Monday, January 27, 2014

Paranoia of the Plutocrats

Venture capitalist Tom Perkins wrote a letter to the WSJ, Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?. "I would call attention to the parallels of Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'"

Paul Krugman calls him out on it. Paranoia of the Plutocrats.

Now, just to be clear, the very rich, and those on Wall Street in particular, are in fact doing worse under Mr. Obama than they would have if Mitt Romney had won in 2012. Between the partial rollback of the Bush tax cuts and the tax hike that partly pays for health reform, tax rates on the 1 percent have gone more or less back to pre-Reagan levels. Also, financial reformers have won some surprising victories over the past year, and this is bad news for wheeler-dealers whose wealth comes largely from exploiting weak regulation. So you can make the case that the 1 percent have lost some important policy battles.

But every group finds itself facing criticism, and ends up on the losing side of policy disputes, somewhere along the way; that’s democracy. The question is what happens next. Normal people take it in stride; even if they’re angry and bitter over political setbacks, they don’t cry persecution, compare their critics to Nazis and insist that the world revolves around their hurt feelings. But the rich are different from you and me.

Jared Berstein chimes, in President Obama Does Many Things Well but Being a Socialist is Not One of Them.

"The equity indexes may have gotten whacked last Friday (and may open lower today as well), but last year’s S&P 500-stock index was up almost 30%, its best year in 16 years. Yes, the rich got hit hard by the capital losses linked to the housing bust, but according to the latest data point in CBO’s comprehensive household income series—2010—the after-tax income of the top 1% was up $133,000 over the previous year, while that of the middle fifth was down $100. In fact, just the change in the real income of the top 1% was more than twice the level of the income of the middle fifth ($133,000 vs. $57,900)."

"I’d also note that while top personal income tax rates went up under the President, the increase only affected households above $400K-$450K, not the $250K he ran on. His tax plan actually permanently locked in more than 80% of the Bush tax cuts."

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