Class society

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Aug 9 10:27:14 MDT 2000

>From acceptance speech of Democratic Party vice-presidential candidate
Senator Joseph Lieberman:

"Now eight years ago, the American dream was not alive and well. Remember?
And what strikes me as incredible is that today the same people who let
this nation drift are trying to convince us that the last eight years have
been squandered. Can you believe it? They must go is right. It's
unbelievable. I'll tell you this, if you're one of the 22 million people in
our country who got a new job during the last eight years, you know that
the last eight years were not squandered."


NY Times, August 9, 2000 Fuel Bills Empty Poor Pockets, Unfilled by Boom


BROOKLYN, Iowa -- Every weekday, Darrell Messersmith helps his wife, Donna,
into their 1989 Chevrolet Caprice, loads her wheelchair and cane into the
trunk and drives 22 miles to a hospital in Grinnell. Since having a stroke
in May, Mrs. Messersmith, who is 54, has spent a few hours there each
afternoon learning to walk and talk again.

Once middle class, the couple was already sliding down the economic ladder,
living on Mr. Messersmith's $1,300 monthly disability check after he was
hurt on the job a few years back. So when gasoline prices spiked to $1.80
here this summer, the 220 miles a week of commuting to the hospital took
food out of their mouths. And with natural-gas prices projected to drive
the heating bill up by almost 50 percent this winter, the Messersmiths
expect to cut deeper.

"We can't get all the food we want," Mr. Messersmith, 55, said. "We've
eliminated almost all meat. We will probably cut back more on food. That's
the first place you cut back on."

Full article at:


The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, July 15, 2000

Peach Buzz;  A pricy repast in Big Apple

The signing of the check at Alain Ducasse is a special moment,'' writes New
York Times restaurant critic William Grimes. ''With exquisite timing, a
waiter appears and holds up a velvet display board containing a dozen
finely made pens. It's hard not to feel that you are about to sign a
document imposing humiliating terms of surrender.''

A fixed-price dinner at the New York restaurant, which opened recently, is
$ 160; customers calling for reservations must leave a credit card deposit
of $ 150 a person. The restaurant has one seating a night, is open for
lunch only twice a week and is closed on weekends.

Grimes writes that within days of its phone being hooked up, 2,700
reservation requests were wait-listed. Ducasse has stopped taking

Some of the amenities: a stainless steel six-pack of various kinds of
mineral water; a wine list with a wax seal that needs to be broken; herb
tea, offered at the end of the meal, is created after the waiter arrives
with a cart of herbs growing in pots, grasps the plant, cuts a few leaves
off and brews it.

Grimes' bill (for four people) came to nearly $ 1,500, excluding tip. ''In
one Olympic clean-and-jerk motion,'' he writes, ''I had broken all previous
records by several hundred dollars. I felt the kind of mad exhilaration
that criminals must feel when they've done something terribly, irrevocably

Louis Proyect
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