Too rich for my blood

No More Mister Nice Guy blog outlines what may well be the worst article ever to appear in the New York Times, an extended whine by Paul Sullivan about all the angry email he got for his piece “A Thousand Violins, Playing Just For the Rich People“. Here’s a sample:

“That’s so stupid that you ought to be slapped for it,” one woman wrote. My favorite began: “Bowties and Reaganomics are for losers. You can cry for the rich all you want, the rest of us will be happy to see them get taxed.”

The vehemence in these e-mail messages made me wonder why so many people were furious at those who had more than they did. And why are the rich shouldering the blame for a collective run of bad decision-making? After all, many of the rich got there through hard work. And plenty of not-so-rich people bought homes, cars and electronics they could not afford and then defaulted on the debt, contributing to the crash last year.

Sullivan goes on to suggest mass psychotherapy for everyone who didn’t like the piece, because, you see, if you don’t like reading about the travails of the ultra-wealthy, that means you have an unhealthy level of anger towards rich people.

Personally, I don’t resent rich people at all. Maybe I should, but I don’t. What I do resent is the New York Times wasting space discussing the economic “problems” of the rich when there are people out there who have real economic problems. I am not one of those people, by the grace of God, but you know the drill: 45 million without health insurance, 10% unemployment, wave after wave of foreclosures. Those are real economic problems. A 30% dip in your hundred million dollar trust fund is not.

If there were some terrible disease that was only affecting rich people and Paul Sullivan asked us to feel sorry for them, I would do so. In fact, I’m willing to admit right now that there may be all kinds of psychological problems that afflict the rich disproportionately and, if so, I have sympathy for those afflicted.

But Sullivan is not asking us to feel sorry for the rich because of any of those things, he’s asking us to feel sorry for the rich because they aren’t quite as rich as they used to be. And, that my friends, is total bullshit.

It’s one thing for Sullivan to write some sob piece about the rich because one of his editors told him to do so. That’s understandable. But when you write an entire column whining about the email you got and accusing your readers of psychological problems, you’re an asshole. It’s that simple.

There are days when I wish the New York Times would hurry up and go bankrupt.

I don’t normally like to make things this personal, but this picture of the reporter is worth at least a thousand words.

sullivan190






127 replies
  1. 1
    Napoleon says:

    That guy makes Urkel look like one of the cool kids.

  2. 2
    licensed to kill time says:

    Back in the 80’s, I used to have an “Eat The Rich” t-shirt. A friend of mine saw it and said “We are the rich”.

    In a compared to the rest of the world way.

    I’m not getting an “I’m Sorry For The Rich” shirt anytime soon, though.

  3. 3
    OC says:

    He’s got “douche” written all over him.

  4. 4
    Comrade Jake says:

    I appreciate the lengthy post here DougJ, but I think you could’ve just gone with the title, a link to the whining, and the photo. ‘Nuff said.

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    and the photo.

    I would have if I’d found the photo before I finished the piece.

  6. 6
    Cat Lady says:

    Nothing says “I’m a wanker” like a bow tie – George Will, Tucker Carlson, now Paul Sullivan…

  7. 7
    Ann B. Nonymous says:

    Four billion years of life on Earth, and what do we have to show for it? That.

  8. 8
    Leelee for Obama says:

    The saddest thing is that he looks like such a dork, he makes Carlson look fashionable. And that should be at least a misdemeanor. If the rich were paying what they should, there would be a far lower deficit and and a manageable National Debt. Notice, I didn’t say none-that has always been a part of the economy, and according to CW, a necessary part of the deal-beats me why.

    Tax ’em, eat ’em, whatever, ’cause you sure as shit can’t shame ’em, if the Goldman-Sachs, J. P. Morgan examples are definitive.

  9. 9

    @Ann B. Nonymous

    Four billion years of life on Earth, and what do we have to show for it? That.

    Yeah, it’s a stunning refutation of the whole theory of intelligent design.

  10. 10
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    I don’t trust people with bowties.

  11. 11
    Incertus says:

    But when you write an entire column whining about the email you got and accusing your readers of psychological problems, you’re an asshole. It’s that simple.

    And he gets paid a healthy salary to do it as well. Ugh.

  12. 12
    El Tiburon says:

    Bingo. I don’t resent rich people. I know a few, and just like anyone else, some are douchebags and the others very nice.

    Of course all things being equal, hanging with the rich has some perks.

    What we all resent are the special privileges they enjoy and the entitlement some of them have.

    Probably as a class, though, the very wealthy, I think, truly believe they are the blessed people who we should all bow down to.

  13. 13
    Onkel Bob says:

    Agreed, we are the rich. Having served in the military and visited many third, err… developing world countries, we are indeed the rich. Trust me, the homeless dude on NYC streets has it better than some of the shopkeepers in backwater Turkey.
    Nonetheless, to say the rich earned their money is to deny reality. Damn few ever earned it. Bill Gates got to where he was by his dad’s connections to IBM (he was a lawyer in IBM). Do you think IBM bought DOS because they thought it was good? The Google guys and the Cisco guys started their business at Stanford – ya think they were there on Pell Grants? The rich are rich for usually one reason – they were born into it. I’m not saying they didn’t work hard, or were smart; however, if you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, or need to run from your family and join the military because it’s your only hope of of avoiding soul crushing poverty, well path to success is much shorter. Ann Richards remarked that the Shrub was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.

  14. 14
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    I don’t trust people with bowties.

    Now that’s something of yours I can agree with, BoB.

  15. 15
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    And why are the rich shouldering the blame for a collective run of bad decision-making?

    Gee, I dunno? Could it be because they (the rich) were the ones making the freaking decisions, that just happened to have a bad run?

    Or is this just an example of ungrateful passengers bitching at the railroad engineers just because the train derailed and fell into a canyon? They could have done something to prevent it, but didn’t because they were too busy pigging out back in the dining car. You know, bad decision-making in a collective run sort of way.

  16. 16
    Deschanel says:

    Gosh, another annoying Sullivan out there?

    His article must be the 25th this year alone in the Times, describing the very well-off making oh-so-painful adjustments in lifestyle and status.

    “Wearing a bow tie announces to the world you can no longer get an erection.” -David Sedaris

  17. 17
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Perfectamundo. I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I am agreeing with you.

    As for Bow-tie Sullivan, wanker.

    P.S. I don’t hate the wealthy for their money, either. I just dislike anyone who thinks s/he’s better than other people for any social status reason. Yes, it’s a very unwieldy sentence. Sue me.

  18. 18
    Svensker says:

    @Ann B. Nonymous:

    Four billion years of life on Earth, and what do we have to show for it? That.

    You may have just come up with the strongest argument for the Young Earth Theory.

  19. 19
    AJS says:

    The problem with this guy is he is obscene. He does not know what troubles or anxiety are. People are hurting, everywhere, and more than before.

    I live in Spain, 20% unemployment where we are. La Crisis is real and people go hungry.

    Today in the park we met a couple from Uzbekistan with 4 young boys. They paid an agent 600euros and took a bus from Latvia to Spain for a job that did not exist. It was a scam. They were on the street for a few nights in a small town before they got help. They do not speak Spanish. They are in a shelter now and the father will pick oranges until and if he can find something better. 1 euro for 3 crates and they charge him 5 euros for the ride to the field. The 6 share 1 room with another family in the shelter and they can only stay there 6 weeks max.

    And we are supposed to feel bad for the rich? Or those who are angry have psychological problems? There are millions if not billions of people in the same or worse condition as the family I met today.

    There for the grace of God go I (and Paul Douche Sullivan)

  20. 20
    Eric U. says:

    @Onkel Bob: I think Google and Cisco are exceptions; people that got rich by earning it. Then there are people that get promoted to high level management of large corporations and get rich basically because large companies now exist as a platform for executive compensation. The nature of the stupid decisions I see suggests that the business itself is not one of their major concerns.

    Just look at AIG. They bet the company on some awfully stupid bets. They were making lots of money off of the sales of stupid bets. Let’s say I have to give your company 10 million dollars to collect 100 million if Michelle Bachmann says something stupid in the next year. If you get 10% commission, you’re going to be a millionaire. Your company is sitting on a massive loss. This is effectively what happened throughout the finance industry.

