The Rich Get Richer…
Word is that the Nationals have signed free agent pitcher Max Scherzer to a seven-year deal. Scherzer joins Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Doug Fister and Tanner Roark in an unbelievable rotation. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Nationals win a hundred games in 2015. They led the N.L. with 96 wins last year, and that was with Bryce Harper missing 62 games, and Ryan Zimmerman missing 101 games. Adding Scherzer to this squad is akin to cutting Mitt Romney’s capital gains tax by another 10%. The rich just got richer.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, the world’s richest 85 people now have as much wealth as the world’s poorest 3.5 billion. Oxfam now estimates that by next year, the richest 1% will own about 50% of the world’s wealth. Currently in the U.S., the bottom 90% of American families average wealth is exactly the same as it was in 1986, meaning that despite all the productivity gains that have occurred over the past quarter of a century, in effect, none of those gains have benefited the vast majority of Americans. The richest 10%, however, have seen their cumulative wealth triple during that same period of time.
The wealthiest 1% will soon own more than the rest of us combined. Yet, in a gratuitous display of ignorance characterized by being completely immune from the real world, in a recent poll, the wealthy apparently truly believe that the poor “have it easy.”
But Americans have long history of obsequious fascination with the rich, and the upper middle class in particular seem to personally identify with the wealthiest Americans more than they do with the poorest Americans, or even with the working class, to whom in reality they are much closer (economically speaking) than they are to the wealthy.
Similarly, in baseball, Americans love a winner. With the impressive roster that the Nationals have accumulated this year, attendance should be strong in Washington, D.C. for the Nats home games, just as it was in New York when the Yankees were the strongest team in baseball about fifteen years ago.
A nation of optimists, we identify with those who publicly display confidence, success and a sunny disposition, as Americans did when Ronald Reagan was President during the 1980’s. We live vicariously through their success stories as we dream that someday they could one day be our own, even as those with the sunny smiles are already busily creating the conditions that actually ensure fewer and fewer of us will ever be able to reach those lofty summits.
While no one should feel sorry for the mere millionaires who own the struggling Major League franchises due to sheer incompetence or poorly executed planning, for the millions of struggling people in America, and throughout the world, life is not a game where we even if we screw up, at the end of the day we still get to sit in our private luxury box, secure and confident in our privileged lives which we begin to rationalize are of necessity worth far more than the lives of the millions around us, and of whom even God himself must deign to smile upon if he hopes to remain relevant.