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Billionaire self-pity and the Koch brothers

By GLENN GREENWALD, Salon

Since the financial crisis of 2008, one of the most revealing spectacles has been the parade of financial elites who petulantly insist that they are the victims of societal hostility:  political officials heap too much blame on them, public policy burdens them so unfairly, the public resents them, and — most amazingly of all — President Obama is a radical egalitarian who is unprecedentedly hostile to business interests.  One particularly illustrative example was the whiny little multi-millionaire hedge fund manager (and CNBC contributor), Anthony Scaramucci, who stood up at an October, 201o, town hall meeting and demanded to know:  "when are we going to stop whacking at the Wall Street pinata?"

The Weekly Standard now has a very lengthy defense of — including rare interviews with — Charles and David Koch, the libertarian billionaires who fund everything from right-wing economic policy, union-busting, and anti-climate-change advocacy to civil liberties and liberalized social policies — though far more the former goals than the latter.  In this article one finds the purest and most instructive expression of billionaire self-pity that I think I’ve ever seen — one that is as self-absorbed and detached from reality as it destructive.  It’s really worth examining their revealed mindset to see how those who wield the greatest financial power (and thus the greatest political power) think of themselves and those who are outside of their class.

I’m not someone who sees the Koch Brothers as some sort of unique threat.  I mostly regard them as little more than a symbol of the death of democratic values in the U.S. — the way in which the possession of vast financial resources is an absolute prerequisite to making any impact on the national political process, and conversely, how those without such resources are politically inconsequential and impotent (short of their fomenting serious social unrest).  Every political movement needs demons lurking behind every problem — the more hidden and omnipotent the better — and the Koch Brothers now serve the same function for the Left as George Soros long served for the Right:  the bogeymen who motivate the loyalists and on whom everything bad, including political losses, can be blamed.  

Read more here: Billionaire self-pity and the Koch brothers – Wall Street – Salon.com.


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