    I’m sorry, but why hasn’t this been added to the rotating blog catchphrase header thingy yet?

  23. 23
    Triassic Sands says:

    I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

    Life is so unfair. Why couldn’t my father have been the warm, caring individual who uttered those heartfelt words?

  24. 24
    mclaren says:

    And you can pay ’em in barbecued Long Pig.

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