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Kiss Goldman Sachs Goodbye

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Photo credit: Robin Holland

For decades the Republicans won with tall, good-looking candidates who purported to represent the flag- and family-loving “little guy.” Romney seemed cut from the mold — an actual hereditary member of the 1 percent who spoke eloquently about the sufferings of the unemployed. But then he made his “47 percent” remarks and was revealed as a centi-millionaire who lives in his own bubble of super-wealth and has probably never ridden a city bus, punched a time clock, or dodged a collection agency in his life.

Part of the problem I think is that class polarization has gotten so extreme in this country that it’s almost impossible to find super-rich guys who can even impersonate regular people. We are a nation of the very rich and the very poor, with a lot overworked, stressed-out scramblers in the middle, who can occasionally be mobilized against “entitlements.”

Rhetoric about an imagined universal “middle class” won’t cover up the gaps. I’m waiting for Obama to recognize the existence of widespread poverty — not just the 15 percent who are officially under the poverty line, but the 30 or more percent who barely getting by from week to week. Mr. President, kiss Goldman Sachs goodbye and bail out your real constituency!

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, This Land Is Their Land, and Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America.

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