The irritating whine of the upper-crust

Friday, November 2, 2012   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
Bookmark and Share

There's a musicality to the whine of a highballing freight train on an open stretch of track, just as there is to the whine of an 18-wheeler barreling down the Interstate. Both have been a muse for many a songwriter. But you rarely hear a song rhapsodizing about the off-key whine of today's super-rich.

Unfortunately, that irritating wail has become common in our country, emanating from the luxurious lairs of Wall Street, suites of corporate chiefs, and penthouses of plutocrats. Oddly, these most-privileged people in our society claim to be victims of America's economic decline, so they're caterwauling from on high and wallowing in an unseemly pity party.

They're certainly not hurting financially – indeed, while nearly everyone else is down, their fortunes have soared. But there's the rub. The billionaires at the top say they're offended by the subsequent resentment directed toward them by what one Wall Streeter patronizingly referred to as "the downtrodden."

Worse, whimper these sensitive ones, they feel threatened by the likes of Barack Obama who – gasp! – seems to side with the rabble. One hedge-fund plutocrat, Leon Cooperman, even compared Obama's election to Hitler's rise to power and publicly scolded the President for daring to talk about the special tax breaks the government gives to swells like him. The "divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric," he lectured with righteous indignation, "is cleaving a widening gulf" between the classes. Gosh, Leon, imagine how relieved America's downwardly-mobile majority must be to learn that the widening economic gulf in our nation is just rhetorical, not a reality created by deliberate financial and political moves by arrogant elites like you!

These well-heeled whiners are as pathetic as they are offensive. Please – sip your champagne and shut up.

"Pity the Plutocrats," The New York Times, October 5, 2012.

Bookmark and Share