Unfortunately, this myth is partially true. Especially due to the manner in which mainstream media portrays what it means to be "wealthy" (having lots of stuff and power), most of us harbor an irrational belief that we, too, have a shot at it. In truth, it's a snowball's chance in hell.
Non-mainstream publication Mother Jones, has an excellent article that was forwarded to me by one of my good progressive friends, which he titled "Something even a Tea Partier should be able to understand"
Sure it's important to have the hope of being well rewarded for hard work, brains & creativity. But our current system merely rewards wealth with more wealth and power with more power, regardless of merit. Exceptions abound, of course. But they are few and far between. The reality is that meritless accumulation of wealth is rampant while the highway to the American Dream is in shambles. The attempted union busting in Wisconsin by the billionaire Koch brothers is a recent case in point.
So who cares? Income disparity is a fact of life, right? Yes, to a certain extent. Until it becomes malignant mental illness. Here's an interesting article "Why Income Disparity Matters", a post by Charles Wheelan. The key comment, in my opinion:
"There's a very interesting strain of economic research showing that our sense of well-being is determined more by our relative wealth than by our absolute wealth.
In other words, we care less about how much money we have than we do about how much money we have relative to everyone else. In a fascinating survey, Cornell economist Robert Frank found that a majority of Americans would prefer to earn $100,000 while everyone else earns $85,000, rather than earning $110,000 while everyone else earns $200,000.
Think about it: People would prefer to have less stuff, as long as they have more stuff than the neighbors ."
Is it just me who thinks that's crazy, wacko, bananas, and amazing? What's worse, with the super-rich, I believe they are not happy unless they have more than they did a year ago, or last month, or even yesterday regardless of how they compare to others. They want to be kings and queens except without any sense of responsibility to or leadership of the very society that enables their wealth. That is what's known as sociopathy.
If you research past very successful former civilizations, the number one reason for their demise was wealth disparity. Are we headed down the same chute?