There are more and more people out there pissed at the rich. I certainly understand where they’re coming from, but they’re wrong. The rich per se aren’t the problem. It’s time to quit fighting against the rich. Occupy Wall Street has been wanting to smack the rich, and making a lot of noise about it. The problem is they’re wrong. The rich are not now, nor have they ever really been, the problem.
No, the problem is the corporatists. Those are the people we need to stand united against.
Corporations are a tool, a way to organize businesses. They’re not the enemy either. However, the people who seem to believe that corporations deserve tons of special breaks, including government bailouts, are. They are the reason people are pissed.
Ezra Klein has a piece where he outlines many of the complaints of the OWS-ers. Most of them are debt related. A lot of it is student debt, debt that Presidents through the years told them to take on for a better life. I understand that anger…to a point.
But you look around and the reality is not everyone is suffering. Wall Street caused this mess, and the government paid off their debts and helped them rake in record profits in recent years. The top 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation’s income and 40 percent of its wealth. There are a lot of people who don’t seem to be doing everything they’re supposed to do, and it seems to be working out just fine for them.
Yet Klein fails to mention how the rich aren’t doing what they’re supposed to. They pay their taxes, just like everyone else. They obey laws or face consequences like everyone else. As individuals, the rich actually are doing what they’re supposed to do. However, some people who happen to be rich and some people who happen to be lawmakers believe that corporations are a special class.
In 2008, we were told by President Bush that the United States of America was going to bail out investment firms by purchasing mortgage backed securities because we were the only ones with the means to buy them and hold out until they could turn a profit. What actually happened was TARP and TARP II, which didn’t bail out rich guys directly, but corporations.
The rich have not been afforded a special status, contrary to what Warren Buffett has been claiming. He pays capital gains taxes just like a retired grandmother living off of her investments. Berkshire-Hathaway, however, is afforded special status by virtue of it being a corporation and there in lies the problem.
“The rich” aren’t the problem. The corporatists, who have fought so valiantly to make corporations a special case, are the problem. They are the ones who have done everything wrong and get the government to bail them out. They are the one who beg Congress for money because they have screwed up.
If you’re going to pick an enemy, how about trying something different and pick the right one.