Monday, March 28, 2011

It's tough to be a billionaire

Glenn Greenwald looks at the self-pity of the Koch brothers et al.:

Since the financial crisis of 2008, one of the most revealing spectacles has been the parade of financial elites who petulantly insist that they are the victims of societal hostility: political officials heap too much blame on them, public policy burdens them so unfairly, the public resents them, and -- most amazingly of all -- President Obama is a radical egalitarian who is unprecedentedly hostile to business interests...

I'm not someone who sees the Koch Brothers as some sort of unique threat. I mostly regard them as little more than a symbol of the death of democratic values in the U.S. -- the way in which the possession of vast financial resources is an absolute prerequisite to making any impact on the national political process, and conversely, how those without such resources are politically inconsequential and impotent (short of their fomenting serious social unrest)...

For billionaires to see themselves as the True Victims, to complain that the President and the Government are waging some sort of war against them in the name of radical egalitarianism, is so removed from reality -- universes away -- that's it's hard to put into words. And the fiscal recklessness that the Kochs and their comrades tirelessly point to was a direct by-product of the last decade's rule by the Republican Party which they fund: from unfunded, endless wars to a never-ending expansion of the privatized National Security and Surveillance States to the financial crisis that exploded during the Bush presidency. But whatever else is true, there are many victims of fiscal policy in America: the wealthiest business interests and billionaires like the Koch Brothers are the few who are not among them.

Much of this self-pitying anger is directed at Obama, which is pretty hilarious given that, as Greenwald points out, Obama has been very much a part of the problem, allowing the corporate control of America that was so much a part of the Bush II presidency (and so much a part of America -- see the excellent Inside Job, if you haven't already -- regardless of who's in the White House and which party controls Congress) to continue. In that regard, he hasn't really changed anything, even if Republicans keep trying to portray him as a socialist. He is nothing of the kind. He has been very good to Wall Street and very good to Corporate America generally.

And as for the billionaires:

This is exactly the psychological affliction that leads Wall Street plunderers and tycoons and billionaires to see themselves as the victims of the resentful lower-classes and the "radical egalitarians" who run the U.S. Government. Even as they get richer and everyone else gets poorer, even as the very few remaining restraints on their political power are abolished, even as the disparities in wealth and power grow ever-larger, they become increasingly convinced that everything is stacked against them, that there is a grand conspiracy to deprive them of what is rightfully theirs. All of this could be confined to a fascinating, abstract psychological study if not for the fact that the people who think this way exercise the most political power and continue to exercise more and more.

And for the fact that, as American democracy collapses in on itself and becomes a sham, and as American wealth is concentrated more and more in the hands of the plutocracy, the vast majority of the American people, many of whom are sinking further and further into debt and further and further into abject hopelessness and utter despair, have little to no power at all.

I'm not sure that's quite what the Founders envisioned.

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home