As momentum builds towards a new constitutional amendment to end the massive spending of corporations and billionaires, some are lamenting the fact that money doesn’t have loud enough a voice in today’s politics.
One such person is Ken Griffin, a hedge fund manager that had this to say when asked if money, in the form of the uber-wealthy, is having a distorting effect on Americans politics:
I think they actually have an insufficient influence. Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our system more than ever now owe a duty to protect the system that has created the greatest nation on this planet. And so I hope that other individuals who have really enjoyed growing up in a country that believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and economic freedom is part of the pursuit of happiness – (I hope they realize) they have a duty now to step up and protect that. Not for themselves, but for their kids and for their grandchildren and for the person down the street that they don’t even know …
In this context, “protect the system” is maintaining the status quo. And why shouldn’t he and his cohort want that? They’ve “enjoyed the benefits of our system” more than anyone else and have been richly rewarded for gaming and cheating said system. Any kind of systemic reform will, by default, target the illegitimate wealth accumulated by the top 1%.
Can’t have that.
Griffin then attempts to cast the “class warfare” he and his have waged for decades as saving the true spirit of America from the evils of communism and socialism:
At this moment in time, these values are under attack. This belief that a larger government is what creates prosperity, that a larger government is what creates good (is wrong). We’ve seen that experiment. The Soviet Union collapsed. China has run away from its state-controlled system over the last 20 years and has pulled more people up from poverty by doing so than we’ve ever seen in the history of humanity. Why the U.S. is drifting toward a direction that has been the failed of experiment of the last century, I don’t understand. I don’t understand.
Griffin is being deliberately disingenuous or he is so out of touch with reality that his influence over our country becomes truly disturbing. The “drift” he is horrified by is a drift towards the kind of social democracy practiced in Canada and Europe, both of which have longer life expectancy, less extreme poverty, universal healthcare and overall happier populations. Yes, most of Europe is suffering through a serious recession. Critics of socialism are quick to point out how that proves it’s a failure. Somehow, though, those same critics are quite mute about the recession in the United States and deafeningly silent on the roll of Wall St. in the global economic disaster. Strange how that works…
Read more about the poor little rich boy here.
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