Richest Capitalists Decry Class Warfare … By the Wealthy Against the Poor
Pimco boss Bill Gross – one of the 1% – tweeted today:
Class warfare by the 99%? Of course, they’re fighting back after 30 years of being shot at.
(No word on whether the protesters marching on New York City billionaires’ houses had any influence on the timing of Gross’ tweet.)
Gross joins Warren Buffet, who pointed out in 2006:
There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war ….
Asher Edelman – the well-known corporate raider who helped inspire the character Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film “Wall Street” – supports the protests and says:
The greed of the banks are the cause for the terrible economic situation that we have today.
And the Chief Investment Officer for Calpers – California’s $235 billion dollar pension fund – said today:
I understand why people are protesting: Wall Street is a rigged game.
Of course, the father of modern economics himself – Adam Smith – didn’t believe that inequality should be a taboo subject.
And libertarian champion Ron Paul says that the system is rigged for the rich and against the poor and the middle class:
Libertarians and conservatives support the protests because everyone hates corporate socialism, and the Federal Reserve and the giant banks are part of a single malignant, symbiotic relationship. So conservatives and liberals are uniting in breaking up both.
As I noted last month:
That is another reason that conservatives and liberals are uniting in protesting the status quo. We currently have crony capitalism, socialism or fascism … not free market capitalism. Those who commit the biggest frauds and are part of the aristocracy get richer, while everyone else gets poorer. That is anti-American, and conservatives and liberals are pissed about it.
Indeed, being against governmental policies which will increase inequality in the future is not anti-capitalist. In free markets, dumb, speculative and risky bets mean that you go bankrupt, not that you’re bailed out by the taxpayers. And the poker game can only continue if everyone has some chips.
Studies show that runaway inequality makes the middle and lower classes poorer. Leading economists note that rampant inequality was one of the main causes of the Great Depression and of the current economic crisis.
Dizzying levels of inequality also corrupt the political system. In other words, when the 1% control D.C., we no longer have a democracy or a republican form of government. We have the best system money can buy.
Given that inequality in America is worse than Egypt (or Tunisia, or Yemen or most Latin American banana republics), that inequality in the U.S. hasn’t been this bad since 1917 (even before the Great Depression), and that social mobility is lower in America than in most European countries (and see this), we have been predicting these types of protests for years.
Why the Elite Hate the “We Are the 99%” Protests
Conservatives – as well as liberals – are against rampant inequality. If more Americans understood how much inequality we have, they would be outraged too.
For example, Dan Ariely of Duke University and Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School demonstrate that Americans consistently underestimate the amount of inequality in our nation. As William Alden wrote last September:
Americans vastly underestimate the degree of wealth inequality in America, and we believe that the distribution should be far more equitable than it actually is, according to a new study.
Or, as the study’s authors put it: “All demographic groups — even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy — desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.”
The report … “Building a Better America — One Wealth Quintile At A Time” by Dan Ariely of Duke University and Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School … shows that across ideological, economic and gender groups, Americans thought the richest 20 percent of our society controlled about 59 percent of the wealth, while the real number is closer to 84 percent.
A new Washington Post poll shows that the majority of Republicans – 53% – support raising taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year:
While eight in 10 Democrats and two-thirds of independents support raising taxes for Americans earning $250,000 or more, that drops to 53 percent among Republicans. Conservative Republicans split about evenly on the issue: 49 percent in support, and 46 percent opposed.
(Whether you oppose or support raising taxes on the wealthy, this shows the dramatic change of sentiment in the country right now.)
That is one of the primary reasons that the powers-that-be hate the Wall Street protests and it’s message of “We are the 99%” … it helps to wake people up to the class warfare by the 1% against everybody else.