This letter was adapted with permission from a post to Rappnet, the county’s email list-serve.
I recognize that economist Paul Krugman’s name is a dirty word with some of my Republican friends, and I suspect that Robert Reich is equally high on their hit list. In a recent article, Reich forcefully made the case that the very rich are getting to be very, very rich while 99 percent of us are getting poorer. Meanwhile, the translation of money into power has been greatly facilitated by the recent Supreme Court decision.
Reich concludes: “We’re losing our democracy to a different system. It’s called plutocracy.”
You may not agree with all of this, but suspend your disbelief for a moment and speculate about what this could mean for the future of Rappahannock County if Reich is right, and if these trends continue unchecked:
Since our county is relatively close to Washington, D.C. and relatively sparsely populated, it will increasingly attract the very, very rich who seek a suitable estate in an accessible rural area. Real estate prices will shoot up and will soon be affordable to only the new aristocracy.
Eventually we shall see a castle on every hill with clusters of houses in the rolling land below where the village blacksmith and sturdy yeomen can ply their trades. We will have to be respectful, and tip our caps to the Baroness of Apple, or Lord Goldman Sachs, or whatever member of the new aristocracy passes by.
There will be plenty of job openings for managers of estates, chauffeurs, and housekeepers to help those already here who get squeezed by the new taxes.
The current minimum of 25 acres for new settlements can profitably be raised to 250 acres or more, to keep out those of the merely rich who would like to horn in on the chance to hobnob with the mighty.
I could go on, but you get the picture, and perhaps others may be willing to offer a few embellishments.
I guess the bottom line is, if you like this forecast, vote Republican in the coming election.