Before digging into the main course I want to make a point that gets easily lost these days: self-made zillionaires are not all greedy devious bastards looking to pocket granny’s hard earned pension and healthcare. This is a fact, I’ve personally interviewed a few people who handily qualify as self made zillionaires, where I occasionally talked to them at length about their progressive ideology and generous personal philosophy off the record. But there definitely are some zillionaires who could be described that way, especially around Wall Street. Courtesy of Ezra Klein’s interview with Chrysta Freeland, author of The Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, here’s a look into their self entitled, insular world:
WaPo — Chrystia Freeland: 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. … They were all flying into Logan Airport for the victory party. There’s this stunned feeling of how could we be so wrong, and a feeling of alienation. The Romney comments to his donors, for which he was roundly pounced on by Republican politicians, I think they accurately reflected the view of a lot of these money guys. It’s the continuation of this 47 percent idea. […]
Let me be clear that I’m not defending any of them. But I think the way it works — and I think Romney’s comments were very telling in this regard — there are two differences in the mind of this class. 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”.
So guys who were dead wrong about subprime to the tune of trillions of evaporating taxpayer dollars, millions of lost jobs, and immeasurable misery are shocked — shocked I tell you! — that they could goof up on who would win the election? The dark side of the force runs deep in these jokers …