In Atlantic City, Kick a Lifeguard, Win a Prize
Socialism for billionaires, free-enterprise for the average Joe
My old friend the fat-cat retired Atlantic City lifeguard pension profiteer is in the news again in this season of “shared sacrifice” here in our fabled Queen of Resorts, this time in the pages of the New York Times, where he’s presented as a symbol, I perceive, of the outrageous greed and excess at the heart of our dilapidated republic. Novice economists might suppose this greed and excess was concentrated within our citadels of high finance, or among the titans of industry—in this case the casino gambling industry—who so enriched themselves while leaving a string of empty eyesores atop our most important natural resource (the beach and boardwalk). This would be incorrect. Our problems here in Atlantic City—generations in the making—are not the result of a concentration of political power in the hands of financiers or gambling moguls, but rather to the unrestrained avarice of our municipal working class. John Steinbeck, that great chronicler of the American everyman, once wrote that socialism never took root in our native soils because the American proletariat does not identify as an exploited working class.