If rich old King Croesus were living in America today, he’d be hard-pressed to keep up with the Joneses.
At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great prince who, on being informed that the country had no bread, replied, “Let them eat cake.”
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Confessions
Well, okay, so Marie Antoinette never said, “Let them eat cake.” When Rousseau wrote those words, Marie was just 11 years old and living in Austria. But Americans used to like the story that, when the French queen was told by an official that the people were angry because they...