The oligarchy, so long accustomed to do their looting in peace, has been surprised by the sudden turn in the tide against their rapaciousness and the successful adoption of the Occupy movement’s “We are the 99%” slogan now being used against them. You would have thought that they would be smart enough to lay low and hope that the storm passes.
But no, some of them are whining about how their feelings are hurt and contemptuously dismissing their critics as being ‘imbeciles’ and that those who are so poor that they pay little or no taxes have no right to complain because they have ‘no skin in the game’.
Matt Taibbi points out that the reverse is true, that it is the oligarchy that has no skin in the game because are not rooted in any place and thus have no sense of obligation to a geographical community that ordinary people have.
Most of us 99-percenters couldn’t even let our dogs leave a dump on the sidewalk without feeling ashamed before our neighbors. It’s called having a conscience: even though there are plenty of things most of us could get away with doing, we just don’t do them, because, well, we live here. Most of us wouldn’t take a million dollars to swindle the local school system, or put our next door neighbors out on the street with a robosigned foreclosure, or steal the life’s savings of some old pensioner down the block by selling him a bunch of worthless securities.
But our Too-Big-To-Fail banks unhesitatingly take billions in bailout money and then turn right around and finance the export of jobs to new locations in China and India. They defraud the pension funds of state workers into buying billions of their crap mortgage assets. They take zero-interest loans from the state and then lend that same money back to us at interest. Or, like Chase, they bribe the politicians serving countries and states and cities and even school boards to take on crippling debt deals.
Nobody with real skin in the game, who had any kind of stake in our collective future, would do any of those things. Or, if a person did do those things, you’d at least expect him to have enough shame not to whine to a Bloomberg reporter when the rest of us complained about it.
The oligarchy’s open display of the depth of their contempt for those not in their class is quite astonishing. I actually think this is a good thing and should be encouraged. The more this Marie Antoinette attitude is put on full public display, the more likely they are to get their comeuppance. As Taibbi ends his piece, “Unbelievable. Merry Christmas, bankers. And good luck getting that message out.”