Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why Billionaires Hate Mr. Obama – The Saddest Commentary Yet on the American Political Scene

And An Explanation That Will Sadden or Enrage

Paul Krugman has often noted in his postings that the real problem that financers and bankers and rich people have with Mr. Obama is not his policies, not his results but the fact that he has not been nice to them.  An article in the New Yorker



Why do billionaires feel victimized by Obama?


on the inner thoughts and workings of a group, Billionaires Against Obama sadly confirms this thinking.  Here are the specifics as espoused by billionaire Leon Cooperman.

Cooperman argued that Obama has needlessly antagonized the rich by making comments that are hostile to economic success. The prose, rife with compound metaphors and righteous indignation, is a good reflection of Cooperman’s table talk. “The divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them,” Cooperman wrote. “It is a gulf that is at once counterproductive and freighted with dangerous historical precedents.”

This is of course in direct opposition to how well billionaires and other very rich people have done during the Obama administration.

The growing antagonism of the super-wealthy toward Obama can seem mystifying, since Obama has served the rich quite well. His Administration supported the seven-hundred-billion-dollar tarp rescue package for Wall Street, and resisted calls from the Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and others on the left, to nationalize the big banks in exchange for that largesse. At the end of September, the S. & P. 500, the benchmark U.S. stock index, had rebounded to just 6.9 per cent below its all-time pre-crisis high, on October 9, 2007. The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have found that ninety-three per cent of the gains during the 2009-10 recovery went to the top one per cent of earners. Those seated around the table at dinner with Al Gore had done even better: the top 0.01 per cent captured thirty-seven per cent of the total recovery pie, with a rebound in their incomes of more than twenty per cent, which amounted to an additional $4.2 million each.

And yet these wealthy un-worthies don’t just oppose Mr. Obama, they seem to positively loathe him.

The President, in Cooperman’s view, draws political support from those who are dependent on government. Last October, in a question-and-answer session at a Thomson Reuters event, Cooperman said, “Our problem, frankly, is as long as the President remains anti-wealth, anti-business, anti-energy, anti-private-aviation, he will never get the business community behind him. The problem and the complication is the forty or fifty per cent of the country on the dole that support him.”

“Anti-aviation”???  The President has made remarks that incorporated the fact that these billionaires do have private jets, but only to make the point that his tax increases will not impact their lifestyles.

Obama urged America’s “millionaires and billionaires” to pay their fair share, pointing out that they were doing well at a time when both the American middle class and the American federal treasury were under pressure. “If you are a wealthy C.E.O. or hedge-fund manager in America right now, your taxes are lower than they have ever been. They are lower than they have been since the nineteen-fifties,” the President said. “You can still ride on your corporate jet. You’re just going to have to pay a little more.”

All of this is irrational, in the sense that there is no case to be made against the President by the very rich.  So what is going on here?

The explanation here is one that is pure conjecture, one that is made without any hard evidence or any basis in known fact.  It is this.

The animosity of these billionaires is sub-conscious racism.  They resent being criticized by an African American.  They resent that for all their wealth there is an African American who is more powerful than they are.   That this racial resentment is sub-conscious, that even those that have don’t know they have it means it can never be verified or proven.  And yes, they would passionately and vehemently deny that they harbored any racist thoughts.

And it is an ugly accusation to make, but quite frankly, there does not seem to be any other explanation for this behavior. Just because it is conjecture doesn’t mean it is wrong.  And the fact that those that feel these racist attitudes may not be aware of them does not make it right or excusable.  They need to ask themselves why, if they are doing so fantastically well economically that they hate the current administration.

This accusation is not made in anger, it is made in sadness, that these extremely wealthy people cannot enjoy their wealth and good fortune without unjustified righteous anger and without charity of thought or deed and that even though they do not know it themselves, they continue to spout the ugly racism that has characterized almost all of America’s past. 

Sad, indeed.

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