Monday, May 7, 2012

Some unknown but alarming number of ultra-rich Americans are now basically totally delusional and completely divorced from reality. This is now an inescapable fact, confirmed by multiple media accounts of billionaire thought and an entire special issue of the New York Times Magazine.

Here’s a brief list of insane things that are apparently common knowledge among the billionaire class:
  • That President Obama and the Democratic Party have treated wealthy finance industry titans maliciously and unfairly.
  • That the fact that they are perversely wealthy and growing richer during a period of mass unemployment and staggering debt is a sign that the economy is functioning correctly.
  • That poor people, and not the finance industry, are responsible for the financial crisis and subsequent recession.
  • That the ultra-wealthy are wealthy because they are smarter and work harder than everybody else, and that they are resented for their success.
  • That the ultra-wealthy in general, and finance industry executives in particular, are the victims of widespread prejudice akin to that faced by ethnic minorities.
There can be no reasoning with people this irrational. Any attempt to do so will fail, as Barack Obama, whose main goal is to maintain, not upend, the system that made these people so disgustingly wealthy, is learning. It’s growing harder and harder to pretend that the fantastically wealthy have a sophisticated understanding of politics — or math, or economics, or cause-and-effect.

The rich are not intrinsically more virtuous or hardworking than the masses. They are also, decidedly, not any smarter. And they receive their news, and their political opinions, from the exact same organs as everyone else. They may be more likely to read the Wall Street Journal than the New York Post, but both of those Murdoch-owned newspapers carry similar lies on their editorial pages. In other words, they actually believe their bullshit. They honestly believe that mean Democrats invented “Occupy Wall Street” in order to make them scapegoats for a crisis that they feel no responsibility for. People who are in the business of extracting fees and interest from consumers, or moving rich people’s money around, unironically think of themselves as “job creators.”

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