Monday, March 19, 2012

All they're asking for is a little respect

I've been saying for years, after the first million, it's not about money anymore; it's about power. Of course, times being what they are, perhaps I should revise it to say the first ten million, but the point is the same. No one needs more than a few million to live a comfortable life. After the point of ensuring economic security, accumulating money is just a way to buy influence and respect.

But respect isn't so easy to buy these days and as Dr. Krugman points out, the increasingly thin-skinned filthy rich are pissed that the automatic kowtowing has ceased.
For all the brashness and bravado that goes with their world, it seems the managers are oddly insecure about their purpose. For years, “most people in the financial service sector were viewed with enormous, out-of-the-box respect and adulation,” says Daley. “These guys were on pedestals, and now that pedestal’s gone, and now, in a lot of people’s minds, the industry doesn’t have that glow, and that bothers them, and now they join that with the president and his theoretically bashing the wealthy. They’ve got to blame somebody, and they blame him because he is representative of that group of people who ‘aren’t us.’” Former Official B told me, “Whether it’s [former Fed Chairman Paul] Volcker saying there’s been no financial innovation worth a shit since the ATM or the president saying his thing, they’re hypersensitive.” Former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank was more scathing: “They don’t just want us to represent their interest, they want to be told that what they do is very good. They want to be honored for what they do for society. And Obama has hurt their feelings. Raising their taxes is not simply a blow to their income. It is a blow to their psychic income, a failure to recognize the enormous good they do for the world.”
What they seem to not to have noticed is the "enormous good" they're doing these days is for each other at the expense of the underclasses. Even the slowest witted out among the hoi polloi have finally caught on to their game and they want to review the rule book.

Related, a new study finds holding power can make you stupid. Sadly, the proposed cure of shaming the oligarchs into reality probably won't work. As long as they pay no price for cheating and unbridled greed, what reason would they have to be ashamed?

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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