8 of the Most Clueless, Offensive Statements by America's Out-of-Touch Rich People
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Five years after Wall Street wrecked the economy, the rich are doing better than ever: the Dow is at record highs, while the 1% control more of the country’s (and the world’s) wealth than ever before.
So why are the wealthy so cranky? The last couple months have seen a surge in CEOs, hedge fund managers and startup entrepreneurs whining about how tough they have it, while lecturing the working class about how they need to stop that very whining. According to the wealthy, they do all the work, earn all the money, and yet practically live like paupers.
Below are eight of the most clueless statements by the 1%, all of them made in the past 12 months.
1. Greg Gopman
In December, Greg Gopman, then-CEO of the startup AngelHeck, went on an unhinged rant against ... well, it started against San Francisco’s homeless for mucking up his view, but soon came to include anybody of a lower socioeconomic status than his own.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, Gopman wrote, “Just got back to SF. I've traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down Market St in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little.”
He wasn’t done. “In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city,” he continued.
Gopman was just self-aware enough to catch that he might get a bit of pushback on these opinions, so he preempted the critics. “You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It's a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I'd consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn't made anyone's life better in a while.”
This was not Gopman's only offensive post — he’s fond of opining on the trashiness of certain women — and it appears to have been indicative of his management style. Gopman left the company over unspecified office tensions shortly thereafter.
2. Andy Kessler
Speaking of those homeless, hedge fund manager Andy Kessler thinks he knows what keeps them on the street: charity, volunteering, homeless shelters, or anything else that actually helps alleviate a homeless person’s misery.
Publishing in the Wall Street Journal, Kessler wrote last July that the only way to help homeless people is to make as much money for yourself as possible and hope it trickles down somehow.
“Obsessing over carbon footprints and LEED certifications and free-range strawberries and charging for plastic bags will not help the world nearly as much as good old-fashioned economic growth,” Kessler claimed. “Gen-G will wise up to the reality that the way to improve lives is to get to work. If Woodstockers figured this out, so will they — as soon as they get over their guilt.”
Lest you think Kessler suffers from living in a hedge fund bubble, never fear — he chiseled these points against his 16-year-old son, while driving him to the homeless shelter where he worked.
“It’s a worthwhile project,” Kessler admits, “but he doesn’t like it when our conversation on the way to his minimum-wage job turns to why these homeless folks aren’t also working. Perhaps, I suggest, because someone is feeding, clothing and, in effect, bathing them?”