Simon English: There's a wealth of fury in the US, too


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The Independent Online

Outlook Johnson County in Kansas is one of the wealthiest suburbs in all of America. Everything always works, everyone always smiles and it is nearly always sunny, even if it is freezing cold. You'd like it.

I'm at a cocktail party in one of those houses that is normal size for the area. By which I mean massive.

I'm shooting the breeze with Roger and Fred, and we're chugging vodka gimlets (that's two parts vodka, one part Rose's lime juice, ice).

Roger made an absolute mint from running an engineering company, and another one from the stock market. Fred was a heart surgeon. They are both loaded, but very nice with it, and have long since retired to spend more time with their guns. (Everyone has at least two. It's the law.)

They keep their hand in by reading The Wall Street Journal every day and are furious at the constant tales of corporate excess, of bankers gone wild, of extraordinary rewards gleaned by a fortunate few.

The game is fixed, they say. It is no longer possible to do what they did, to get ahead by working hard and following the rules.

Hang on, I offer, if you two feel like this, what must Ordinary Joe, struggling to make ends meet feel?

"Were I Ordinary Joe," says the doctor, "I would be on the verge of criminality."