Rich whining

Digby has a post about Ken Griffin. He has interesting opinions:

Q. I’m going to come back to this. But I want to touch on two more areas first. What do you think in general about the influence of people with your means on the political process? You said shame on the politicians for listening to the CEOs. Do you think the ultrawealthy have an inordinate or inappropriate amount of influence on the political process?

A. I think they actually have an insufficient influence.

Wow, that’s a pretty bold statement. Of course, this is a pretty bold guy (I actually looked at this article way back in 2007):

And Kenneth C. Griffin, who received more than $1 billion last year as chairman of a hedge fund, the Citadel Investment Group, declared: “The money is a byproduct of a passionate endeavor.”

Mr. Griffin, 38, argued that those who focus on the money — and there is always a get-rich crowd — “soon discover that wealth is not a particularly satisfying outcome.” His own team at Citadel, he said, “loves the problems they work on and the challenges inherent to their business.”

“The income distribution has to stand,” Mr. Griffin said, adding that by trying to alter it with a more progressive income tax, “you end up in problematic circumstances. In the current world, there will be people who will move from one tax area to another. I am proud to be an American. But if the tax became too high, as a matter of principle I would not be working this hard.”

So, he’s a guy who doesn’t work for money but if he made a bit less then he wouldn’t work.

Back to the interview:

Q. How much do you think your influence comes from the size of your donations? Do you think you should be able to make unlimited donations? Should you be able to donate $500,000 to a super PAC?

A. In my opinion, absolutely. Absolutely. The rules that encourage transparency around that are really important. And I say that with a bit of trepidation.

Q. Why with trepidation?

A. Target made a political donation and there was a huge boycott organized.

Q. So do you or don’t you think the public should know if you’re giving this money?

A. My public policy hat says transparency is valuable. On the flip side, this is a very sad moment in my lifetime. This is the first time class warfare has really been embraced as a political tool. Because we are looking at an administration that has embraced class warfare as being politically expedient, I do worry about the publicity that comes with being willing to both with my dollars and, more importantly, with my voice to stand for what I believe in.

He thinks he should be able to give as much money as he wants and doesn’t think anyone should be able to criticize him.

Read the rest, he’s both very sure of himself and quite uninformed.

Also from Hullabaloo, David Atkins links to this great article in Cracked. It very nicely demolishes 5 arguments that the rich use. such as:

So as for the popular talk radio joke, “I’ve never gotten a job from a poor person”? Well, Sean, a lot of your listeners are poor, and your advertisers are paying you with money they made by selling goods to those poor people. So, yeah, the cash you make does in fact bear the smelly fingerprints of the lower classes. It’s the same for somebody working at Walmart, or a grocery store, or a liquor store. You didn’t get your job from a poor person, but collectively their money made it happen. Which is just a long way to say the obvious: That rich people don’t make the world go around. It takes everybody.

But the second part is this idea that asking the rich to pitch in is “punishing” them.

So, Rich Guy, let me explain this as calmly and logically as I can:

Are you fucking 6 years old? Do you still think mom made you clean up your room because she was mean? In the adult world, we get asked to do things because shit needs to get done. It has nothing to do with fairness, it has nothing to do with judging you. It has nothing to do with you at all. There’s a whole world out there, with people who need helping and projects that need accomplishing.

You’re only being asked to pitch in because you have the resources. You’re not a tall person who us dwarfs are jealously trying to cut down to size. You’re a tall person being asked to get something down from a very tall shelf because nobody else can fucking reach it.

There’s lots more.

By the way, Ken Griffin gives 3 of those arguments: that trying to regulate Wall Street and bigger government are class warfare (the jealousy argument); he never got anything from anybody (except for Harvard); the rich shouldn’t be ‘punished’ with higher taxes.

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