Passing a kiosk in France recently, I noticed a magazine on the rack that promised to reveal to the multitude the secrets of the One Percent. The One Percent in question was, of course, that small and now infamous proportion of humanity that is separated from the 99 Percent by its wealth and, presumably, happiness and all other desirable things.
A well-known religious figure is reported to have said: “For ye have the poor with you always.” This is even more the case if economic inequality persists (as the history of the world suggests it might) and poverty is defined in relative terms. The same well-known figure added, however, that “whensoever ye will, ye may do them good.”
One exchange in the second Presidential debate caught my imagination. It was the one in which Mr Romney asked Mr Obama whether he ever thought about his pension, and Mr Obama replied that he did not, but that he was sure that it was smaller than Mr Romney’s.
Of course, Mr Romney’s question was itself an attempt to rebut Mr Obama’s assertion that Mr Romney had invested in companies that had outsourced formerly American jobs to China, with the clear implication that Mr Romney had enriched himself thereby. The point of Mr Romney’s rebuttal was that, almost certainly, and whether he knew it or not, Mr Obama had also invested in companies that outsourced American jobs, ergo, where outsourcing was concerned, they were in the same boat.