From The End of Equality by Mickey Kaus:
Something unpleasant has happened in America in recent decades. It’s not that the country has gotten poorer. It hasn’t. It’s not that the poor are poorer now than they were, say, when I was growing up in the 1960s. They aren’t. But the significance of money, the role of money has changed in ways that conflict with most Americans’ image of their country.
We’ve always had rich and poor. But money is increasingly something that enables the rich, and even the merely prosperous, to live a life apart from the poor. And the rich and semi-rich increasingly seem to want to live a life apart, in part because they are increasingly terrified of the poor, in part because they increasingly seem to feel that they deserve such a life, that they are in some sense superior to those with less. An especially precious type of equality–equality not of money but in the way we treat each other and live our lives–seems to be disappearing.