Rolling Stone: The 1% Are NOT Citizens Of The United States
The 1% doesn't pledge allegiance to any flag. Not even the ones they own.
My Christmas gift from Rolling Stone this year was a true “Doh!!” political/cultural moment. You know, when something so obvious and in your face is just sitting there and suddenly you blink, and realize it. DOH!!! How did I not see that?! Writer Matt Taibii has put it into perspective for me and suddenly, much of the behavior of the 1% makes sense. They are not American citizens. I’m not making a hysterical Fox News style accusation of “treason!” That require that the 1% actually BE a part of the country to begin with. They are not. They exist outside any national fealty of any kind. I’ve touched on this concept before when I pointed out that Ayn Rand devotees, which many of these Very Important People are, are sociopaths. and when I discussed the idea that the Right desires to be ruled by their “betters”(i.e. the 1%) because they believe that they are more worthy because they are rich. Matt Taibii has put a much finer point on it:
The very rich on today’s Wall Street are now so rich that they buy their own social infrastructure. They hire private security, they live on gated mansions on islands and other tax havens, and most notably, they buy their own justice and their own government. But citizens of the stateless archipelago where people like Schwarzman live spend millions a year lobbying and donating to political campaigns so that they can jump the line. They don’t need to make sure the government is fulfilling its customer-service obligations, because they buy special access to the government, and get the special service and the metaphorical comped bottle of VIP-room Cristal afforded to select customers.
What these poor, picked on, fabulously wealthy seem confused about is why they are despised across most of the country and, indeed, the world. What he GOP would have us believe is that we are simply jealous of their success and far too many of the 1% are buying into this fable. Taibii lists some of the more…clueless comments from the very people who wrecked the world’s economy while skating away with billions of taxpayer dollars. From Bloomberg Businessweek:
“Who gives a crap about some imbecile?” (Home Depot co-founder Bernard) Marcus said. “Are you kidding me?” “If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share’ one more time, I’m going to vomit,” said Golisano, (billionaire founder of payroll processer Paychex Inc.) who turned 70 last month, celebrating the birthday with girlfriend Monica Seles, the former tennis star who won nine Grand Slam singles titles. Cooperman ( former chief of Goldman Sachs’s money-management unit), 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said. “You’ll get more out of me,” the billionaire said, “if you treat me with respect.”
Ah. “Respect”, that’s all these sad and lonely multibillionaires want! Let’s give them the same respect they gave us, yes? The same respect they gave us when they used their money to erode EPA and FDA regulations so they could erode our standard of living. The same respect when they abused the special access they have to Washington to eliminate our access altogether. The same respect they gave us when they grew too big to fail and reduced us to too small to matter. How about Mr. Cooperman show us some respect before demanding it for himself? Is there some reason he’s more worthy of it than we are? Mr. Cooperman and his cohort certainly seem to think so. One of his peers actually had the nerve to complain that rich people have it harder than the poor and middle class. Why? Because while middle class and poor people only have to worry about little details like paying the bills to keep the lights or heat on, putting food on the table or having a roof over their heads all the while trying to make life better for their children, the rich have to worry about death threats. You know, from the people whose lives they’ve ruined. Boo. Fucking. Hoo. Hey, poor, downtrodden rich people, how about this? You stop destroying people’s lives, wholesale, so you can buy another super yacht and I guarantee the number of death threats will magically diminish to the odd crazy person that wants to impress Jodi Foster. You see, we don’t hate you because you’re rich. We hate you because of how you use your wealth. You use it to make the world a worse place for us to live in for no reason other than because you can. You can’t possibly spend the money you already have so you just use it to accumulate more. The damage you cause in this mindless pursuit is incalculable but still you persist and then have the nerve to wonder why you get death threats? But it doesn’t matter what happens to their “fellow” countrymen because they’re no longer part of the system. They’re above the system. Over it. Beyond it. And yes, I stole that from Men in Black.Or, as Taibii sums it up:
Most of us 99-percenters couldn’t even let our dogs leave a dump on the sidewalk without feeling ashamed before our neighbors. It’s called having a conscience: even though there are plenty of things most of us could get away with doing, we just don’t do them, because, well, we live here. Most of us wouldn’t take a million dollars to swindle the local school system, or put our next door neighbors out on the street with a robosigned foreclosure, or steal the life’s savings of some old pensioner down the block by selling him a bunch of worthless securities. But our Too-Big-To-Fail banks unhesitatingly take billions in bailout money and then turn right around and finance the export of jobs to new locations in China and India. They defraud the pension funds of state workers into buying billions of their crap mortgage assets. They take zero-interest loans from the state and then lend that same money back to us at interest. Or, like Chase, they bribe the politicians serving countries and states and cities and even school boards to take on crippling debt deals. Nobody with real skin in the game, who had any kind of stake in our collective future, would do any of those things. Or, if a person did do those things, you’d at least expect him to have enough shame not to whine to a Bloomberg reporter when the rest of us complained about it.
So, the 1% cares nothing for the countries they leech from, the governments they buy or the citizens they impoverish. But still, they deserve our respect and demanding they behave responsibly is just wrong.
Remember: It’s only “class warfare” when we fight back.
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