LEXINTGON, Ky. – On Wednesday, Feb. 9, in an excellent example of how capitalism works, University of Kentucky President Dr. Lee Todd, Jr. gave his colleague and friend Mitch Barnhart, UK Athletics Director since 2002, a 3-year contract extension and a 6-figure salary raise. This means that Mr. Barnhart is guaranteed a job until 2019, and it means he now makes $600,000 annually. This situation highlights several distinct features of class in America.
1. Working class: no job guarantees, layoffs at the slightest downturn in production, constant job insecurity; Ruling class: job contracts, contract extensions, job guarantees;
2. Working class: stagnating wages, pay freezes, wage reductions via furloughs, inability to save anything, insecurity even in the best of times; Ruling class: 6 figure pay raises on top of an already bloated salary, the ability to save and invest, security even in the worst of times;
3. Working class: no say in how much money anyone makes; ruling class: the ability to give your friends 6-figure salary raises with no oversight or accountability to anyone.
The myth of America is that there is no class. Any talk about “ruling class” or “bourgeoisie” or “proletariat” is old-fashioned and not applicable to the egalitarianism of the United States, according to the mythology. In fact, any mention of class in the public debate is decried with shouts of “class warfare!”
But, in spite of our reluctance to admit the truth, there are indeed economic classes in America. As financier Warren Buffet said: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”