Ramesh Ponnuru on Tax Cuts on National Review Online: When surveys show that a fifth of the American public thinks it's in the top one percent of the income distribution, and another fifth thinks it's going to be there soon, conservatives generally applaud the public's confidence and optimism.
There are 2 findings there. One is an expectation that a person will do better than they currently are and I agree that can be applauded (though one may be worried about unrealistic expectations).
The second finding is the one that Ponnuru ignores and, to me, the more significant one. We have 20% of the country thinking they are in the top 1%. There is no other word for this than ignorance. This is not optimism. They don't believe something may be true about the future. They believe sometime that is demonstratively false is true currently. Why should this be applauded in any way, shape, or form? Simply put, if you can make people not understand the differences in class, then they will see one group's interests as their own even if it is completely opposite of their own. People think they are rich or nearly so when the truth is that they have no concept of what it is like to be rich.
The inequality of Capitalism largely exists on ignorance. Perfect knowledge automatically leads to transactions that are equitable. I think this is true in a free market as well as politics. People don't support policy like an estate tax because a lot of them believe it will affect them or will hurt the people it does affect. Of course, the problem with repealing the estate tax is it will affect those people in another way they do not know about (elimination of the stepped up cost basis).
My point is the rich seem to have a trait in common. They think they will always "win". And as I said before, a lot of them see themselves as better. So, to them, it is a good thing that the masses are ignorant. It just reinforces that belief because they are not ignorant. They are rich because they are not ignorant. They are not ignorant because they are better. They are better because they are rich.
I am not anti-rich though it may sound like it. I am anti-exploitation. And that is what I see.