Here is the rest of the column.With financial crisis and scandal as backdrop, Americans are questioning whether plutocrats are either indispensable or deserving.The notion that the poor always will be with us has been ingrained in our culture ever since the sermons of Moses were set down by the anonymous author of Deuteronomy. The financial crisis of the present day raises a rather different issue, however: What should we do about the rich? That the point is even open for discussion suggests that a sea change is taking place on the American political scene. For decades, the wealthy have been held up as people to be admired, victors in the Darwinian economic struggle by virtue of their personal ingenuity and hard work.
Because the staff of the Thoreau You Don't Know is in Los Angeles, we are reading the Los Angeles Times, and the other day, while on our way to, yes, a movie, we ran across this column by Michael Hiltzik, entitled "The belief that the wealthy are worthy is waning":