The latest cliché to spew out of self-righteous, self-unaware Republicans like Paul Ryan is this idea of the "dignity of work." This overused phrase is a bad joke when seen through the lens of workers earning $7.25 per hour while billionaires earn that in seconds without lifting a finger.
It’s all very well to talk vaguely about the dignity of work; but the idea that all workers can regard themselves as equal in dignity despite huge disparities in income is just foolish. When you’re in a world where 40 money managers make as much as 300,000 high school teachers, it’s just silly to imagine that there will be any sense, on either side, of equal dignity in work. And one demonstration of this reality is the angry reaction people like me get when we cite facts like this; nobody, and I mean nobody, on the right that I’ve encountered seems willing simply to accept the fact and argue that it’s justified. Instead, they regard pointing out the reality of extreme inequality as somehow inherently outrageous — because they know how explosive that reality is.
As it turns out, by the way, the people who seem least inclined to value work in itself, even if it doesn’t pay very well, are the winners: we live in the age of the angry billionaire, furious if anyone should suggest that his wealth doesn’t entitle him to acclamation as well as luxury.
Not simply acclamation, but adoration. Not only should we pity the angry billionaire, we should do everything in our power to see that he is appeased.