It can seem a very abstract thing when people talk about the widening gap between rich and poor, and the shrinking American middle class. Things get an awful lot more concrete, however, when you take a look at the material goods that separate the wealthy from the rest of us.
Take, for example, the Airchamber car protection system.
The Airchamber is an airtight compartment into which the owner drives his car. After the chamber is closed, it sucks most of the moisture out of the compartment, leaving the car dry and relatively free from corrosion. The Airchamber company explains, “nothing poses a bigger threat for the cherished car owner than corrosion caused by hidden moisture and constant condensation. That’s why serious car collectors use the Airchamber to prevent long term damage to their vehicles.”
When I read about this, it made no sense to me. What good would it do to to keep your car perfectly dry in the garage, when you’re only going to go out driving it around on dirty and wet roads?
Then I read the product description again, and I realized that I wasn’t understanding the purpose of the Airchamber. The Airchamber isn’t for people like me and you who own cars so that we can use them for practical transportation. No, the Airchamber is for people who buy cars just to add them to a collection, and keep them in a garage almost all the time, only to drive them maybe once or twice a year in order to show off for friends. The Airchamber makes perfect sense for them, because they keep expensive cars like trophies to be kept in a storage cabinet.
That’s what the income gap means. It means that while we’re struggling to heat our homes and feed our families, they’re fretting about whether their automobile collections might be rusting as they sit, unused, in garages as big as a house.