They say money can’t buy love … and a handful of angry billionaires are busily working to prove it. (More)
For the record, there are no billionaire squirrels. We don’t have overseas bank accounts, or vacation homes. I guess you could say I have a yacht, since one of the resident faculty left a foam float in the
hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath. Mrs. Squirrel and I may spend a few hours sailing on it, after the election.
But that won’t put us in the same class with Thurston Howell III or Judge Elihu Smails, so I doubt I’ll join the Poor Billionaires’ Complaint Society. These oppressed souls are unhappy with President Obama, in part because he wants to raise their taxes and even more because he just isn’t nice enough to them:
As a group we employ many millions of taxpaying people, pay their salaries, provide them with healthcare coverage, start new companies, found new industries, create new products, fill store shelves at Christmas, and keep the wheels of commerce and progress (and indeed of government, by generating the income whose taxation funds it) moving. To frame the debate as one of rich-and-entitled versus poor-and-dispossessed is to both miss the point and further inflame an already incendiary environment.
Wow. Really. Wow.
The way I see it, lots of hard-working Americans sell their labor to these billionaires, in return for stagnant pay and shrinking benefits while billionaires’ incomes kept climbing even through the recession.
In fact, in economic terms, the billionaires should love President Obama, as Chrystia Freeland explains in the article linked above:
The growing antagonism of the super-wealthy toward Obama can seem mystifying, since Obama has served the rich quite well. His Administration supported the seven-hundred-billion-dollar TARP rescue package for Wall Street, and resisted calls from the Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and others on the left, to nationalize the big banks in exchange for that largesse. At the end of September, the S. & P. 500, the benchmark U.S. stock index, had rebounded to just 6.9 per cent below its all-time pre-crisis high, on October 9, 2007. The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have found that ninety-three per cent of the gains during the 2009-10 recovery went to the top one per cent of earners.
So what’s the problem? Well, President Obama’s a big bully, as Freeland writes:
Evident throughout the letter is a sense of victimization prevalent among so many of America’s wealthiest people. In an extreme version of this, the rich feel that they have become the new, vilified underclass. T. J. Rodgers, a libertarian and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has taken to comparing Barack Obama’s treatment of the rich to the oppression of ethnic minorities—an approach, he says, that the President, as an African-American, should be particularly sensitive to. Clifford S. Asness, the founding partner of the hedge fund AQR Capital Management, wrote an open letter to the President in 2009, after Obama blamed “a small group of speculators” for Chrysler’s bankruptcy. Asness suggested that “hedge funds really need a community organizer,” and accused the White House of “bullying” the financial sector. Dan Loeb, a hedge-fund manager who supported Obama in 2008, has compared his Wall Street peers who still support the President to “battered wives.” “He really loves us and when he beats us, he doesn’t mean it; he just gets a little angry,” Loeb wrote in an e-mail in December, 2010, to a group of Wall Street financiers.
In other words, the billionaires think President Obama criticizes them too often and doesn’t praise them enough. Boo hoo.
So here’s the deal. When you own several homes or a yacht or private jet, when you never have to worry about the price of anything, when you can pay someone to iron your morning newspaper so the ink won’t stain your fingers …
… you don’t get to gripe when other people don’t revere you enough. You already have everything that money can buy, but money can’t buy love or respect. Those you have to earn, just like the lesser beings who cut your grass and clean your toilets and iron your newspapers.
Net worth is does not measure human worthiness.
Good day and good nuts.