  21. 21
    Ken Jackson says:

    Almost daily, I run into one of your Rich M’effers here in Paradise. At present we are getting 2 Pacboats a week coming thru the Islands and between the portly and the blue hairs, all holding a drink with an umbrella in one hand and grumbling about the prices and the fact that the “natives” don’t seem to speak or understand them to their other halves.

    I usually keep my mouth shut as I would much rather have them think that I am French, or a nationality that doesn’t understand their language also. It keeps me out of the fights usually, unless one of these leeches adresses me directly or makes an assholey statement that I just have to interject my alligator mouth and humming bird ass into the conversation going on. Usually it is about the natives and how much better they would fare under Uncle Sams benevolent rule, or how they would be better off building themselves a really nice home instead of the “hovels” they live in now.

    We used to get quite a lot of middle class people down here, but that doesn’t happen anymore. The middle class cannot afford to vacation down here. So, all that is left to visit us are your Reich Wing equal opportunity Haters..

    No, I don’t really like what the USA is sending our way these days and only hope that one day, sanity and intelligence may return to the country of my birth.. I don’t really think that will happen in my lifetime though.

    Just this old Chief’s 2 cents

  22. 22
    bjacques says:

    Many of us hopped along for the ride because Alan Greenspan and Jim Cramer and the money honeys of CNBC *told us to*, and laughed at anyone who expressed misgivings.

    And that bowtie screams “Federalist Society dipshit.” For George Fwill, P.J. O’Rourke and Tucker Carlson, that was the badge of a secret-but-not-really society of smug glibertarians out to “prove,” mostly through bad faith arguments, that government’s only role was to protect the rich and their stuff against everyone else.

  23. 23
    pragmatic idealist says:

    I think you should cut the NYT some slack. The rich are the only subscribers they have left, you have to expect some pandering.

  24. 24
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Comrade Kevin: In my view, bow ties are only appropriate for formal wear (black-tie or white-tie). Any other non-ironic use makes the wearer look like George Will.

  25. 25
    Eric U. says:

    I actually have enjoyed these articles about rich people that lost most of their fortunes. The article about Ted Turner was sad, just because he was the last person in the news business that actually cared about it.

    Sure, they could have published stories that allowed their readers to become more informed about the health care debate or done a lot of other things. But hopefully these examples can pry some rich away from the Republicans, or at least made a lot of wannabe rich people that Republicans don’t necessarily help the rich.

  26. 26
    lovethebomb says:

    Yah, those rich folk trading toxic mortgage derivaties at a 30:1 leverage coupled with unsupportable credit default swaps sure WORKED HARD and after Paulson got on his knees to Pelosi. They got their gambling debts paid off with taxpayer monies. Cause socialism is for the rich. Privatize the profit, socialize the debt.

    Bundling and securitizing sub prime loans into exotic financial instrument which exploded when the real estat bubble burst just proves that poor people taking out loans they COULDN’T AFFORD and buying electronics on credit is the real problem. Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac (code for black peeples) are surely the problem. The rich work hard. They are successful because, in America, the winners succeed and the losers fail. If you are rich, you are a success and a winner. That means you are blessed by god.

    If you are not rich, that means you are a loser and a failure and there is some moral failing which is responsible for your not being a blessed rich bow tie wearing fuckface.

    Perhaps you cared a bit about other people? Or mebe you have a conscience. There are a number of things which can cause you to be a non-success in America, a loser and a failure. But if you work for Goldman Sachs or AIG and scheme up ways to gamble trillions with working people’s retirement funds, you can be sure Uncle Sam will give you those trillions back if you lose them because you are “too big to fail.” Blessed be the rich, for they shall inherit the treasury.

  27. 27
    R. Porrofatto says:

    I love how the guys he’s quoting are all Wealth Managers, including Robert Clarfeld, who manages $3 billion largely for financial services executives, the very fucking people who… oh shit, never mind, it just makes the blood boil.

    If ordinary Americans ever got an idea of just how much money we’re talking about, the incredible (some might say obscene) luxury and untold financial security these people enjoy, and their “winning the lottery every day” incomes, why, those ordinary Americans might just have to watch an extra hour or two of “reality” shows just to forget about it.

  28. 28
    namekarB says:

    @Onkel Bob:

    The rich are rich for usually one reason – they were born into it.

    Take it to its logical conclusion. Think of them as “The Ruling Class.” The rich end up with the bulk of the political positions and often pass those same positions on to an heir. The Ruling Part has a left wing and a right wing. Thus we end up with a small group of folks who control the wealth and the government.

    If you want proof that “The Ruling Party” exists, just try to change the two-party duopoly that controls all levels of government. The only time the Dems and Repubs cooperate is to extinguish any reform to the system of government.

  29. 29
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    I don’t trust people with bowties.

    ***muttering to self under breath…***

    Aw geez… he FINALLY said something I HAVE to agree w/…

  30. 30

    Bwahahaha! Jesus, he looks exactly, exactly like you’d expect.

    And what the fuck is it with writers named Sullivan? Why are so many of them begging me to deliver a sharp kick in the pants?

  31. 31
    cleek says:

    looks like Thurston Howell the Fifth

  32. 32
    eemom says:

    Backpfeifengesicht.

    German for “face that cries out for a fist in it.”

    Good word.

  33. 33
    gnomedad says:

    @Deschanel:

    Gosh, another annoying Sullivan out there?

    They are clones, awaiting Order 66.

  34. 34
    mclaren says:

    Okay, I’ll be the odd man out. I hate the rich for their money. The vast of ’em inherited it, the rest got it by thieving and lying and scamming and committing outright murder, either directly or indirectly. Bernie Madoff is the rule, not the rare exception. If you look at the history of how people got wealthy in America, it’s a long history of murder and theft — Leland Stanford promising to deed land to farmers and then after they developed it with homesteads, he kicks them out and takes over their land. The Appalachian Coal Mine wars in which the coal mining companies hired Baldwin Felts private detective goons to murder striking miners and gun down the local sheriff.

    The River Rouge plant strike, in which Henry Ford set up machine gun emplacements and hired thugs with axe handles to beat Walter Reuther to a pulp. The Pullman Strike in which striking workers demanded a living wage and were shot down like dogs by the state police. The Triangle Shirtwaist company fire, where young girls were locked into sweatshops and died screaming when a fire swept through the building and burned them alive. From thalidomide to DDT, from cars without seatbelts for 50 years to insurance companies revoking the insurance of dying children, the way you get rich in America is by murdering people…legally.

    Some people have suggested that if Americans had any balls, they’d slam every rich person up against a wall and shoot ’em in a series of firing squads. Personally that sounds extreme to me but when you study American history, it’s hard not to admit that an argument could made to that effect. When the wobblies talked about lining rich people near a slit trench and walking down the line, shooting each rich criminal in the head one at a time so they fell forward into the lime pit trench, that strikes me as unreasonable and unacceptable. When you study American history and realize that young girls were used in coal mines to haul carts of ore because when they died of overwork, they were cheaper to replace than horses, you start to realize where such unacceptable suggestions came from.

    Read a few history books and you realize the number of times the national guard and state militias were called out to murder striking workers during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Consider the fact that on 4 separate occasions, air strikes were called in to bomb striking workers and their wives and children.

    Study incidents like these, and you realize how people really get rich in America:

    1825 The first strike for the 10-hour work-day occurred by carpenters in Boston.

    1835 Children employed in the silk mills in Paterson, NJ went on strike for the 11 hour day/6 day week.

    1874 Tompkins Square Riot. As unemployed workers demonstrated in New York’s Tompkins Square Park, a detachment of mounted police charged into the crowd, beating men, women and children indiscriminately with billy clubs and leaving hundreds of casualties in their wake. Commented Abram Duryee, the Commissioner of Police: “It was the most glorious sight I ever saw…”

    1877 Ten coal-mining activists (“Molly Maguires”) were hanged in Pennsylvania.

    1877 A general strike halted the movement of U.S. railroads. In the following days, strike riots spread across the United States. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the nationwide strike. At the “Battle of the Viaduct” in Chicago, federal troops (recently returned from an Indian massacre) killed 30 workers and wounded over 100.

