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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ridiculously Wealthy Man Apologizes for Comparing the Persecution of the Wealthy in America Today to Nazi Germany

Posted by on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Tal Kopan at Politico explains:

Billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins apologized for using the word “Kristallnacht” in a letter to the editor, comparing persecution of the wealthiest Americans to Nazi Germany, but he defended the analogy in saying the 1 percent is “threatened.”

First of all, here's a point that should be so basic that it doesn't need saying: You can't apologize for a statement and then defend that statement at the exact same time. That makes your apology meaningless.

Secondly, how the fuck can a billionaire make this comparison at a time when the wealthy in America are wealthier than they've ever been? Josh Marshall wrote a great explanation for Talking Points Memo:

There's a slice of the population, whether it's the top 1% or .01% or whatever, that doesn't just have more stuff and money. The sheer scale of the difference means they live what is simply a qualitatively different kind of existence. That gulf creates estrangement and alienation, and one of a particular sort in a democracy where such a minuscule sliver of the population can't hope to protect itself alone at the ballot box.

Let's call this socioeconomic acrophobia.

See? The poor dear is just afraid and confused, is all. He's a fearful, alienated, terrified, 81 year-old white man. Show a little sympathy.


Comments (22) RSS

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fletc3her 1
The wealthy business executives in this country pay lip service to shareholders while they continue to maximize profits solely for themselves. CEOs increase their own compensation at a rate which exceeds even the amounts they are extracting by fighting the unions of their workers. The result is that shareholders end up with nothing. Workers end up with little. And a select few get to brag about their position on the magazine charts.
Posted by fletc3her on January 28, 2014 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
@ 1, as long as stock prices go up, most shareholders don't give a rat's ass about what they do with the profits.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 3
@2 Great, another Ponzi scheme brought to you by the financialization of everything.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on January 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM · Report this
brandon 4
When are these assholes going to realize that having money is not a personality trait, a sexuality, a religion (although it could be debated), or any other protected class. Money IS power, and you have lots of it, therefor you don't NEED or deserve protection. So STFU and enjoy your pile of cash. Just be aware the 99 percent are not going to tolerate your extreme A&E level of hording forever.

Just think, if you had spread the wealth a little bit and not let it get this bad in the first place, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.
Posted by brandon on January 28, 2014 at 11:16 AM · Report this
And yet, I have no problems with sticking the super-rich and their mass murderers (Kissinger and company) into ovens and watching them as they cook to death.
Posted by sgt_doom on January 28, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
biffp 6
The left is intolerant is the new RNC/Tea Party mantra. Sean Hannity is shocked at the intolerance shown to the intolerant. The oppressors are the victims - that's the smoke screen du jour.…
Posted by biffp on January 28, 2014 at 11:31 AM · Report this
r.chops 7
This old dude killed a guy with his yacht.
Killed a guy. With a yacht.
Posted by r.chops on January 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM · Report this
rob! 8
I like the idea of the ~100 richest persons on the earth being confined to a land area equivalent to their percentage of the population, compared to the earth's total land area of ~57 million square miles. For now, we can be generous and round that up to one square mile. They can build whatever kind of palace they want on that square mile; they can have whatever they want delivered, but they can't leave unless they divest enough wealth to bring them down to the 1% level.
Posted by rob! on January 28, 2014 at 11:58 AM · Report this
@4, 5, 8

Thank you! Your clarity is refreshing. Liberals so often cloak their hate in euphemism that this is nice to hear.

In your minds legal protections and property rights disappear above some subjective level of income or assets. And of course murder of those who do better than you financially is fine.

Rational Americans need to hear you clowns talk among yourselves more so they can better understand how abhorrent you are.
Posted by Seattleblues on January 28, 2014 at 12:06 PM · Report this
SPG 10
Talk to any really wealthy person about wealth and income inequality and it's always the same. They weren't lucky, they earned it all by themselves (even if they inherited it), and there's no reason why the poors can't do the same. Just talking about taxing the rich is treasonous at any level. The delusions go on and on…welfare queens bleeding the country dry (while Exxon Mobil takes billions in subsidies on top of record profits). The safety net for people needs to be abolished (while banks and companies deserve any size bailout after risky investments go bad).
It's maddening that they never see their own hypocrisy.
Posted by SPG on January 28, 2014 at 12:06 PM · Report this
@10: To be fair, Warren Buffett knows better.

@9: Well, we agree to some extent. I found Sgt Doom's comments despicable. The other two are relatively innocuous.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM · Report this

ANY really wealthy person? I beg to differ with that massive overgeneralization. Bill Gates is on record saying that he was in the right place at the right time- that if he and Paul Allen did not have the privilege of being able to work on the only high school computer in the country at the time programmable by a keyboard, things would have gone very differently.
Making a statement like you did that is so easily refutable does damage to your credibility.
Posted by Great Blue Heron on January 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 13
Those poor, put upon billionaires. My tears flow for them.
They make me so sad. I can't think of anyone I would feel more pity for. So sad. If people only knew how they suffer there would be a chorus of wailing. I bet the taste of their flesh is sweet.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 14
@ 9, just yesterday you admitted to opining about things you don't actually know about. This is another such time, I believe.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM · Report this
brandon 15
@9 Who the fuck is talking about murder?! I'm talking about a sustained call for extreme taxation of the wealthy and increased government services. See, this is the paranoia that Salon talked about. It's classic hording behavior.
Posted by brandon on January 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM · Report this
If he is so worried about the coming revolution against the 1%, there's an easy way for him to protect himself.

Posted by dirge on January 28, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
"That gulf creates estrangement and alienation, and one of a particular sort in a democracy where such a minuscule sliver of the population can't hope to protect itself alone at the ballot box."

this is priceless though, clearly the the wealthy are profoundly disadvantaged at the ballot box.... Koch brother not withstanding.....
Posted by Thyme on January 28, 2014 at 1:22 PM · Report this
rob! 18
@9, your sarcasm detector's on the fritz. I was idly indulging in the same kind of hyperbole that Perkins did in his letter to the WSJ. I recognize the absurdity of throwing a pitchfork at a private jet.
Posted by rob! on January 28, 2014 at 1:31 PM · Report this
"You can't apologize for a statement and then defend that statement at the exact same time."

From your mouth to the ears of every elected official, CEO and pundit in this country.

If only.
Posted by westello on January 28, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 20
@15- You're literally murdering their wealth by considering taxing it at the rate that it was taxed in the Reagan years.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on January 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
@20 "Murdering wealth"

Like the guy said, it's clearly worse than the Holocaust. Those poor innocent dollars, rounded up into bank vaults and gassed. Never again.
Posted by GermanSausage on January 28, 2014 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 22
Paul, I don't really understand the last part of your post. I didn't read his article as a plea for sympathy, but as a warning. Crazy people need help, but crazy people who have more power than governments, who can buy off their silly "fines" w/ a few weeks' worth of profits, are truly dangerous.

What I got from it is that the real people who control our society are fundamentally disconnected from that society. This is not a situation that promises much hope for the immediate future.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on January 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM · Report this

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