FOK News Channel for Thursday, May 5th, 2011
First Guess: Poll Shows We Are Lotto Nation
Video via FOK News Channel
Pollster confirms we are living in Lotto Nation.
I'm Keith Olbermann in New York with a First Guess.
Two weeks ago I did a piece here called Lotto Nation which tried to answer a viewer's question: why are people who will never be rich so adamantly defending tax breaks for the rich? As I put it then, those who are unwittingly collaborating with the Radical Right, those who should want the government to spend every dollar on the people who need it like themselves, those who are instead protecting the rich are convinced - utterly, profoundly, life-alteringly convinced - that they themselves are going to be rich.
It's Lotto Nation. The more easily led are absolutely convinced that they will win the lottery tomorrow. They could have played it for a thousand days in a row and not even won a free second Lotto card, and they remain convinced. They literally believe money will fall from the sky and they will be rich and they will be damned if they'll let the socialists take the money they don't have, and are never gonna get.
That was my guess anyway. But now the Reuters news service has been kind enough to poll 2000 American adults on their economic futures, and the results are jaw-droppingly startling and stupid. 16% of them consider themselves well-off or upper middle class, just 16%. But asked if they will become well-off within 5 to 10 years, the number who say yes: 50%. Half. While two thirds of those polled admit that they are barely keeping their heads above water right now, and that the economy has yet to bottom out, half still believe that they will prevail. That as the country gets poorer, they will get richer.
My goodness, 60% of them think they'll start moving on up within the next year! Please do not tell them just how mathematically impossible this is, unfortunately. What's worse is that while Republicans are exploiting what is in many ways a commendable, admirable, uniquely American spirit, the very Americans they are exploiting think that the Republican cult's answer to all problems - cutting government expenditures - is a mistake. Two thirds believe reducing state and local spending for police and firefighters and education and roads and bridges and mass transit would have a negative impact on themselves and on everybody else.
I'm suddenly reminded of my friend Dirk Hayhurst's book, The Bullpen Gospels. Dirk is the former baseball major league pitcher with the Padres and Bluejays, now returning to form in the minor leagues after an injury. He woke up one day, pitching in the California state league, suddenly realizing that there were ten teams in that league and about 300 players, but only about five of them would ever make it to the big leagues. Those five guys were the Harlem Globetrotters. The other 295 players were the Washington Generals, the team the Globetrotters hired to tour with them and lose to them time after time and night after night. The other 295 guys were the tackling dummies, the practice wives, the chorus, against which the real prospects could just test themselves.
Yet all 295 of those players thought they were the ones who would achieve the stardom. And suddenly, Dirk Hayhurst was the only sheep to realize that he was a sheep.
66% say cutting services will make life worse. 66% say the economy is yet to bottom out, but 60% think their economy will improve by next year. Only 16% consider themselves well-off or upper middle class, yet 50% expect to become well-off in ten years tops.
They are the sheep, they are the practice wives and they are the Washington Generals to the Republicans' Harlem Globetrotters. And worst of all, they're also rooting for the Globetrotters.
I'm Keith Olbermann, see you on Current on June 20th.