Dan Leger writes that, for quite awhile, we have been worshipping at the Altar of Wealth. That worship has been misplaced:
I do admire wealthy people who get there from personal brilliance, creativity and hard work. Kudos to them. But as to envying their bank accounts, what’s the point? The rich and famous get more than enough from society already. They don’t need my admiration, too.
However, the rich do seem to expect admiration as part of their overall entitlement package. It’s how they cement their status as rulers, supported by layers of tax-paying underclasses.
The wealthiest Canadians have been steadily increasing their share of the national wealth since the 1990s and now control much more than ever before. As the rich got vastly richer, the wealth of middle-class and lower-class Canadians barely increased in real terms and the poverty rate remained static.
This is no accident. The fortunate few prosper by influencing public policy to their advantage.
The wealthy have captured our political system. And the story of what has happened south of the border should serve as a cautionary tale:
That is precisely what is happening now. The Donald Trump phenomenon in the U.S. demonstrates both the causes and the effects of this persistent trend. The predatory classes, people like Trump, enrich themselves at cost to literally everyone else.
The lobbyist-laden Trump administration is deregulating consumer protections, downgrading environmental safeguards and undermining labour standards. Then Trump tells gullible Americans it’s good for them.
The result, as the OECD predicted, has been resentment, race-based populism and protectionism, or as Trump calls it, “America First.”
In the end, there is no communicating across the divide. And, when that happens, a nation becomes self destructive.