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Whiners and Diners

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What else would one expect from a campaign run by a couple who's average monthly credit card balance is $50,000. Or from a wanna-be First Lady who buys $3000 designer pantsuits, three or four at a crack.

"Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his wife reported more than $100,000 of credit card liabilities, according to financial disclosure documents released Friday. The presidential candidate and his wife Cindy reported piling up debt on a charge card between $10,000 and $15,000. His wife’s solo charge card has between $100,000 and $250,000 in debt to American Express. Another charge card with American Express, this one for a "dependent child," is carrying debt in the range of $15,000 and $50,000."

John and Cindy McCain would -- if they dared to be honest -- agree with their similarly well-heeled   friend and financial advisor, former Sen. Phil Gramm, that all this talk of recession is nothing but some kind of working class mass hysteria that has turned America into "a nation of whiners."

Gramm was in line to be McCain's Treasury Secretary if he wins the White House. How about a Treasury Secretary who views those he is supposed to serve as a pack of annoying "whiners." I don't know, maybe that kind of honesty would be refreshing. Instead of telling us to eat cake, Gramm just  wants us to shut the f...k up about it.

Old gag comes to mind:
Sire!, sire! The peasants are revolting.
King: Yes, they certainly are.

Of course I understand where Gramm and the McCains are coming from. After all, America's super-rich have not had it this good since the late 1920s.  Simply put; it's good to be on the winning end of a class war -- very good.

For example, last night I was flipping through my 500-odd Comcast channels of dreck and settled on a show about super yachts. Did you know that the sale of super yachts --- big ass boats that sell for upwards of $40 million each -- has skyrocketed over the past five years?

It’s smooth sailing for super-yacht builders
 July 11, 2008: (AP) — Fuel prices are soaring and credit markets tightening, but the super-rich are still lining up to pay tens of millions of dollars for mega yachts. The well-heeled buyers of the floating mansions are increasingly coming from emerging economies — in the Middle East, Russia and South America. The source of their wealth runs the gamut — technology, venture capitalism, new industries. And, yes, oil.

“There are a lot of people with new wealth looking for relaxation and enjoyment,” said John Dane III, president of privately owned Trinity Yachts, the largest U.S. builder.

Ah yes, "new wealth." That's the key term here. New, as in $1.6 trillion in tax cuts for the rich. You and I got to share $145 billion with 300 million fellow whiners... an average of six hundred bucks each.

The richest 1 percent -- fewer than 3 million -- got 52 percent of all the Bush tax cuts. The effect of eliminating just the dividend tax provided those making less than $10,000 a "most generous" $6, while those making more than $1 million pocketed an average $45,098.

So the rich got a lot richer during the Bush/Cheney years, and did so without having to become an ounce more productive. The extra dough just came in the mail from the US Treasury -- which is now not only empty but full of IOUs to China and Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Which explains why, while millions of Americans are either losing their homes or afraid they're about to, the latest discretionary bling among the super rich is a gaudy140-foot, 5-bedroom super yacht bobbing at their backyard deep-water dock.

No wonder Phil Gramm and friends view economic conditions through an entirely different lens than the majority of Americans... 85% of whom say the nation and economy are "on the wrong track."

Over the past seven and half years a class war has been underway, and Phil and friends won that war. Now all they ask is a little respect. All they want now is to be left alone to enjoy the fruits of victory without a lot of whining from the losers.

McCain supporters will be quick to admonish me if I fail to admit that the senator firmly disavowed Gramm's assessment. Well yeah.  Of course he did. What else could he say?

Here's the deal. McCain can't win the White House simply with votes from the winners of the Bush/Cheney class war. Those folks have rounded up the lion's share of the national wealth, but they still only get one vote. The super-rich represent less than 3 million out of over 100 million likely voters. Which is why McCain must  convince tens of millions of Gramm's "whiners'  to vote for him rather than for Obama.

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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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