Friday, January 31, 2014

144.6 - Outrage of the Week: how the rich think of you

Outrage of the Week: how the rich think of you

Okay, let's wrap things up with our other regular feature, the Outrage of the Week.

Start with some facts: long-term unemployment is the worst ever, tens of millions continue to live in poverty, while real wages stagnate or fall. Over the so-called "economic recovery" period of 2009-2012, the incomes of the richest 1% went up by 32% while the incomes of the other 99% went up 0.4% - put another way, 95% of the gains went to the 1%, leaving 5% for everyone else.

In 2012, the top 10% got half of all income in the United States, surpassing even the peak of the stock market bubble in the "roaring '20s." The richest 1% got 22.5% - nearly a quarter - of all national income. Five years after the financial collapse, few outside the very richest are anything but worse off.

But who are we supposed to feel sorry for? Who is supposed to feel our concern? The rich. The poor, besieged, maligned rich.

The latest in a long line of sniveling whiners blubbering about how hard it is to live with their yachts and mansions because people are so mean to me! is one Thomas Perkins, a venture capitalist worth about $8 billion, who, it seems, lives in constant fear of the unwashed hordes coming to get him.

In a recent letter to the editor he wrote to the Wall Street Journal, he said, these are quotes,
I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.” ...

I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. ...

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?
That's right, according to Thomas Perkins, being a multi-billionaire in the US in 2013 is just like being a Jew in Nazi Germany.

And in case you thought he was drunk or doping or that he would "clarify" because he "misspoke"- or "miswrote," I suppose - you'd be wrong. In a subsequent email to Bloomberg, he declared that “In the Nazi era it was racial demonization, now it is class demonization.” Of course, he is the one engaging in "class demonization," proposing that everybody poorer than him is a real or potential Nazi, but folks like him are often irony-challenged.

After a day of being ridiculed, he "apologized" for the use of the word Kristallnacht but not, he insisted for "the message." I'm not sure exactly what that's supposed to change.

The important point here, however, is that he is by no means alone. He's just the latest. David Sirota offered a few more:

-Supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis reacted to a proposal to raise taxes on the rich by comparing it to how "Hitler punished the Jews."

-Private equity mogul Steven Schwarzman called a proposal to tax private equity income at the same rate as other income "like when Hitler invaded Poland."

-When Sen. Chuck Schumer offered a bill to close tax loopholes abused primarily by the super-rich, Grover Norquist, who said that "The Nazis were for high marginal tax rates," claimed Shumer probably just translated a law from 1930s Germany.

-And you may remember this one: AIG CEO Robert Benmosche swearing that anger over his bailed-out company’s bonuses was “just as bad” as lynchings of African Americans in the Jim Crow South.

This is how they think of you. This is how they think of you: an inchoate, threatening, mass of failures jealous of their success. In their minds, the 85 people who hold as much wealth as 3.5 billion people are not grasping, selfish, insanely rich "winners" whose riches are built on the hard work of a multitude of others because whether you like it or not, bozo, no, you didn't build that, they are a persecuted diaspora in constant risk of annihilation.

Well, for my part, I can't wait for the day when their nightmare comes true, at least in the cultural sense. For the moment, I'll confine myself to saying that people such as Thomas Perkins and the rest are morally degenerate outrages.


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