Yet Another Wall Street Billionaire Asks Working Americans to Sacrifice -- Why Do the Media Still Listen to These Guys?
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Working America has sacrificed a great deal in the last 40 years: its share of the national income, its economic security and the dignity that comes with decent health and retirement benefits. Those at the top of the pile have sacrificed nothing – they're grabbing more income and paying less in taxes today than they did during the mid-century boom years. Yet, we are being asked by those very elites for “shared sacrifice.” The question is, how much “sacrifice” the little guy has to make before the big boys start sharing it.
It's clear to see how the toxic ideology of Ayn Rand has permeated our political culture, all the way up to America's well-heeled elites. Whereas the wealthy were once viewed with some scorn as the idle rich, children of privilege who know little about life in the real world, they now claim to have been imbued with innate, almost super-human intelligence and they offer their wealth to prove it. Those claims go largely unchallenged.
But if you look at the discourse proffered by these feral elites, it's clear that a wingnut with a lot of money is no more rational than the "get a brain, morans" guy of viral fame. Just this week, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, called new banking regulations “un-American.” What did he mean? Who knows? It's a facile talking point.
Perhaps the best example was an anonymous shot at working people supposedly fired from the bowels of Wall St. last year. “We are Wall Street. It's our job to make money,” the broadly circulated email began.
Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you're only going to hurt yourselves. What's going to happen when we can't find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We're going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We're used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don't take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don't demand a union. We don't retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we'll eat that.
Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching third graders and doing landscaping? We're going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America.
Then there was University of Chicago law professor Todd Henderson, who enjoyed 15 minutes of online fame for a whiny rant (which has since been removed) about how tough it is to make ends meet on only $450,000 a year and how he would be forced into desperation if the Clinton-era tax rates on high earners were reinstated. We should all be so lucky to feel his pain.
This week, we were treated to the latest example of the genre, an op-ed by hedge fund tycoon Stephen Schwarzman – whom the New Yorker once dubbed “private equity's designated villain” -- titled, “ An Olive Branch to Obama: I Will Share the Pain.”
In it, Schwarzman suggests the sluggish economy is not a result of a crash in demand that followed the loss of $14 trillion in household wealth caused by Wall St. gamblers, but by people saying mean things to folks like Stephen Schwarzman.
This problem began when the administration sought to attribute blame for the financial and economic crisis and alienated large segments of the business and banking community. They cast them as villains regardless of their culpability. Predictably, business reacted with fear and limited economic expansion, hiring and new lending.