    1886 – Haymarket Massacre – May Coordinated strikes and demonstrations are held nationwide,
    to demand an eight-hour workday for industrial workers. McCormick Reaper Works factory strike; unarmed strikers,
    police clash; several strikers are killed. A meeting of workingmen is held near Haymarket Square; police arrive to “disperse the peaceful assembly; a bomb is thrown into the ranks of the police; the police open fire; workingmen
    evidently return fire; police and an unknown number of workingmen killed; the bomb thrower is unidentified. police
    arrest anarchist and labor activists. The grand jury indicts 31, charged with being accessories to the murder of policeman Mathias J. Degan; eight are chosen to stand trial: Albert Parsons, August Spies, Oscar Neebe, Louis Lingg, George Engel, Adolph Fischer, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden. Jury selection commences; 981 citizens are questioned during the voir dire process; the resultant panel of twelve are largely businessmen, clerks or salesmen; the jurors, like the public at large, hold preconceived notions about the defendants’ connection to the bombing. Trial testimony begins; 227 testify including 54 members of the Chicago Police Department and the defendants Fielden, Schwab, Spies and Parsons; the defendants are prosecuted not as perpetrators but as responsible for instigating the violence; a guilty verdict and death sentence are considered inevitable. The jury convicts the defendants and sentences Neebe to fifteen years in the penitentiary and the others to death by hanging. 1887 — Illinois Supreme Court upholds rulings and verdict.
    November 2, 1887 — The U.S. Supreme Court denies an appeal, despite an international campaign for clemency.
    Louis Lingg commits suicide in his jail cell. November 11, 1887 — Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel, Louis Lingg and Adolph Fischer were executed. They had organized for an 8-hour day and were framed for their efforts.

    1892 – Strike in the Coeur d’Alene mining region of northern Idaho, unionists discover a company plant,
    Charles Siringo. Trouble ensues, with union men dynamiting a mill and capturing 130 non-union workers
    and holding them prisoner in a union hall. Several persons are killed by gunfire. Over 400 union men commandeer a train and take it to Wardner , Idaho, where they seize three mines, ejecting non-union workers and company officials. Governor Willey declares martial law and asks President Benjamin Harrison to send federal troops, which he does. The strike grew out of the mine owners’ decision to reduce
    wages for certain workers from 35 cents an hour to 30 cents. Federal troops arrest 600 union men and sympathizers, placing them in warehouses surrounded by 14-foot high fences. For two months, the men are kept without hearing or formal charges, then most are released. Union leaders are tried.

    1892 – Homestead Strike – lockout and strike which began on June 30, 1892, culminating in a battle between strikers and private security agents hired by Andrew Carnegie on July 6, 1892. It is one of the most serious labor disputes in U.S. history, ending with the mass murder of striking workers by state police.

    1894 – 2,000 federal troops were called into Pullman, Ill., to break up a huge strike against the Pullman railway company and two workers were shot and killed by U.S. deputy marshals.

    Federal troops frequently were needed in Idaho, 1892 and 1899. Miners in Idaho fought mine owners and their private militias. The Western Federation of Miners was created in the wake of the 1892 episode of violence, where miners are arrested and imprisoned; and while they were in federal prison, they talked about what has happened to them, and they decided they never wanted that to happen to them again, and they created the union.

    1899 – Union miners plant 60 boxes of dynamite beneath the world’s largest concentrator, owned by the Bunker Hill Mining Company in Wardner, Idaho, and at 2:35 p.m. light the fuse, destroying the concentrator and several nearby buildings. Governor Steunenberg calls on President McKinley to send federal troops to suppress the unrest. Federal troops arrest “every male–miners, bartenders, a doctor, a preacher, even a postmaster and a school superindentent–” in the union-controlled town of Burke, Idaho. The men are loaded into boxcars, taken to Wardner, and herded into an old barn. Within a few days, the number
    of men held captive in Wardner grows to over 1, 000.

    1909 – NYC – 30,000 garment workers go on on strike. As young as age 15, they are worked seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (53 hour work week) with a half-hour lunch break. During the busy season, the work was nearly non-stop. They were paid about $6 per week. In some cases, they were required to use their own needles, thread, irons and occasionally their own sewing machines. Owners hired thugs to break up striking women. Police back the owners and arrest strkers. Judges quickly sentenced them to Labor Camps. One judge said their strike went against God’s will.

    914 – Ludlow, Colorado Massacre – This was the most violent labor conflict in U.S. history; the reported death toll was nearly 200 It began withe deaths of 20 people, 11 of them children, during an attack by the Colorado National Guard on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado in the U.S. on April 20, 1914. These deaths occurred after a day-long fight
    between strikers and the Guard. Two women, twelve children, six miners and union officials and one National Guardsman were killed. In response, the miners armed themselves and attacked dozens of mines, destroying property and engaging in several skirmishes with the Colorado National Guard.

    This is how you get rich in America. You brutalize your workers, treat ’em like animals, then when they rebel you hire private goons to beat and shoot them. When that doesn’t work, you call up your buddy the governor and have him send in federal troops to murder anyone who tries to stand up to you.

    Every great fortune is built on a crime. The hands of the rich in America drip with human blood.

    So looks like I’m the only one who stands up and says it out loud — the rich are monsters. They got their money by killing people and abusing their workers. The main difference between Jack the Ripper and Andrew Carnegie is that Carnegie killed more women when his toady Frick called in the state militia to murder striking workers. If a rich person hasn’t committed murder directly, he’s done it indirectly by refusing to test for e coli in cheap contaminated meat or refusing to test for melamine in poisoned imported Chinese foodstocks. The rich are sociopaths and murderers and anyone who doesn’t hate them is a codependent bully worshiper born to be a chalk outline on the sidewalk.

  35. 35
    raptusregaliter says:

    @namekarB:

    I have no personal animus towards Caroline Kennedy, but her “ruling class” mentality bugged the crap out of me when she thought she should be appointed to Hillary’s vacated Senate seat just because, well, she’s a Kennedy dammit! Seeing her run from reporters when they tried to interview her was quite an eye-opener.

  36. 36
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Deschanel:

    Wearing a bow tie announces to the world you can no longer get an erection.” -David Sedaris

    People like GWill, Carlson & this Backpfeifengesicht (thank you, Eemom) prudently figure it’s harder for anyone to choke them to death if they’re wearing a bowtie instead of the normal garrotte version.

  37. 37
    A Squirrel says:

    I think the whole “rich people all worked really hard for this” captain-of-industry bullshit is the most pernicious myth America indulges.

    Sure, many of ’em work hard, and many are quite skilled, but there is just so much chance involved in where we end up in life. It is transparently true. That doesn’t mean we all must support liberal redistributionist policies or anything, but if your philosophy relies on ignoring/refuting that fact (ahem, Mr. Sullivan), then your philosophy is bullshit.

    In a just world, the rich need not be reviled or envied, but nor should they be put on a pedestal. Christ, I hate Paul Sullivan.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Anne Laurie: I think it would be quite easy to do using a bow tie, just grab the ends and pull.

  39. 39
    bayville says:

    A wimpier-looking George Will…and twice as snooty.
    Must be a lovely guy to hang with.

  40. 40
    Jack says:

    <—-has a healthy disregard for rich people.

  41. 41
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    @Eric U.:

    large companies now exist as a platform for executive compensation

    Wow. This is most succinct and accurate explanation I’ve seen yet of corporate America.

    Again, I say wow.

  42. 42
    Joshua Norton says:

    Gack! He looks like one of the dork’s who lost the audition to be Rachael Zoe’s new gal-pal sidekick.

  43. 43
    ruemara says:

    Bowties. Sign of massive Asshattery except if you’re shilling popcorn.

  44. 44
    Frank West says:

    From “The Great Gatsby”: “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one… just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

    It’s difficult to feel a boatload of sympathy for a guy (or class) who doesn’t appreciate just how good he’s really got it.

    I wouldn’t personally choose his sartorial look, but I can’t quite bring myself to pile onto him for that… maybe some misguided soul told him he looked good in that bow tie.

  45. 45
    Interrobang says:

    Conrad Black to me epitomizes the attitude that people are angry about. Not only is Black a rich scofflaw, but he’s rude, arrogant, and entitled about it. Obviously the law should not apply to him, and nothing he does should ever have adverse consequenses for him (although consequenses that make him look good or richer are okay) because he’s C*O*N*R*A*D B*L*A*C*K (dammit, and you’re not).

