Class warfare rhetoric is the creepiest part of American politics. The John Edwards campaign is only one of many examples.
And the W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm 1999 analysis of consumption differences (over time as well as across strata; Myths of the Rich and Poor) had been studiouslly ignored by those who live by class warfare. All the hand-wringing is way off-base. This is why it is very nice to see these authors' "You Are What You Spend ... Consumption is a better measure of financial health than income" in this morning's NY Times.
Comparing top and bottom quintiles, the 15:1 income ratio becomes a consumption difference of just 2:1 (per person). Read their article. Buy their book. Don't (yet) give up on the NY Times.