As the heavy-weight champion of the world from 1908-1915 "for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth."
He was not only famous, but extremely wealthy as well. He owned a large mansion, a night club (the COTTON CLUB), drove fast cars, and had numerous affairs with women of all ages and races (which would eventually land him in jail). What makes the story of Jack Johnson relevant to this discussion was his attitude. He wasn't a champion of equal rights, or "negro issues" or anything particularly liberal. His attitude was, "I got mine, so quit whining and go get yours"
I think of this often when American attitudes are on display, like during this election campaign. I really have never seen this attitude displayed anywhere outside the USA. Not anywhere. Certainly not in European politics. Not even in personal attitudes.
In America there are still people who feel that we're all in this together, and by supporting the least of us, by having everyone supported by a social safety net, we maintain a better society for all. These people are not liberal, they're just called that in the USA. These people just have a sense of morality that eludes people with so-called Christian values
The attitude that there are economic opportunities and therefore there is economic class mobility. But anyone at the bottom knows that when you are living paycheque to paycheque, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, there is nothing to put aside, nothing to invest. So the opportunity to make a better life is not so easily attainable. Working harder or longer isn't always an answer. Cutting down on expenses (why rent when I can just live in my car?) isn't always an option after you've cut every expense out of your life.
Money isn't created out of thin air. There's only about $10trillion USD of hard currency in circulation
The Forbes 400 richest Americans
have approximately a trillion dollars among them, just them.
I'm not going to say that it's unfair to have 10% of America's wealth distributed amongst 400 people in a country with 350,000,000 population. It's just a fact. What I will say is that their wealth is entirely dependant on other Americans being poor. That's just life.
In a fair and just society we protect people. We care for them. We have social safety nets so that very few of us suffer. We have this to maintain a society that allows economic and social class mobility.