    For example, he once suggested that Linda McQuaig, a Canadian economics writer, be “horsewhipped on national television.” Me, I’d pay cash money (albeit not to him) to see Conrad Black horsewhipped on national television…

    Resent the rich? Sure, when they’re assholes about it, not to mention lying, scheming, murdering, thieving, lawbreaking pieces of scum. The fact that Sullivan glosses over that angle is exceedingly telling, I think.

  46. 46
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    @ruemara:

    Bowties. Sign of massive Asshattery

    In this case, a bowtie is an asshat.

  47. 47
    hilzoy fangirl says:

    If being rich is such a drag, there’s an easy solution: stop being rich. It’s not exactly difficult to do.

  48. 48
    El Bandito Blancito says:

    If you wear a bowtie, it is impossible for you to win a fight. That’s a fact.

    The same holds true if you wear a baby backpack, but I digress.

  49. 49
    Wolfdaughter says:

    asiangrrIMN:

    P.S. I don’t hate the wealthy for their money, either. I just dislike anyone who thinks s/he’s better than other people for any social status reason. Yes, it’s a very unwieldy sentence. Sue me.

    I don’t hate them either, but I would go even farther than your statement to say, that I don’t care for the attitude of anyone who thinks that h/she is better than someone else, AS A HUMAN BEING, for any reason. Yes, people do have different talents and abilities and levels thereof, and some people do work harder than others at developing their talents/abilities. Olympic stars deserve kudos for their sports ability. Most of us on this blog are more intelligent than the average person, at least in a book-learning sense. But that doesn’t make us, or Olympic stars, or actors, or Obama for that matter, better than others AS HUMAN BEINGS, while recognizing superior achievement in a particular area of endeavor.

    BTW, Asiangrr, I don’t find your writing unwieldy at all, and in fact, always enjoy reading your points of view. They are pithy, well-written, and betray a warm heart. Thanks for all of them.

    McLaren:

    Thanks for the history of strikes and who beat up on whom. This needs to be trumpeted widely, beyond this blog.

    Squirrel:

    Sure, many of ‘em work hard, and many are quite skilled, but there is just so much chance involved in where we end up in life.

    Yes, this is true, and I would like to go further with the point you were making. There are only 24 hours/day, and it is physically impossible to work hours to justify the obscene amounts that CEOs and other higher end folks “earn”, no matter how hard they work. There are also folks at the other end, for example, casual laborers during picking season, who work their butts off. Or people doing cleaning and other janitorial work. Or plumbers on a nasty job. Teachers put in far more hours than the few spent in the classroom. Nurses, PCTs, etc., work long hours, on their feet much of the time, with various nasty human body exuda. And if you’re in the hospital, regardless of why you’re there, you are absolutely dependent on these people doing their jobs well, and recognizing if you are going sour. NOT the physicians who visit you once a day for a few minutes at best, but the folks delivering the actual healthcare.

    I could go on and on, but I’m preaching to the choir here.

  50. 50
    Reason60 says:

    In a moment of Zen tranquility, I gazed upon the photo, and came to the realization that yes, he probably gets an obscene amount of money to write shit like that, and yes, probably lives in luxury that Joe Lunchbucket can only dream of, and yes, probably will never face the guillotine…..

    but in karmic retribution, he is condemned to walk through life looking like that.

    I am now at peace.

  51. 51
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    you know the drill: 45 million without health insurance, 10% unemployment, wave after wave of foreclosures. Those are real economic problems. A 30% dip in your hundred million dollar trust fund is not.

    I’ll gladly give my $150 a week unemployment check to a Wall Street stockbroker if it means he doesn’t have to fire his dog-walker! ! ! Gotta have priorities!

  52. 52
    superdestroyer says:

    45 million Americans are not going without insurance. I believe the number is close to 30 million with another 15 million counting as illegal aliens and others who will supposedly not benefit from any government run health care program (if President Obama is to be believed).

  53. 53
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    The reason the NYT is pushing crap like this is because with the economy getting as bad as it is they have to focus on those who have enough money left to afford a newspaper.

    He’s got “douche” written all over him.

    Wrong. If you were a woman, would you put this douche in you? I thought not.

  54. 54
    A Squirrel says:

    @Wolfdaughter:

    I agree with you. I guess the million dollar question is “how do we even income out, at least a bit?” And then to wonder if anyone actually running things cares about the answer.

  55. 55
    NobodySpecial says:

    Two words to defend the bowtie: Paul Simon. One of the best men I’ve ever met in my life.

  56. 56
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NobodySpecial: He would have been nothing without Garfunkel. What? Oh, never mind.

  57. 57
    A Squirrel says:

    Wait a second…are you guys saying an “I hate the sixties” bow tie isn’t a sign of a virile ubermench?

    My wardrobe is f*cked.

  58. 58
    The Moar You Know says:

    I hate the rich for their money.

    @mclaren: So do I, for all the reasons that you describe. They’ve almost always stolen it or inherited it, neither of which I can respect.

  59. 59
    bellatrys says:

    I didn’t hate the rich, I too parrotted the “rich people can be just as nice and virtuous as poor people or even more so” as a good little conservative kid – until I worked for them, as bosses and as clients and realized just how much they depended on me being poor to continue their high salaries or maintaining their corporate profits, and overheard them mocking us poor folks as suckers and fools who deserved to suffer for being so stupid as to be poor and thus not worth regarding either as customers or potential voters. Sorry, make that “really fucking poor,” for the exact quote.

    No one is rich without exploiting others, or inheriting the exploitation of others’ labors. No one. Not the doctor, not the lawyer, not the architect, not the small business owner with two houses and a boat. It all comes at the cost of not paying living wages to those who make their jobs possible.

    And no, I don’t accept the “tu quoque, neener neener” of claims that the poorest American is better off than the richest foreigner – tell that to the homeless man who froze to death in Nashua, to the kid who died of a systemic tooth infection last year, to all those people living in tents and Hoovervilles across the country now that winter is coming, to all those people standing for hours waiting for medical care in American cities, to the towns and remote locales in Appalachia and the Southwest and even in the Midwest that are too poor even for running water.

    Yes, even our poverty is subsidized by the greater poverty of the exploited nations in South America, Africa and Asia. Whose fault is that? The rich, who exploit them for the gross and obscene profits of Wall Street and the City, the Nikes and Bordens and all the multi-nationals who make us all scabs upon each other for their wealth, which they so graciously “trickle down” upon us plebes.

    So no, no pity. Aux barricades, citoyennes – solidarity is the answer, not a passive submission to the Kleptocracy.

  60. 60
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I don’t hate the rich for their money, I hate those rich that believe their wealth was accumulated only be their devices, and are unwilling to return some of it to the economic system we all have a part in maintaining, to make it possible for them to get rich in the first place.

    A system that begins with the workers they employ but goes to the entire capitalistic infrastructure we all pay to build and maintain. Mostly by taxes for roads, communication systems, etc…etc…./ I applaud people like Buffet, Bill Gates, and Ted Turner, who realize this fact and are willing to pony up a little more for the sake of maintaining the Golden Goose and for other reasons like the poor, environmental good, and the like.

    It’s the greedy motherfuckers who use their wealth to oppress people and efforts to change institutions that serve basic human services like health care reform that I despise, and a whole litany of other lobbied payoffs to elected officials and misinformation campaigns to prevent sharing of our national wealth. Piss on them.

  61. 61
    Shell says:

    Looks like he could be Mika’s (Morning Joe) pasty-faced brother. Both have that pissy sucking-on-lemons expression.

  62. 62
    Napoleon says:

    @Deschanel:

    Sedaris is hysterical.

  63. 63

    Can we quit saying “30 million Americans are going without insurance” and instead say “30 million Americans are going without health care”?

    Seriously, what the fuck does insurance have to do with anything? It would be a means to a totally unrelated end, assuming the insurance people even PAID for that end, which they prefer not to.

    My own nightmare scenario as a poverty-line small business guy is federal rules saying HI! You now have to pay $300 a month for insurance or go to jail! In this economy, there are only so many extra expenses I can float while gambling I won’t get seriously sick…

  64. 64
    Onkel Bob says:

    Eric U I gues I wasn’t clear. That Google and Cisco came from Stanford proves the founders were born to wealth. The farm has one of the lowest rate of Pell grant recipients and is notorious for it hostility towards admitting poor students who meet the academic standards but don’t have the money. Oh there are a few in the medical school, but elsewhere, not a chance. Certainly not in Hoover Tower, home of Condi and Rummy.

