Charles Dolan owns Cablevision, MSG Madison Square Garden, The NY Knicks and the NY Rangers among other things. His son, James, runs the MSG portion along with the teams that play there. People joke that James' nickname is "Triple," as in, "he was born on third base, and thinks he hit a- " This is an attitude shared by many in the Republican Party. At a campaign stop last year, Mitt Romney told college students to borrow $20,000 from their parents and start a small business with complete cluelessness as to how few people have that kind of money just lying around.
Most of the wealthiest people in America today were born on third base. I would argue that if you are middle class and white you were born at least on second base. In the interest of disclosure, I put myself in this group. My dad used the phrase, "Free, white and over 21." I'd say I have home field advantage. There is nothing wrong with that. It is just important to have self-awareness.
Let's talk numbers. If indeed the metaphor works for you, and the children of the richest Americans are born on third base, then they score (win, achieve, succeed) at a rate of 85.3%. From second base, that success rate drops to 63.7%. From first, it is 44.1%. Generally speaking, an inning will end with a score 29.3 % of the time. That is a little less than a third, which would make sense.
In a truly equal society, a third will win, a third will lose, and a third will tie (troll alert, yes, I know there are no ties in baseball, nor for that matter is there crying). The right is fond of saying that the government should not be picking the winners and losers. I agree with that sentiment. However, that notion is premised on an equal society. I started off on second base! I'm halfway home!
Even though there are people in front of me, I'm odds on to win. I don't need to look back to know that there are people less fortunate than I. My path home is clear, I hit third and make a left turn. There were people in this country for nearly a hundred years who could only see home through a hole in the fence we made them stand behind.
Despite what Parker Brothers might say, it is possible to have more than one winner in the game of Life. In fact, not only can we all win, our victories grow in direct correlation to the number of others who also win. That is why we should want more people to have access to our advantageous starting point.
The right likes to talk about the equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. They accuse the left of wanting to guarantee equality of outcome. I'm sorry, but acknowledging disparity of opportunity is not advocating equality of outcome. The right also accuses the left of wanting and making everyone dependent on government. Returning to my baseball analogy, people coming to bat with 2 out and none on still score, albeit at a rate of 7.5%.
They Egyptians built pyramids by laying the widest possible foundations. These structures have withstood the ravages of time. So, let's help as many people as possible get to second base where they are odds on to win. Pyramid schemes, by contrast, start at the top and we know how well they work.
Think about that the next time someone says we need to cut taxes on the so-called job creators standing on third base, and as a result we can't afford $134 a month in food stamp assistance for the poorest who can't even pick up a bat.