(Article changed on January 28, 2014 at 12:13)
(image by davitydave)
Well, now we know what they think of us. They think that we're envious rotters who need to be punished by them some more.
For example, the Republican venture capitalist, Tom Perkins, of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and board member of Rupert Murdoch's companies, expresses outright fear of us. In a letter to the editor of Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, on January 24th, he says:
"I perceive a rising tide of hatred of [he means this hatred 'of' as being hatred 'against'; he doesn't mean it as being hatred 'by'] the successful one percent."To him, the "successful one percent," like he, aren't haters; no -- they're just the victims of hatred from others. He says that there are "parallels of [he means this 'of' as being actually 'between, on the one hand ...,' versus 'on the other,' but he just doesn't know how to write; perhaps he thinks that his English teacher didn't rap his knuckles hard enough] fascist Nazi Germany to its war on [he means this 'on' as being 'against'] its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'"
Similarly, the Republican leader of the private equity firm Blackstone Group, Steven Schwartzman, said in 2010, "It's a war. ... It's like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939." He was talking there only about President Obama's plan to tax the earnings of private equity firm partners, such as himself, at the same 35% rate that's applied to ordinary people's income in the high brackets, instead of at the 15% rate that Republicans put into place for their many friends and donors that are private equity partners. Who would have known the people Hitler exterminated in the Holocaust were comparable to someone's losing the privilege of a 63% lower-than-normal tax-rate? Those Holocaust victims lost merely their property, and then their lives. These Republican zillionaires think that they have a lot to teach us, even if they get both their history, and their English, wrong. What do they care about facts? They've got money -- loads of it. Apparently, to them, that makes them gods.
Charlie Munger, the Republican #2 billionaire behind Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, which is the conglomerate that owns much of Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and a few other recipients of Wall Street bailout cash (and whose stock was greatly boosted by those bailouts), has said, "You shouldn't be bitching about a little bailout." Instead, "You should thank God" for it, because, otherwise, the weak public would have gone haywire, and look what happened in Germany when the banks weren't bailed out there, during the 1930s: "We ended up with Hitler." So, his advice to the public, whose taxes are still paying for his bailout (instead of for things like roads, bridges, and Medicaid), is: "At a certain place you've got to say to the people, "Suck it in and cope, buddy. Suck it in and cope.'" In other words: he wants you to be realistic enough to recognize that you bailed him out for your own good, not just for his. His message to you is: Get this through your dumb little envious head, and, "You should thank God" that you did it.
And then there's the Republican AIG CEO Robert Benmosche, who took over AIG after U.S. taxpayers pumped nearly $200 billion into rescuing the company, and who gets feted by Rupert Murdoch's propaganda organs as a corporate hero for having rescued AIG. He pulls down $14 million from the salvaged AIG in 2011, and authorizes $165 million in bonuses being paid to his derivatives people, and says that the public's "uproar over bonuses 'was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that-sort of like what we did in the Deep South. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong'," as lynching those Blacks was. And he elsewhere says "Retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old" as that "would make pensions, medical services more affordable." The cutbacks to pay for the bailouts and the subsidies to the uber-rich should come from the bottom 99%, who aren't experiencing any "economic recovery," and not from the top 1%, who are. In these Republican sentiments, he agrees with the Republican (self-styled "Democratic") President who appointed him. Barack Obama told Wall Street's top executives confidentially (since it contradicts his public rhetoric) at the White House on 27 March 2009, that, "My administration ... is the only thing between you and the pitchforks." Perhaps that's where Benmosche himself got the metaphor. The President said it before he did. (The U.S. Government owned AIG, and so the President chose Benmosche to lead AIG on 3 August 2009.)
But Benmosche doesn't appreciate the Republican-cum-"Democrat" who chose him to lead AIG. Even though Benmosche doesn't approve of Southerners who lynched Blacks, he bragged to the Insured Retirement Institute, on 1 February 2011, "All of the states where we're a leader, where we're the No. 1 insurer, are red states, all of the states where we're at the bottom are blue states. ... Our model is about culture and it's about the attitude in the public. And what we find is where there's more of a tendency for people to be more liberal, more that the government is responsible for what happens to me [AIG avoids it, and] ... we think we're getting at the essence of the ability of someone to repay their mortgage." So: he bonded with the culture that produced lynching, but he claims to be the victim of lynching when "blue states" don't like his skimming from such a Government-owned enterprise. The region of this country where economic mobility is at its lowest is the region he was able to skim the most from.
You see: these Republican billionaires know all about those 47% of Americans Romney spoke about, who are too poor to pay income taxes, and even about the remaining 52% who just aren't in the top 1% like they are but who helped to bail out the top 1%. These Republican billionaires know that we still owe them a lot -- owe them not just what we pay them in our credit cards, and in our mortgages, and in our student loans, and to clean up their oil spills, etc., but lots more, and they demand it; we're just ingrates, in their view.
We owe them for our democracy, because but for them, there'd be nobody to buy it for us, and so we'd all have to deal with Hitler, all over again, though in some American form.
Almost half of the voters went for it during the 2012 elections. After all: it's the American way! But that communist fascist Muslim atheist Obama won anyhow. Go figure; I can't. They've numbed my mind. Maybe I've learned their ways.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .