Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Rich should be worried

The Rich is this country are doing well, unlike many of the rest of us. Many of us in the middle class suffer from lack of jobs, insecurity of future decent-paying jobs, and diminished prospects for us or our children. The working class has their prospects diminished too.

But it's the Rich who are moaning the loudest on some days. Perkins infamously wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he feared a Kristallnacht against the wealthy. To me, this seems like an overreaction and bitching about taxes going up on the wealthy, but those taxes still aren't terribly high. Romney paid only 14%, so a rise to 20% (the new capital gains rate) hardly seems like a major hardship.

I wish the Rich had more to worry about. The kings of financial firms should be sweating in non-country-club cells while federally appointed special masters hunt down and liquidate their assets. People are rightly pissed at the execs at Wall Street firms, GE and other huge companies that play the tax code like squash, energy giants like the Koch brothers, hedge fund managers and clients, and the foolish, spoiled rich like Sheldon Adelson who think they can buy elections.

People like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Apple execs, Oprah Winfrey, and George Lucas don't have anything to worry about. They created great things that we all enjoy, and got rich in an honest way. That's not true for the others. The GOP may have labeled them "job creators" but that's proved disgustingly hollow.

Americans aren't mobs, rebels, or robbers, yet some Rich are stupidly worried. The U.S. has never had a French Revolution-style uprising, much less one like the Russian Revolution. Even in the midst of the Great Depression, the poor continued to let the Rich be rich. Little Orphan Annie adored Daddy Warbucks instead of wanting to whack his head off, and that reflected the general population.

So why are the Rich so worried? I don't care. They have a lot more resources to slow or soften their fall than I do (as I have much more than the average American). If need be, I'll live on much less and I won't bellyache like these Rich.

We are all facing living with less. Why do the Rich think they have the brunt of it? Nothing could be further from the truth. So why the angst? In this column (and an earlier one) a leftish pundit tried to figure it out. This is what rang true to me:
It is that mix of insecurity, a sense of the brittleness of one's hold on wealth, power, privileges, combined with the reality of great wealth and power, that breeds a mix of aggressiveness and perceived embattlement. . .
But over the last few years (since 2008), I think there's been a pretty dramatic growth in what we'd call Tea Party politics in that set - extreme conservatism . . . the kind of feverish mindset in which you could write with a straight face that progressives might be building toward some sort of mass wealth confiscation or internment or even extermination.. . .

Extra. Wealth concentration is normal. No surprise that the powerful try to maintain their power.

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