Friday, February 26, 2016

Let Them Eat Cake!

Although there is no evidence that Queen Marie-Antoinette ever uttered those words, as Wikipedia notes:
[The anecdote] did acquire great symbolic importance in subsequent histories when pro-revolutionary historians sought to demonstrate the obliviousness and selfishness of the French upper classes at that time. As one biographer of the Queen notes, it was a particularly useful phrase to cite because "the staple food of the French peasantry and the working class was bread, absorbing 50 percent of their income, as opposed to 5 percent on fuel; the whole topic of bread was therefore the result of obsessional national interest."
I came across an anecdote explaining a similar obliviousness among the American elite. In an op-ed by Robert Reich on the meaning of Donald Trump's and Bernie Sanders, Reich relates:
A respected political insider recently told me most Americans are largely content. “The economy is in good shape,” he said. “Most Americans are better off than they’ve been in years. The problem has been the major candidates themselves.”
I guess to update the quote in the title: "Let them use foodstamps!"

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