I’ve tended to ignore the litany of “poor oppressed rich folks” articles that have popped up over the last year. It has been exhilarating to see those who get every advantage in American life so weepy because some of the unwashed masses have decided not to love them unconditionally anymore. But it’s just kind of a broken record at this point, and it’s an attempt to work the refs on Capitol Hill so they get even more favorable policies. That’s a game I’m not interested in helping them play.
However, you do have to marvel at the way in which the 1% tries to pull off this trick, as if a commentary on income inequality above where it was during the Roman empire is actually just an attack on their character. A case in point:
“Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO told an audience member who asked about hostility toward bankers. “Sometimes there’s a bad apple, yet we denigrate the whole.”
Dimon, 55, whose 2010 compensation was $23 million, joined billionaires including hedge-fund manager John Paulson and Home Depot Inc. (HD) co-founder Bernard Marcus in using speeches, open letters and television appearances to defend themselves and the richest 1 percent of the population targeted by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.
If successful businesspeople don’t go public to share their stories and talk about their troubles, “they deserve what they’re going to get,” said Marcus, 82, a founding member of Job Creators Alliance, a Dallas-based nonprofit that develops talking points and op-ed pieces aimed at “shaping the national agenda,” according to the group’s website. He said he isn’t worried that speaking out might make him a target of protesters.
Job Creators Alliance’s apparent job is to give a platform for billionaires to whine and cry in public about how persecuted they’ve all become. I would have gone with Martyrs With Nine Zeroes as an honorific but that’s just me.
One actual policy these oppressed rich oppose comes from the Dodd-Frank law, which would require publicly traded companies to actually disclose to the Office of Financial Research the ratio between the salaries of their median employee and their CEO. That’s really the only policy I’ve seen from this whine-fest. So they are going public to defend themselves from having to go public with how much more money they make than their average worker.
It should come as no surprise that this coterie of self-pitying “job creators” lines up pretty perfectly with right-wing Republicans and free-market fundamentalists. Just because this attitude completely crashed the economy about three years ago doesn’t mean they should be made to feel bad about it, however.