"The truth is that many, and probably most, of the very rich don't fit Fitzgerald's description. There are plenty of very rich Americans who have a sense of perspective, who take pride in their achievements without believing that their success entitles them to live by different rules.
"But Mitt Romney, it seems, isn't one of those people. And that discovery may be an even bigger issue than whatever is hidden in those tax returns he won't release."
I should have written in the above post that this is my feeling as well. Those who push the envelope of their privilege are the ones who generate irritation and anger in the population at large.
Please note that is Irritation and Anger for Cause, not Envy. Why envy someone who acts like Rush Limbaugh, a loud ill educated buffoon, who may possibly be doing an Andy Kauffman piece of performance art, sucking in the gullible and at an extreme stretch voicing a parody of Conservative opinion. That's the greatest amount of positive assessment I can create, but I'm pretty sure it's wrong. He's almost certainly just a piece of human detritus with a loud voice.
Apparently "Envy" is the one word answer to any criticism of the wealthy, to any suggestion that they don't pull their weight, that Mitt Romney's single year of tax returns and his statement that he never paid less than 13% is alienating to those of us paying a lot more.
"Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said Monday that he thinks Mitt Romney should pay a higher tax rate, calling the rate he pays on his investments "weird."
" "I personally -- if I were designing the tax code -- would have a tax code in which Mitt Romney paid more than 13 percent, given what I know about the kind of investments he made money from," Kristol said Monday on C-Span."
So is that "Envy" speaking through Bill Kristol, that well known non-Liberal?
" "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." So wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald — and he didn't just mean that they have more money. What he meant instead, at least in part, was that many of the very rich expect a level of deference that the rest of us never experience and are deeply distressed when they don't get the special treatment they consider their birthright ..."
"All that he (Obama) has done is to suggest that sometimes businesses behave badly, and that this is one reason we need things like financial regulation. No matter: even this hint that sometimes the rich aren't completely praiseworthy has been enough to drive plutocrats wild. For two years or more, Wall Street in particular has been crying: "Ma! He's looking at me funny!" "
"Not only do many of the superrich feel deeply aggrieved at the notion that anyone in their class might face criticism, they also insist that their perception that Mr. Obama doesn't like them is at the root of our economic problems. Businesses aren't investing, they say, because business leaders don't feel valued. Mr. Romney repeated this line, too, arguing that because the president attacks success "we have less success." "
In contrast Krugman offers this analysis of the current doldrums which makes far more sense than all that whining from the rich.
"There's no mystery about the reasons the economic recovery has been so weak. Housing is still depressed in the aftermath of a huge bubble, and consumer demand is being held back by the high levels of household debt that are the legacy of that bubble. Business investment has actually held up fairly well given this weakness in demand. Why should businesses invest more when they don't have enough customers to make full use of the capacity they already have?
"But never mind. Because the rich are different from you and me, many of them are incredibly self-centered. They don't even see how funny it is — how ridiculous they look — when they attribute the weakness of a $15 trillion economy to their own hurt feelings. After all, who's going to tell them? They're safely ensconced in a bubble of deference and flattery. "
There's a great deal more, but this is the best analysis of the aura of the whiny 8 year old that pervades Republican opposition to changes in taxation, and the perception that the wealthy escape taxes everyone else pays. That's not envy, it is simple truth. The wealthy pay far less in percentage taxes than the middle class, and even their own supporters and intellectual leadership (like Bill Kristol) recognize its truth.
The fact that Romney won't release any more tax forms than one year's, suggests that there's very bad news somewhere in his recent past.
I've been awe-struck by the way questions
about Mr. Romney's career at Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he
founded, and his refusal to release tax returns have so obviously caught
the Romney campaign off guard. Shouldn't a very wealthy man running for
president — and running specifically on the premise that his business
success makes him qualified for office — have expected the nature of
that success to become an issue? Shouldn't it have been obvious that
refusing to release tax returns from before 2010 would raise all kinds
By the way, while we don't know what Mr. Romney is hiding in earlier
returns, the fact that he is still stonewalling despite calls by
Republicans as well as Democrats to come clean suggests that it could be
something seriously damaging."</div>
The term Entitlement has several meanings, one of which is the programs which provide for the elderly, the sick, the indigent (almost always for reasons beyond their control). That's Bad Entitlement in the view of Republicans.
The other Entitlement is that sense of "well-deserved privilege" based simply on great good fortune, primarily in the selection of their parents from among the extremely Wealthy (that's an ironic comment).
Every Republican's second favourite whipping boy, George Soros, built his fortune from absolutely nothing as a refugee from Soviet dominated eastern Europe. Neither Bill Gates nor the late Steve Jobs came from the extremely wealthy, and all three of those people don't agree with the current Republican orthodoxy. Nor does Warren Buffet, whose family background I don't know.
So for every Envy out there you'll find Arrogant Self-Satisfied Self-Indulgence combined with Wolverine like defense of every penny ill-gotten, or perfectly legal.
Many here loathe the Kennedys, but their history is generally the history of all Wealthy Families, early unscrupulous often illegal success, followed by an overweening sense of privilege and untouchability. There are ugly bits to all the great family fortunes. According to Republicans, that's all far in the past. But the subjection of workers to unsafe conditions by family owned Coal companies, the pollution of the environment by family owned Coal companies (Listening, Koch brothers?), the campaigning for that fictional entity Clean Coal, continues more strongly than ever before. And that's just one tiny example in a huge morass of assertion of Entitlement, and "American values" and Privilege.
No envy here. I had a great childhood youth and adulthood 'til a few years ago. I lived comfortably though my parents were never wealthy, but they did benefit from the New Deal, as did the vast majority of the American public. And my son, who doesn't have the same advantages, isn't envious either.