You’ve got a hijacked plane on the tarmac. Your crack team tells you the terrorists have got the rear of the plane well covered. The only way to get in there and save the passengers is to make an assault through the front. You’ll be going in through First Class and then Business before you get to the bulk of the plane. That’s just how it’s set up. If you want to save Coach, you’ve got to save First Class first.
Think about that when you look at how certain policies are structured and sold.
How about attempts to “privatize” social security putting, the masses’ retirement security into stocks and bonds. How about 401(k)s and other defined contribution plans?
Californians: Think Prop 13
What do the examples above have in common? They disperse a small share of an interest to a large part of the population while the bulk of the interest remains held by a relative handful. Those with their tiny sliver will then advocate for anything that protects that little sliver. They’ll cling to it and in doing so provide the mass needed to protect the interests of the whole.
Think about the actions taken to “save the economy” during the recent financial crisis. To prevent a more severe slump in employment and output, we made insolvent banks and their bondholders whole. We bought up and bid up asset values that form the critical collateral for major investors and institutions. That’s the transmission mechanism – through First Class, passing through Business Class and then on to coach. No matter how ugly it gets, we will not call it class warfare 🙂