Proud Member of the 99%
One thing that we are learning from the Occupy Wall Street movement (and it is a movement!), is that America, the great social experiment and melting pot, has a class system that clearly separates the 99% from our "betters." In fact, any time there is the even a modest mention of making the ultra-rich pay anywhere near their fair share of taxes, the Republicans in Congress, weasels like John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan, begin yelling "class warfare" like so many trained parrots - so even they realize that America has social classes.
Everyone recognizes the class divide, though some mistakenly believe that they have the potential to cross that divide and therefore waste valuable time and energy lobbying aggressively against their own best interests. But moving into the gilded one-percent seldom happens, and indeed the system is set up to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
The rich are very different from you and me. Kim Kardashian, whoever the hell she is, can rise from a position of privilege and spend millions on a vanity wedding - and then announce 72 days later that she is getting a divorce. Brothers Charles and David Koch worked very hard to inherit billions from their Bircher daddy, and they sure as hell don't need advice the pond scum who work for them on how to spend it. Bernie Madoff may be in prison, but he still laughs daily at the stupidity of his investors.
But when it comes to being rudely rich, Americans are a bunch of pikers compared to the crusty old Brits. And, of course, the royal family sets the standard for the abuse of wealth and privilege.
There was an article on the web today that discussed a new expose on the Queen and her spawn entitled Not in Front of the Corgis. It was written by Brian Hoey.
Among other observations in this royal trashing is the fact that Her Highness expects staff not to speak disparagingly in front of her beloved Corgis. The yappy little dogs have the complete run of the palace, and all staff must be prepared to clean up the dogs' little accidents as they occur. That fact is made all the more humiliating by another fact - that the Queen hires her help on the cheap. Royal footmen and housemaids begin their service to the Royal Family at less than 13,634 pounds per year ($21,847). A butler starts at 15,000 pounds per year, or $24,035.
It would seem reasonable that one of the world's richest individuals could afford to pay better, but that would not be a fair assumption. It takes a heck of a lot of people to tend to the Queen and her privileged off-spring. Why, it takes a staff of 133 just to care for Prince Charles and Camilla. The heir to the throne requires a great deal of attention. He insists that his valets iron his shoelaces as soon as his shoes are removed, and he wants his underwear washed as soon as the royal skivvies hit the floor. And Chuckles has sixty suits (at 3,000 pounds a pop) and two hundred handmade shirts. It ain't easy being a royal!
The new book reveals that Prince Philip is the most popular royal with staff, and his youngest son, Prince Edward, is the least loved. Edward apparently wants his chauffeur looking straight ahead, even when the car is stopped. And one time there was hell to pay when Edward arrived at the palace and there was no one standing outside to open his car door.
Yes, those Brits have class warfare and social tyranny down to an art form. The Koch brothers could learn a lot from them!