  65. 65
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Chris Johnson:

    I think there will be protections for people like you, or, if you can’t afford to pay, or to pay for employees health insurance there should be subsidies and a sliding scale of where your at on the poverty scale. If there isn’t, then it will a big mistake to pass a bill that puts low income people either in the poorhouse, or jail. Whether they are self employed or not.

  66. 66
    Yutsano says:

    @superdestroyer: Anyone else notice that of all the arguments the troll could have made, THIS is the only refutation?

    Strong in the Force, you are not. /Yoda

  67. 67

    Here’s the thing the Defenders of the Rich don’t get:*

    If a multi-millionaire, or even a millionaire loses half of his money, he isn’t going to starve. Yeah, he may have to sell some assets, he might not have the life that he was accustomed to, but he’ll be OK. If we accept Sullivan’s belief that being rich = having talents and a work ethic that the non-rich don’t,** we should just sit back and wait for whatever wonderful invention/idea he comes up with to make his money back, right?***

    Whereas if a plebe such as myself were to lose half of his money, he’d be reduced to fighting rats for first dibs on the garbage behind 7-11 in about three months.

    That’s why people want to slap P. Sullivan upside the head.

    *I know people like this. They are invariably sad little twats who attempt to scale the social ladder by shoving their noses up some rich person’s bum. No one likes them.

    **Apparently Mr. Sullivan has never met a Trustafarian and completely missed the disaster that is Paris Hilton. I’ve never encountered a rich kid who had to prove he was worthy of inheriting the family cash.

    ***I would argue that if someone is that rich and he manages to blow so much cash that he’s seriously inconvenienced, he’s a dumb fuck who deserves what happened to him.

  68. 68
    Kirk Spencer says:

    When the super-rich get cold feet, the rest of America gets swine flu.

    That’s the line in Mr. Sullivan’s piece that sent me roaring with rage. It’s the pure essence of trickle down economics. “They are, after all, the people who might finance new companies that create jobs, make big investments to support existing companies and spread their wealth throughout the economy.”

    No, they don’t. Oh, some do but most do not. Instead they do two things predominately. They try to make themselves richer (being some of the heaviest investors in CDSs, for example) and they spend it on, well, it’s called conspicuous consumption. (Oh, it’s rare? Then I absolutely MUST own it. That’s the only reason I know of for Kopi Lowak to have the insane prices it has – especially given the [spit] taste.)

    Do I hate the rich? Some, yes. Most I think of as blindly selfish, unaware of how their actions impact others. I’ll give a specific example. I used to go to a church. My wife attended a women’s group, where they were all gushing about following some plan of ‘live a year like the poor’ – spend below your income, put the savings into charitable works (or into investments if you must). They were all talking about what level of income they should drop to. They finally agreed on one that was about 50% more than my household income at the time. I made more than the median income of the nation at the time, so you can work it in from there. Oh – they all failed to maintain it. While they were willing to forego some vacations and at least one trip to Europe they just couldn’t make all the sacrifices. (spit, again)

    I don’t hate them, but I do think poorly of them. If they found themselves in my shoes, I’d laugh at them and give them exactly as much help as they’ve given me – none.

    By the way, a reminder here. If your household income is more than $250,000 per year you are in the top 1.5% of income earners. You are rich. If you’ve incurred phenomenal debts to support your dozen computers and handful of cars and motorcycles and couple of houses and… then you aren’t poor, you’ve just been unwise in your lifestyle. Learn to cope, and do NOT whine to those of us living on a quarter (or less) of your income.

  69. 69

    “They are, after all, the people who might finance new companies that create jobs, make big investments to support existing companies and spread their wealth throughout the economy.”

    Or they MIGHT get loaded, overcompensate that turn, insert their Lotus Elise in your living room and then have their lawyers sue you for damages, emotional distress and failure to yield.

    Isn’t that fucking sad? Change the wording a little and he’s talking about God. (He might spread His blessings over us! Thank you, thank you, cringe, bow, stoop, fall. Worship, worship, beg, kneel, sponge, crawl.)

    And he still doesn’t get invited to all the best parties by all the best people!

  70. 70
    kay says:

    @Chris Johnson:

    I think small business people have the most to gain. You can screw around with your gross income.
    All the proposals peg your contribution to your gross. Income. Not gross receipts. That’s deliberate, because they don’t want to punish you for taking percent of receipts and investing them back in the business.
    They use a multiplier based on the federal poverty level (150%) to essentially exempt the near-poor, those that aren’t eligible for Medicaid.
    My state currently orders unmarried parents to 1. purchase health insurance for their children, 2. provide proof that they have employer provided insurance, or, 3. pay 5% of gross towards towards health care. It’s all under a “reasonable” standard, 5% of gross.
    None of those apply if the parents are under 150% of poverty level. That means the kids are on Medicaid or S-CHIP. If they’re on S-CHIP and above 150% of poverty level, they reimburse the state for the program, at 5% of gross.
    It went in in the summer of 2007, a federal rule change that was implimented (differently) by all 50 states, and it’s been well-accepted by those affected by the mandate.

  71. 71
    Gary K says:

    Poor guy, he’s probably still getting over that swirly from prep school.

  72. 72
    justinslot says:

    Hey, is the Chief Executive of Hong Kong an asshat? Well, probably.

  73. 73
    eemom says:

    as a side note, all of the above are why I never felt much sympathy for most of the Madoff “victims,” aside from the charities. Most of them were rich motherfuckers who had to have their heads up their assholes not to have figured out that he was a fraud — or paid someone to figure it out for them.

  74. 74
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Onkel Bob: Not exactly, although two of the Great American Pastimes(tm) are seeing business decisions based on influence rather than merit (or in this case, misjudgment by the competition) and hating Bill Gates.

    The following paragraphs should be a single blockquote.

    When IBM called, Bill Gates told them that CP/M wasn’t his and directed them to Gary Kildall. At one time Microsoft and Gary Kildall talked about merging their businessses, but never did. They tried to stay out of each other’s specialty.

    The next day, the suits from IBM arrived in Pacific Grove for a meeting.

    When they arrived, Gary Kildall wasn’t there.

    The legend goes that “Gary went flying”- too busy to talk to one of the biggest companies on earth.

    The truth was that he had an appointment with one of his biggest customers and had flown that morning to see them. He didn’t think the meeting with IBM was going to be that big of a deal so he left his wife, Dorothy, to speak to them, but he returned before the meeting was over.

    Before the meeting started, IBM handed Dorothy their standard one-sided nondisclosure agreement. The one-sided document stated that the meeting taking place had never taken place and if it was proven that it had taken place anything IBM told DRI was confidential and anything DRI told IBM was not. Dorothy refused to sign it and called her lawyer. While waiting for the lawyer, Gary showed up.

    Gary didn’t see the nondisclosure agreement as a big deal�: “so what if a big plodding company like IBM wanted to get into microcomputers” he thought. He would get a couple of hundred thousand dollars of business and that would be it. So Gary signed the form.

    The deal killer with IBM was that they wanted to buy CP/M for a flat $200,000 plus a $10 royalty and they wanted to change the name to PC-DOS.

    Gary thought-“why should he do that” He was earning millions, CP/M had strong brand name recognition and almost every PC except Apple was already using his operating system. Why would he want to give that up? Gary Kildall said, NO.

    IBM went back to Bill Gates to see if he could get Kildall to change his mind. But, Bill Gates game plan shifted. He had given Gary Kildall first shot. He wasn’t going to give him a second. Kildall was a better programmer. Gates was a better businessman and saw the opportunity a lot clearer than Gary Kildall did.

  75. 75
    kay says:

    I get a little tired of rich people threatening to withhold charitable contributions if they have to go back to those onerous Clinton-era tax rates, as they apparently did when speaking with this bow-tied author.

    Most of us give something. Time or money, relative to income. That they also give relative to income isn’t some big, exclusive-to-them deal. I’d rather they didn’t so blatantly threaten the proles under the guise of charity.

