John Oliver had a question about America's wealth gap on last night's Last Week Tonight: How is it that a democracy has so many policies designed to benefit the rich?
In an episode dedicated to income inequality, Oliver posed a theory as to why President Barack Obama and other leading Democrats consistently back down from the issue, even after issuing their most challenging rhetoric. Oliver roughly translated an Obama address as, "You better watch your ass, income inequality, 'cause you're about to get violently ameliorated." So why is the party divided over the wealth gap?
The answer, as it often is with Oliver, is America's greatest quality: its optimism.
Politicians like Sen. Marco Rubio may tell Americans that ours is a nation of "have and soon-to-haves," but Oliver took it with a healthy grain of salt. "That sounds great," he said. "The problem is it makes no sense. Economically, mathematically, even grammatically. And yet we believe him!"
In the clip above, Oliver explains why optimism is the root cause behind the gap, and why polls are suggesting most Americans are like hopeful gamblers: aware the fix is on, but also positive the rigging will benefit us. He also manages to get in his signature digs at Oscar winner Roberto Benigni, the inequality of the Baldwin brothers (Billy above all others) and more.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.