Can someone please cancel this pity party for the rich?
By Jim Hightower
Billionaire Tom Perkins wants you to feel the pain of those poor 1-percenters.
The über rich are full of ideas. Not ideas to help humanity, unfortunately. They’ve thought up new ways to help themselves grab more money and power at our expense.
Take Tom Perkins. He’s one of a growing number of the put-upon rich — billionaires who grabbed a fabulous fortune by hook or crook but now complain that they are victims of a “rising tide of hatred.”
Excuse me, Tom, but the words “billionaire” and “victim” aren’t a natural pairing.
Yet, even though he candidly concedes that he lives a life of vulgar excess, Perkins wrote a sob-story letter to the editor The Wall Street Journal published in January. In it, he pleaded for relief from the “war on the American 1 percent, namely the ‘rich.’”
He even compared the plight of the super-rich with the persecution of Jews by the Nazis. He was roundly ridiculed after that, but he’s since come back with a pragmatic idea for redressing the grievous plight of our 1-percenters.
What’s needed, he explained, is a slight tweaking of America’s democratic election system. “The Tom Perkins system,” he lectured, differs from the current one because “you don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes. But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
Gosh, how did he cram so much vanity and ignorance into only three sentences?
Apparently, no one has informed Tom that poor people pay a larger percentage of their income in various taxes than privileged tax evaders like him.
Nor does he seem aware that a democratic government cannot be anything like a corporation, for government must serve the whole public, while a corporation is an autocratic hierarchy that serves only a few.
And golly, Tom, why should you and all of your billionaire buddies get anything special — like extra votes — just for paying taxes? What you get in return for taxes is what we all get: civilization.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown www.OtherWords.org.
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