29 November 2012

Zillionaires' feelings

I really ought to pick up Chrystia Freeland's book The Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else because everywhere I see her talking about it is terrific.

I first caught on to her through that New Yorker article that a lot of folks forwarded a little bit ago which centered on billionaire Leon Cooperman's long open letter to Obama. Then I saw a lively roundtable with Freeland, Matt Tiabbi, and Bill Moyers about plutocrats.

And now I'm thinking of her again because I just found her talking to Ezra Klein in the Washington Post and it's full of great stuff. It starts out with her saying interesting stuff about the election.

There’s a great joke on Wall Street which is that the bet on Romney is Wall Street’s worst bet since the bet on subprime. But I found the hostility towards Obama astonishing. I found the commitment to getting him out astonishing. I found the absolute confidence that it would work astonishing.

Then she goes on to talk about the mindset of the zillionaires.

First, they’re absolutely convinced that they’re not asking for special privileges for themselves. They’re convinced that it just so happens that their self-interest coincides perfectly with the collective interest. That’s where you get this idea of the “job creators”. The view is that to seek a low tax environment or less regulation, that’s not special pleading for yourself, it’s not transactional politics. It’s that this set of rules is the most conducive to economic growth for everybody. It will grow the pie. Now, it also happens to be an incredibly convenient way of thinking.

Then she goes on to examine the implications in detail. Great stuff.

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