Too much or not enough? That is the question

Most recently, we’ve been formulized as a people made up of the 1% wealthy versus the 99% of the struggling middle/working classes and poor, indicating the tiniest portion of us have too much all of the wealth and the largest number of us have not enough, in millions of cases barely enough to live.

It would seem that the Alpha-types are evolution’s children, going out and taking all the loose booty back to the cave to park in their dino-fueled Lamborghinis, and with their $50,000 elevator to bring them up or down to ground level later for a spin.

Less abstractly, two of my wife and I’s closest friends, married and struggling in New York, he an actor, she a school teacher, returned from a 10-day vacation in West Virginia, the mansion home of the woman’s family, her generous father still holding on to a healthy number of wells, both oil and natural gas, though business is down, perhaps due to hydrofracking issues. Her husband described the dramatic differences of those with “too much” or “or not enough” over some Chinese food at our place—our son and their son presently looking for jobs.

His dad, the actor, described being driven for a 70-mph spin with a local car dealer’s wife whose hubby had gifted a $200,000 red- hot Ferrari with the shifting mechanism and braking system all on the steering wheel, along with the AC. The hubby, a multi-car-dealership owner does not describe himself as a Republican but as an Independent, i.e., independently wealthy. The hoi polloi describe or disguise themselves as Indies, for fear of the lumpy proletariat. The name comes from his description of these seriously overweight people, often with long untrimmed beards, the empty gaze of the inbred, toothless, practically speechless, poor folks. At the other end of the body spectrum, are people either anorexic or who look like they haven’t eaten right since adolescence, though they might be aged.

The Independents often live in McMansions or mansions of an earlier time, and dabble in natural gas and oil wells, including hydrofracking, which gives the income a little lift like the gas itself buried and busted out from deep in the earth. Of course, the luckier Republican Indies are a bit sensitive about the hillbillies living in windowless plywood shacks or others thrown together on platforms to avoid rain seepage. My friend the actor mimed some of the folks, semi-hunchback, odd-looking twisted faces, the shadow of inbreeding in the young ones who just stared at him and his wife.

On the other hand, his wife described the family mansion with six bedrooms and four bathrooms as just beautiful, slightly short of Tara from Gone With the Wind.

He described a mile-long Walmart box-store built from red brick and the standard frontage, wherein convenes an array of mondo bizarro types shopping for the Everyday Low-Price, and where everyday seems like Halloween given the outfits and body-shapes. I’ve seen photos of these Walmart shoppers, the rolls of fat spilling over too tight jeans or skin-tight togs, bizarre make-up, haircuts, cross-dressers from the midnight ball of god’s lost children.

She also mentioned that one of the counties (which shall go unnamed) gave an artisan blacksmith money to invite artsy folks to clear a beautiful piece of land from the pox of the poor and their gardens of garbage, dead cars, a tire with a pink-red cross in it (for an abandoned Jesus?), and a montage of spare parts for spare lives, enough junk to fill hell. This clearing was to attract new people.

I felt like I was hearing Tennessee’s James Agee, read from his Pulitzer Prize winning book about the depression poor, Let Us Pause To Praise Famous Men. Ignored on its original publication in 1941, Agee worked with Walker Evans whose starkly moving black and white photographs documented the poverty and dignity of the Appalachian people. The book has since been placed among the greatest literary works of the 20th century by the New York School of Journalism and the New York Public Library.

Returning to West Virginia, I thought I’d pull out some statistics from Wiki on those with too much or too little. You can read through the article for all the various industries that are flourishing there, but here are some statistics on those with “too little” that are relevant.

“In 2003, West Virginia had a three-year average unemployment rate of 5.7%, compared with 5.5% nationwide. In 2002, West Virginia had a per capita market income of $17,856, compared with $26,420 nationwide. In 2000, West Virginia had a poverty rate of 17.9%, compared to 12.4% nationwide. Fifteen counties in West Virginia were designated “distressed,” and sixteen counties were designated ‘at-risk.’

“No county received the ‘attainment’ designation, and only two—Jefferson and Putnam—were designated ‘competitive.’ Nineteen counties were designated ‘transitional,’ meaning they lagged behind the national average on one of the three key indicators. McDowell County had West Virginia’s highest poverty rating (and the third highest in the entire Appalachian region), with 37.7% of its residents living below the poverty line. Kanawha County had West Virginia’s highest per capita income at $25,170 . . .

As to industry, West Virginia lists Chemicals, Biotech, Coal, Alternative Energy, Aerospace, Steel and Polymers, Biometrics, Manufacturing, Printing, Hospitality, Tourism, Agriculture and Banking.

I’m sure the incomes of the “too much” are generated from these temples of industry. And this is just one state, albeit having the only Democratic Rockefeller, Jay Rockefeller, first as governor and now US senator. That may have had some influence in magnetizing “too much” industry, yet leaving everyone else with “too little.” So, what would be the right balance, 50/50, 60/40? 1%/99% seems way out of whack, even for our financial Babel. It’s definitely time for a change.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer, life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at and He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at

2 Responses to Too much or not enough? That is the question

  1. All hail to Wal-Mart and to Wal-Martyrs … Aldi’s is cheaper (though I admit, Aldi’s does not have as manyproducts as Wal-Mart … but on the comparable items they do have … Aldi’s is way better for the pocket fo us proletariats.) O:-) ♥

  2. Happy shopping,
    Jerry Mazza.