  76. 76
    elftx says:

    He’s an arrogant git

  77. 77
    tootiredoftheright says:

    “I believe the number is close to 30 million with another 15 million counting as illegal aliens”

    The thing is the illegal aliens cost billions in er bills since they cannot afford regular medical checkups so when they finally go to the ER due to whatever gets nasty they wind up costing far more then a simple doctor visit would cost to cure the problem.

    Also I love the conservative mantra of “the ER doesn’t turn away people go there for your medical needs” when the ER will have people arrested who don’t pay the bill for it, the ER doesn’t do things like artifical limbs, chemotherapy, organ transplants, dental surgery, physical therapy all the things people need the most of and which cost a lot of money even with insurance covering half of it (which you have to fight tooth and nail for it or have the luckiest employment plan such as being a nurse) not to mention the scaricity of.

  78. 78
    Cerberus says:

    Yeah, I’ve been living in Denmark and it’s just obvious how fucked up our rich are. Here in Denmark, minimum wage is a living wage. If you get minimum wage, you can afford food, shelter, and small luxuries for a full family. If you don’t have a job, even if you can’t work at all due to mental incapacitation or other reasons, you get shelter and enough money for food and general survival.

    Health care is absolutely free for all because that shit is too critical for anyone to be deprived of. Same with education.

    So as the farmer I stayed with when I first arrived and was waiting for student housing, “there are no rich in denmark and there are no poor and that’s how it should be.”

    It sucked to see him so deprived of luxuries really. He had to make do with his very nice ranch home with separate small house he rented to wayward foreigners like myself, cars for both he and his wife, a second home in germany, a large block of farmland for his livelihood, enough to well support his daughter who was training horses in Switzerland, and some very nice artwork and entertainment setups, including a number of original sculptures in the backyard. Oh yeah, and enough for moderate to many luxuries, more than enough for retirement, and certainly enough to take multiple vacations every year both to other european countries but also a trip every 5 years or so to somewhere far and exotic.

    But our rich aren’t happy just having an extremely comfortable lifestyle like that, complete with three houses and other small extravagances. They want the right to all the money in the world and luxuries so extravagant that they cost several hundred times the lifetime wages of the poor to pay for one single use of while fighting tooth and nail any scrap of a social net to their “lessers” who must be “lazy and who therefore deserve what they get”.

    No one but the communists would give a shit if the rich were handing over enough to fund a robust safety net that allowed everyone the minimal comfort by which to pursue a comfortable existence and certainly not if they were humbled by the chance that allowed them such luxuries.

    Instead, they seem pressed to go our of their way to piss on us as they burn our houses down and cry over tiny losses to their wealth that mean little in the way of real losses while many starve too death and lose basic needs like shelter on a daily basis. Usually due to the actions of those self-same rich bastards.

    I liked that Danish farmer, when I had to delay payment on rent trying to work out a problem with my scholarship, he was happy to wait for back payment. When I needed a bike to get into the city, he personally drove me to a nearby bike shop and helped me pick out a good model and he helped my move into my student housing. I have never and will never again have such a kind and generous landlord.

    Our rich could learn some valuable lessons from him less they wish to experience what happens when the poor and the formerly middle class no longer have anything left to lose.

  79. 79
    Onkel Bob says:

    Schadenfreude, why did IBM even talk to Gates? It wasn’t as if he had a superior product nor was he well known in computer circles. They spoke to him because he was connected. I did not say he isn’t clever, nor do I doubt he is a savvy businessman. However, it wasn’t that cleverness nor was it a savvy business decision that opened the door, it was a connection – a benefit that a lowly programmer working in the bowels of DEC, would never have the chance to exploit.
    I am not bashing Gates, he seems to be one of the decent rich. However, he never struggled to make ends meet, never faced the decision a number of poor college students face (Ramen or Friskies?) didn’t need to work two jobs while still passing Introductory Statistics. He was born to privilege and used that privilege to reach unimagined heights.
    GWB on the other hand, he used that privilege to bring the rest of us to unimagined lows.

  80. 80
    Cerberus says:

    @kay:

    It’s also offensive. If you actually make us pay for a small piece of the social net, we’ll remove the tiny percentage we give to patch the holes in the sinking ship, the percentage we only give in the first place because it allows us to steal more wealth than we give.

    It’s like they’re daring us to reinstate the 95% top marginal tax rate.

    It’s also using math to lie. What they give seems impressive, but in terms of percentage of earnings even before noting the tricks they use to more than make up for what they lose in saved tax payments, it’s a percentage on par with shuffling through your purse for a spare dime to put into the Salvation Army tin. And in terms of real impact on lifestyle, it’s not even that dime. They lose more money in transaction fees.

    While among us poor, not only do many of us give time, groceries, aid, volunteer work, physical labor help, but how many of us have given a week’s pay to someone in distress or some important political action? A month’s pay staggered over a large period?

    I’d say most if not all and I can’t be the only one who’s eaten ramen for a week or two because I gave the rest of the money in the bank account to someone in worse straits until the next paycheck came.

    In terms of actual lifestyle impact of contributions and percentages of income, no one gives more than the low wretches they threaten with their “holdouts”.

    But they would never think and understand exactly what that says about them. And that’s exactly the fucking problem. Those with the greatest ability to help us achieve basic human needs as a society are the least willing to make a real contribution worth a goddamn.

  81. 81
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Onkel Bob:

    That Google and Cisco came from Stanford proves the founders were born to wealth.

    Wikipedia begs to differ:

    Sergey Brin (Russian: Сергей Брин) was born in Moscow, in the Soviet Union, to Russian Jewish parents, the son of Michael Brin and Eugenia Brin, both graduates of Moscow State University. His father is a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, and his mother is a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
    [and]
    The Brin family lived in a small, three-room, 350 square foot apartment in central Moscow, which they also shared with Sergey’s paternal grandmother.
    [and]
    In 1979, when Brin was six, his family felt compelled to immigrate to the United States [because] Communist Party heads barred Jews from upper professional ranks by denying them entry to universities … [Sergey’s father] said, “Nobody would even consider me for graduate school because I was Jewish.”
    [and]
    [Larry] Page was born into a non-practicing Jewish family in Lansing, Michigan. His parents were computer science professors at Michigan State University.
    [and]
    Page attended a Montessori school in Lansing, and graduated from East Lansing High School. Page holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan with honors and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.

    Clearly, children of privilege.

    Let’s not let mere facts get in the way of our stereotypical prejudices.

  82. 82
    kay says:

    @Cerberus:

    It’s a weird way of thinking, but maybe it’s all relative.

    I make enough money to owe income taxes. I didn’t always make enough money to owe income taxes.

    I can say conclusively that making enough money to owe income taxes is better than nudging the poverty line, and not owing anything, despite the fact that, yes, I now have to write a check to the IRS.

    It didn’t occur to me when I reached that income marker to offset my payments to the IRS by cutting off all charitable contributions, as a hissy-fit threat, because owing money to the IRS meant I had more, net, but maybe that’s why they’re rich.

    I’m probably thinking like a prole.

  83. 83
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Onkel Bob:

    For some reason, IBM mistakenly thought that CP/M was owned by Microsoft.

    Presumably, Gates Sr. told IBM that his son’s company owned CP/M, the operating system they wanted. Did you read the article? Gates didn’t go into the OS business until Kildall made his business decision. He did effectively trick the developer of what became MS-DOS into giving Microsoft total ownership of a product that the developer did not know IBM was interested in. But that’s Gates Jr. being unethical, not having his fortune made by the influence of his wealthy family.

  84. 84
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Onkel Bob: Also, please try to get my name right. Chad N Freude is who I am. schadenfreude is what I do.

  85. 85
    Chad N Freude says:

    I find myself in the embarrassing position of defending evil rich people from being called evil for the wrong reasons. But the generalization that everyone who is now rich became rich because they were born to privilege is patently silly. Warren Buffett, George Soros, students of modest means who went to elite schools because they were academically qualified…

    If you look at it through the prism of social prejudice, it’s a lot like saying all successful Blacks are successful because they were given privilege due to their color, kinda like the Limbaugh McNabb theory of success.

  86. 86
    Kay Shawn says:

    IIRC, that horrible Paul Sullivan article that got such a reaction was promoting frickin’ trickle-down economics as the reason we should feel sorry for the rich: that we shouldn’t sneer at them because, AFTER ALL, they create the jobs and opportunites for all the little people!!! [paraphrasing here, sorry]—this was the first time I truly wanted the New York Times to die.

