Billionaire Jeff Greene is taking lots of flack for saying “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”
The Denver Post called it “patronizing twaddle.”
That bastion of enlightnment, the Daily Mail, makes much of the facts that Mr. Greene flew to Davos on a private jet with two nannies, and that he’s selling his Beverly Hills estate for $195 million.
Nobody, however, is arguing with him on the merits of his claim. He said, “I’m remarkably long for my level of pessimism,” he said. “Our economy is in deep trouble. We need to be honest with ourselves. We’ve had a realistic level of job destruction, and those jobs aren’t coming back.”
Mr. Greene, of course, is just voicing an unpopular truth. Mr. Greene made much of his money by being right about sub-prime mortgages, and he’s right again.
The U.S. is going to look like Mexico, or Chile, if we don’t turn current trends around. By 2016, the richest one percent will own as much as the rest of the world combined,according to this story from Oxfam. And yeah, Americans have a big leg up on the impoverished continents, but the middle class is a lot worse off than it was ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago.
The Republicans are going to take heat for that in 2016, even though both political parties are to blame. The Republicans have made helping out the rich one of their brand values. The Democrats do it, too, but they don’t talk about it.
Because so many people in El Paso are poor, El Paso is going to get a lot poorer faster. Oh, we’ll still be buoyed by the federal tit, by Fort Bliss, and the federal law enforcement presence on the border. That steady breeze of government largess will fill some sails, but the poor will be fighting for lifeboats and life preservers.