I find it important to remember that everything that happens in society and through government is due to threat of force. That force can take many forms, but it must include a physical threat to inflict significant harm or imprison as means of punishing certain activity. Other threats of force are things like the threat of resources being taken away, but they have to be backed by physical force.
If you don’t live by societies rules, you are punished.
People who are aware that they are being forced to not do something can be extremely upsetting. Those with lower wealth have almost no ability to use resources to improve their situation and are basically dealing with that force at all times. If they stop working, they will not be able to eat and will lose their homes. If they have less money, they must give something up. If something breaks, they have to do without it. There are a lot of people in America living like that. It is not a lifestyle that is generally taken by choice.
It’s easy to overlook how upsetting a threat of force with so little recourse can shape someone’s worldview.
A government is based on force entirely. Generally people in aggregate agree that we need a government to perform certain actions for the betterment of society. Government must use force to prevent someone from killing or injuring another person. In a capitalist society, government also should prevent someone from destroying or taking objects (property) that they have no rights to. These rules apply to people within the society and those from the outside attacking. There are a few others but beyond that there is a lot of disagreement on how government should exert force.
The challenge is how to balance most efficiently society’s desire to allow for creation of resources with the desire for stability and security. If there is one guy (Mr. Palace) who runs everything in the country and lives an opulent lifestyle while everyone else sleeps in wet leaves every night people will quickly realize that they can just attack Mr. Palace and take everything that he thought was his. Mr. Palace is aware of this, so he hires guards. He has to give the guards something more then the leaf sleepers, or they’ll revolt against him as well. He also must convince the guards that they have it good enough because of him to not overthrow him.
This analogy goes further, but we have what we need there. The problem we are having in American society now is that there are two sides that both are envious of those at the top. There is no Mr. Palace in our society, but around 1 in 1000 people are the guards. They are guarding what they perceive as theirs and would never revolt as things are pretty damn good. The guards have managed to make those two sides fight each other instead of looking at their opulent lifestyle and working together to find an equitable solution for everyone.
Are abortion and other wedge issues so important that you’d give up having $200,000 more in your lifetime? The average wealth (assets) across everyone in the United States is around $200,000. This is the basis of wealth inequality, and is a much bigger issue in comparison to income inequality. I don’t give a crap what my taxes are like if I have $10,000,000 in the bank that will never be taxed. It only helps me marginally that you have put a lower tax rate on the capital gains I make from that money.
We are an extremely wealthy country and the system we have had in place works amazingly well. We continue to fight over issues where people we don’t agree with through threat of force want to change the world around us. When the “other” political party gets elected, the impacts on our lives can be meaningful. Putting candidates into our government who see policies that help the 99.9% in a way that is as simple as not tilting through regulations (or the lack thereof) towards the incumbents is what we need to do.
We are electing politicians because we fear the threats of force they come with. Instead of one half of the US electing people to hurt the other half, can’t we elect people who want nothing more then to bring the .1% out of the stratosphere of wealth they are in?