  87. 87
    Cerberus says:

    @kay:

    I think it’s probably what happens when most of our wealthy are born into such lavish privilege that they’ve never had to do without something they wanted and have never had to pay the consequences of their bad decisions. They have never emotionally developed from the toddler in the candy store demanding “More! And I wannit NOW!”

    Any money not theirs or removed from them is bad and theft, because they’ve never had to pay attention to the actual numbers in the bank account. When they buy something, the money is there, they never needed to check either the balance or the pricetag of the item.

    I think this is also why they react like the government is taking all their money and they think their donations to charity is the only thing keeping the charity afloat. It’s because they don’t pay attention to the actual numbers, just whether something was promised to give them money or lose them money.

    That and the easiest way to trick a rich person into giving you their money is to explain to them that doing so will lower their taxes, so they probably are surrounded by people telling them how much more they’ll make not paying taxes when they give huge sums of money to them, not realizing that more often than not, if they’re paying more in taxes, they have more income.

    But yeah, those of us on the ground have a much different outlook. I personally plan to dance a jig the first year I make enough that I actually have to send money into the IRS.

  88. 88
    Cerberus says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    Wouldn’t go quite as far as you, but agree it’s possible to have an incredibly comfortable lifestyle that we would call rich without being a fucker about it or exploiting people for it.

    It’s a shame that so many wealthy fuckers choose the other path though that these people become an exception or have to be from countries with intensely high top tax rates and strong social nets seemingly to qualify. If people like Gates and Buffet were the norm, we’d have such a safety net here. Sadly, too many are willing to drain the trust fund if it means putting all of us poor serfs in our place.

  89. 89
    Cerberus says:

    @Cerberus:
    Small addendum to my post as I realized I already danced such a gig when I was paid a sub-minimum wage stipend for school in denmark which allowed me to both help my parents through a rough patch and pretty much subsidize housing for a year for my partner as well as give her the european vacation she has dreamed of her entire life. I will miss the danish minimum wage so much when I return home.

  90. 90
    contessakitty says:

    Let’s not let mere facts get in the way of our stereotypical prejudices.

    Thank you for that. I remembered Sergey was an immigrant but I didn’t know the part of the background you provided.

    By the way, for the people who mentioned Madoff, you might be interested in a few facts. For one thing, he targeted Jewish people because they trusted him. Eli Wiesel was one of those people who lost savings to Madoff and the last time I looked, he wasn’t born rich unless you consider living in a concentration camp a luxury.

    There were other philanthropists who lost money to Madoff as well which hurt a lot of charities.

    What some people may not realize is that not so long ago, there were philanthropists who took the money they had and gave scholarships, invested in charities and when they did this it wasn’t just a handing over of money, they CARED about where they gave the money too. While you can turn around and use your born to money because their families screwed everyone else theory, they still didn’t need to contribute to anyone and they chose whichever causes they were passionate about.

    Finally, what made some people rich was that they were around at the right time and their ingenuity filled a niche no one else had. They got people to invest in that idea and it paid off and they only got rich because their idea was successful. Whether or not they had the advantage of being at an Ivy League school or got loans or scholarships or whatnot is really irrelevant. They might have had certain connections if they came from rich families but at the end of the day, if the market didn’t want their idea, they failed just like anyone else.

    Yes there are many, many rich jerks and selfish bastards. But it’s not fair to paint all rich people with the same brush.

  91. 91
    kay says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    I think it’s a good point you’re making.

    I also think there is some conflating going on, in the comments to the article, not here, where all rich people are “Wall Street” people, and that’s certainly not true.

    People are just generally pissed off at banks and lending entities and insurers, and the massive inequity in incomes, and rightfully so, and all rich people are taking some collateral damage, whether completely deserved or not.

  92. 92
    helena handbasket says:

    @mclaren: I think I love you, dude.

  93. 93

    Forget the silliness of the general argument and consider that Sullivan is just dead fucking wrong. The biggest problem is/was NOT actual defaults. It was creating exotic derivatives that exposed the nation’s largest institutions to massive risk whereby even the perception of an increase in the rate of default caused the whole thing to come crashing down.

    Which led to a credit freeze, which:
    1.caused companies like GM and Chrysler and loads of others to fail.
    2.caused layoffs as companies could not get credit
    3.froze startups, since they can’t get credit.

    Sure, people bought things they couldn’t afford. And our whole economy is built on too much credit. And in a normal (though still IMO dysfunctional) cycle, defaults by them would have caused a normal recession. Instead, the people running things overplayed their hand so badly that a normal recession has turned into certainly a 5 year cycle minimum of higher unemployment.

    This recession, this one’s ALL on the rich. The only blame you can apportion elsewhere is on the rest of us who voted for corporate hacks in both parties to govern us. If Sullivan wants to make that point and that alone, it might be a decent introductory paragraph. But we’d still conclude that bringing the rich down to size was the only practical solution. The points he did make betray either ignorance or dishonesty – doesn’t really matter which.

  94. 94
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Cerberus: Sort of a footnote, the now-saintly William Gates was a vicious, cutthroat, destroy-the-competition capitalist before he became Capt. Charity. This is a familiar pattern in American capitalism: Robber baron makes vast fortune by being ruthless and unethical, then becomes a philanthropist who actually does something good for mankind personkind.

    The behavior of the current crop of Louis XIV wannabes is unconscionable. (I think there may be a song there — Louis XIV, Louis XIV, I gotta go … But I digress.) The financial wizards/moguls/owners of the US Government really see themselves as special people, different from the rabble, the proles, the wretched refuse of our teeming shores.
    they believe that having it so good means that they are superior beings. It’s more than a class war, it’s a denial of the humanity of the people from whom they derive their wealth. They disgust me, and if I knew how to knit, I would be Mme. Defarge.

    I still think we should not hate them for bogus reasons, only good reasons.

  95. 95
    Chad N Freude says:

    @kay: Thank you, kay. I value compliments from people whose posts, unlike most of mine, are thoughtful and informed. (I really like writing snark.)

  96. 96
    bill says:

    The fact that we have rich people who tend to be assholes and who got to where they are through crime is only part of the problem. Another equally important aspect of this is that so many of us down here in the fucking basement think, one, that we actually are rich, or, two, that by god we’re going to be rich ourselves one day. In either case, rather than holding a healthy skepticism about the hows and whys of our modern American aristocracy, they identify with it and thus make it stronger and harder to dislodge. And they look stupid in the process, but that only makes it more infuriating for the rest of us.

    Of course our bow-tied dweeb is sympathetic to the plight of the rich. He identifies with them a lot more than he does with you or me, which shows where so-called “journalism” has gone in the 65 years since Ernie Pyle.

  97. 97
    contessakitty says:

    The behavior of the current crop of Louis XIV wannabes is unconscionable.

    Then would Sarah Palin be Marie Antoinette?

  98. 98
    Chad N Freude says:

    @contessakitty: Let them eat mousse.

  99. 99
    kay says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    I love reading snark, but I can’t invent it, so don’t knock it.

    I read your post and thought: “Jesus. There’s truth in that. I’ve become ….Rush Limbaugh”, and panicked.

    I don’t wanna be like that. No sir.

  100. 100
    Chad N Freude says:

    @bill: I recently saw Michael Moore’s film “Capitalism: A Love Story”. The facts he cites make the financial overlord class look … not nice. He presents the thesis that the unmoneyed victims buy into the status quo because they believe in the American Dream(tm), that they too can become financial overlords. I think he’s right. (Disclosure: I am not fond of Moore’s cherry-picking of facts and the self-promoting street theater he injects into his films.)

  101. 101
    Morbo says:

    Judge Clarence Thomas: Well, Senator Simon, not knowing your technique, I feel that it would be unfair for me to prejudge your chances with her.

    Sen. Paul Simon: Uh-huh. Uh.. you think it’s the bow tie, then?

    Sen. Joseph Biden: Senator Simon. Please.

    Sen. Paul Simon: Women just don’t seem to like the bow tie, do they?

    Sen. Joseph Biden: Senator Simon. Please!

    Sen. Paul Simon: Uh, sorry. Sorry.

