New York Times' Census Maps Reveal the Truth About US Wealth Disparity

Following up on my post yesterday about the wealthy celebrity Villagers' misapprehension of their Real American bona fides, here are a couple of very interesting maps, courtesy of the NYT census/google map project (via The Big Picture)

Click on the two maps and you will see that average Americans are living very differently than the beltway celebrity millionaires and realistically are as likely to just "go out and get some of that wealth" (as Roger Simon says they should do) as they are to become an Olympic swimmer or a ballerina. Sure, it's possible, but unless you are a really, really great athlete, constructing your future around it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Many of the wealthy in this country continue to see themselves as extra hard-working Joes and Janes who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. (And in fairness some did, although I've noticed that an awful lot of them tend to discount the connections that helped them.) But none are more convinced than the political class, especially the elite punditocracy, which refuses to even acknowledge that they aren't average today and covers itself in the mantle of the great American middle class as it prescribes the need for the "shared sacrifice" of cutting government programs and the social safety net.

It occurs to me that it's one of those potent fantasies, like the fantasies provided by the Hollywood studios in the 1930s featuring characters with odd transatlantic accents wearing designer clothes and living in Penthouses. In that case, it was mere escapist fare, designed to help people get away from the drudgery of the day to day. In this case, the creators of the fantasy truly believe that average Americans live as they do. And the problem is that these particular reality TV stars have a real world effect on policy.

Hullabaloo / By Digby

Posted at December 17, 2010, 7:12am

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