Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Wall Street Crybabies

It's hard to keep track of all the atrocious examples of whining by the rich and entitled, although comparing raising their taxes to Hitler invading Poland still deserves special status.

This American Life, which is always good, aired a great episode for 9./24/10, "Crybabies." If nothing else, listen to the first segment, because it superbly documents this appalling mentality of persecution by some of the most privileged:

Act One. Wall Street: Money Never Weeps.

Ira with Planet Money economics correspondent Adam Davidson on why—even after everything President Obama has done to save Wall Street, actions which have led to record profits and bonuses—Wall Street seems ungrateful. Adam and producer Jane Feltes head out to a Wall Street bar where they're told by three finance guys that there's no reason to thank the President for saving their jobs. Planet Money is a co-production of This American Life and NPR News. (14 minutes)

The cognitive dissonance is really pretty impressive. The Wall Street guys they talk to claim both that the government had to bail out Wall Street, and that they weren't helped. As Ira Glass observes, "At no point will they cop to the point that they benefited from the government's actions."

Tax policy shouldn't be driven solely by vindictiveness. Taxing the rich fairly – which would mean at a much higher rate – is good, even essential, policy. It's also good politics. However, considering there's been a vicious, callous class war waged by a significant number of the rich on the bottom 80% of America, turnaround would be more than fair play. And if one was tempted to think that important economic and fiscal policies somehow shouldn't be enacted because the rich and wealthy are so tremendously nice and caring as a class already, listening to these tremendously self-entitled assholes should kill that notion pretty quickly.

(The same epsiode ends with a darkly comic fable from David Sedaris. It reminded me of an old Brecht aphorism, actually, but to quote it would spoil the story.)

Update: Per request, here's that Brecht passage.



Emphyrio said...

Hey, put the Brecht aphorism in the comments.

Batocchio said...

Okay - I added an update that links it.

bill said...

Well, the Brecht quote assumes the people have no insight. Granted, many--maybe most--of us don't. But some of us do and we definitely want to piss on the shoes of the people who are so obviously screwing us. Unfortunately, American-style representative democracy and building security guards prevent us from doing this.