  102. 102
    Chad N Freude says:

    @kay: Limbaughness is seductive. It finds specific individual examples of things you find reprehensible and whispers “This is universal, my pretty. Yes-s-s, it’s a s-s-sweeping generalization.”

    Arggh! Now I have to find a witty conflation of Limbaugh and Gollum.

  103. 103
    Cerberus says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    I think it says so much about how big of fuckers the Louis XIV types (good description) are that we look to a good old fashioned robber baron type as one of the good ones.

    I suspect that’s the only commentary really needed.

  104. 104
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Chad N Freude: Got it! Limbaugollum. GameSetMatch.

  105. 105
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Morbo: OMG. I laughed out loud.

  106. 106
    TR says:

    That picture is certainly worth a thousand words, but “pompous” and “asshole” make up about 70% of them.

  107. 107
    Chad N Freude says:

    @TR: The other 30% are “dork who couldn’t get anyone to dance with him at the prom.”

  108. 108
    groover says:

    Religion-it’s what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.

  109. 109
    tootiredoftheright says:

    “@TR: The other 30% are “dork who couldn’t get anyone to dance with him at the prom.” ”

    Unless he either paid in cash or by doing certain favors.

  110. 110
    Darkrose says:

    @Onkel Bob:

    Eric U I gues I wasn’t clear. That Google and Cisco came from Stanford proves the founders were born to wealth. The farm has one of the lowest rate of Pell grant recipients and is notorious for it hostility towards admitting poor students who meet the academic standards but don’t have the money. Oh there are a few in the medical school, but elsewhere, not a chance. Certainly not in Hoover Tower, home of Condi and Rummy.

    When I was at Stanford, there were no students of any variety in Hoover Tower except as tour guides. And while I didn’t qualify for a Pell Grant because my mother the Chicago schoolteacher made too much money, I’m hardly the only person I knew there who wasn’t from a rich family and who relied on scholarships, grants, and a part-time job to pay for my education.

  111. 111
    slippy says:

    @Chris Johnson: And despite attempts to ratchet that number down, it is in fact 47 million, including 20 million full time employees who have no health insurance.

    I hear the argument that “some” “might” be “illegal” immigrants, but at the same time, I also wonder what those folks are doing here if no one really wants them. Of course America wants illegal immigrants — America wants a disposable labor force who have no rights and no recourse under law. If we didn’t, we’d have solved that problem a long time ago.

    Also, eat the rich. There’s only one thing they’re good for.

  112. 112
    superdestroyer says:

    @Yutsano:

    Just pointing out that someone did not read the e-mail about not counting illegal aliens as being without insurance. Progressives need to remember that any health care proposal will not cover illegal aliens who that President Obama will not be shown to be a liar.

    Also, why should middle class Americans have to pay higher taxes so that illegal aliens receive physical therapy, chemotherapy, etc when they would not receive such treatment in their home country?

    What progressives have to explain is how the U.S. can tax the :”rich” at a very high rate while trying to create the economic growth to maintain a very high level of government entitlements and while maintaining open borders and unlimited immigration. Does voodoo economics begin to describe such an idea?

  113. 113
    NobodySpecial says:

    @super:

    No, that would be called the 1950’s and 1960’s.

  114. 114
    Jamey says:

    That picture says nothing so much as. “future prison rape victim.”

  115. 115
    Jack says:

    Wayward thought: we can have a society where a very small number people live pampered lives, and we can apologize for that and pretend it’s the natural order of things. Or we can live in a society where as many people as possible live full human lives, first by realizing that “natural order” is a fiction.

  116. 116
    superdestoryer says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    Let’s look at the 1950’s.

    1. High level of immigration and large number of illegal aliens: NO.

    2. High levels of entitlement spending: No.

    3. High levels of government employees: No.

    4. Intense competition in the world marketplace: No.

    5. Code of Federal Regulations in the 100,000’s of pages: No.

    If you want to have the economy of the 1950’s then open borders, unlimited immigration, and high level of entitlement spending is not the way to do it.

  117. 117
    Chris says:

    @superdestroyer
    Dont forget that 90+% top marginal tax rate in your list to help restore that 50’s nirvana….

  118. 118
    toujoursdan says:

    Well actually there were high amounts of government spending in the 1950s… particularly for the middle class. It was the GI bill that helped expand America’s middle class. This is the period of time when community colleges and state universities expanded.

    Now, 50% of the federal budget goes to a military that seems ill-equipped to fight modern ,insurgent style wars. Yet talking about re-evaluation how that money is spent or cutting the budget is off the table.

    Also, people may dislike immigration, but we would be far worse without it. That is the only thing that keeps the age structure in balance. Without it we’d be a Japan, with an even older population.

  119. 119
    superdestroyer says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Defense spending was higher in the 1950’s than today, see http://www.dallasfed.org/resea.....0204a.html

    Also, Medicare was not passed until 1965 and Medicaid was after that. In addition, social security taxes were around 1% instead of the 7% of today.

    I also found this chart but do not know how credible it is.

    http://home.att.net/~rdavis2/outlay07.html Not much social spending in th e1950’s

  120. 120
    tootiredoftheright says:

    “Defense spending was higher in the 1950’s than today”

    Ahem the war in Iraq has cost more then world war 2 which only consumed 37.8 at the height of world war 2.

    As a percentage of the GDP yes the 1950s was higher then today but the GDP of today is much much higher then it was in the 1950s so even though the percantage is less it’s still way more money then was spent in the 1950s.

    Hence why World War 2 with all the bombs dropped by the US, the ships lost, the rounds fired, the supplies used and unused and consuming 37.8 at the height before dropping to about 17 percent in 1946, the years of the Iraqi occupation with the military spending only being at most 5% of the gdp has cost more then the entire World War 2 budget and that is with a lot of the cost of the war hidden by Shrub who kept the spending of a lot of things out of the budget.

  121. 121
    tootiredoftheright says:

    @Chris:

    Yet somehow with that high tax rate from 70% to 91% for the top income earners the economy still grow with leaps and bounds. Btw where the hell does the op think Highways came from? It was goverment spending that built the highway system. There were lots of gov’t employees and gov’t spending during the 1950s.

  122. 122
    tootiredoftheright says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “Also, why should middle class Americans have to pay higher taxes so that illegal aliens receive physical therapy, chemotherapy, etc when they would not receive such treatment in their home country?

    It’s more they recieve standard doctor’s visits so they don’t wind up going to the ER and costing tens of billions of dollars when just a few million towards getting them to see doctor’s will prevent those tens of billions being passed onto tax payers. You are already are paying a tax for them same with the American citizens who cannot get insurance or a public option. With the public option you still pay taxes you just wind up paying a lot less of them.

  123. 123
    superdestroyer says:

    @tootiredoftheright:

    When you compare defense spending in different years, the only way to compare is by percent of GDP. Comparing dollars spent today with dollars spent in World War II without correcting for inflation and economic growth gives the wrong answer. Try what you did in an economics class and you would fail.

    The best way to save money on illegal aliens is to have them leave the country one way or another. Giving free healthcare to illegal aliens while maintaining open borders means that the amount spent of health care will spiral out of control. Look at education spending in California due to educating illegal aliens.

  124. 124
    tootiredoftheright says:

    @superdestroyer:

    We can adjust for inflation and gdp is economic growth.

    Sorry we spend far more even with inflation involved.

    It’s percentage of gdp so you do have to use the gdp as reported in those time periods.

    The GDP in the 1950s was in the tens of billions now it is in the tens of trillions.

    As for making it cheaper to get the illegals sorry there have been efforts to do so and all they caught for a few dozen illegals trying to get medical care cost tens of millions and the effort to ship just a few handfulls of them out each year costs billions.

    Far more cost effective to treat them rather then try to round them up and send out of the country.

  125. 125
  126. 126
    Phoebe says:

    The picture is ideally deployed coming after the end of all that. Such a lovely little Easter egg of perfection, peeking up from the bottom of the basket. That’s why, when shoving this post onto my facebook thingy I chose the “no thumbnail” option.

  127. 127
    redoubt says:

    @mclaren: Apropos of nothing, but Ambrose Bierce used to refer to Leland Stanford as “Stealand Landford” or “£eland $tanford”.

    Now we know what happened to Gregory Marmalard‘s little brother.

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