Monday, February 17, 2014

Isn't life dreary, Mr. Billionaire?

"I would call attention to the parallels of Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?" --Tom Perkins, January 24, 2014, letter to the Wall Street Journal
I wonder, could Tom Perkins have possibly found a more frank expression of the contempt he has for the common people? The audacity of these remarks --made by way of complaint at the treatment "the rich" are receiving in the national media --is breath-taking. Truly, Mr. Perkins has but one measure of a person's worth. (Hint: it ain't sartorial sense.)

(Not to mention, of course, the disrespect it displays toward the millions of victims of Nazi atrocities in the days of the Third Reich. (Kristallnacht refers to a two day period of terror in 1938, about 18 months before the outbreak of World War II. Nazi paramilitary units in Germany and Austria roamed the streets, attacking Jewish businesses, homes, schools, and synagogues. They burned, smashed, and pillaged while authorities looked on. At least 91 people were killed and many more beaten or incarcerated.))

Mr. Perkins thinks he's being treated unfairly? I say he needs to buck up. According to the New York Times, corporate profits in March, 2013 were at record levels. Corporate profits are how Perkins makes his money. He's a venture capitalist. He makes money with money.

Meanwhile, the US poverty rate for the last three years has held at 15%. One in six Americans live in poverty. And while President Obama recently issued an executive order raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, it would take a minimum wage earner 4,670 years of 40-hour weeks to make enough money to bid on Perkin's yacht, The Maltese Falcon, which he sold in 2009 for £60 million.

Perkins is a sociopath. Like Junior. Or Cheney. Like oligarchs everywhere. They have no inkling of what it is like to sweat making a mortgage payment or to run a cost/benefit analysis for a health care procedure. People like Perkins cannot conceive that other people matter. They have no idea of what life is like for the rest of us.

It just serves to confirm. Vast fortunes kill empathy.

In a way, they are pitiable. Their extraordinary circumstances set them apart. They can never know the triumphs that we know, the joys that come from just enduring.

They can't buy that.

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