Economy

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It Just Keeps Happening

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Memo to rich people: ARE YOU OVERCONFIDENT OR CONFIDENT?

So 2014 is shaping up to be the Year Of The Rich Dickhead. We're fresh off the Tom Perkins Nazi Analogy and the Kevin O'Leary "all those poor people are inspired by the rich" bullshit.

And now, less than two weeks later, we've got two more shining examples of the one percenters essentially begging to be tarred, feathered, drawn, and quartered. And that sort of has me worried.

Real estate investor Sam Zell explained why the rich are being persecuted: "The one percent are getting pummeled because it's politically convenient to do so. The one percent work harder, the one percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society."

This is completely in line with how the rich are clearly desperate to see themselves, and be seen by others. It's also clearly madness. Sam Zell is a billionaire. Billionaires don't need to work. Therefore, Sam Zell works exactly as hard as he wants to. And I don't care how much they work, nobody who works as hard as they want works as hard as someone who works as hard as they have to.

If Sam Zell wants to be a big factor in all forms of our society, let's see how long he lasts with a Wal-Mart assistant manager setting his hours and watching his every move. I bet he wouldn't get approval for the time off to go on Bloomberg Television and complain about political convenience.

And then there's AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, with his possibly successful bid to become the most hated Armstrong in the public eye. Armstrong took some time off from hand-delivering the e-mails of the 3,912 senior citizens who still have AOL addresses to fuck with everyone's 401K accounts.

That, in and of itself, would have garnered absolutely zero notice. That's just garden variety fucking with the livelihoods of the staff. But then Anderson went and blamed it on "distressed babies" - specifically, a pair of sick newborns that cost AOL a couple million bucks in health care costs.

Armstrong was forced to apologize and to restore the 401K benefits, so AOL will have to recover the money some other way. Some way that involves AOL making money. Which will, admittedly, be tricky, since it hasn't been 1994 for 20 years, but I'm sure they'll think of something. Maybe send out flash drives with a thousand hours of free service.

So why am I worried? Well, I'm worried this might be the NSA all over again. Ever since the first Edward Snowden revelations hit, we've learned something like one new thing per week about how out of control the American surveillance state is. Foreign governments have been outraged, citizens have been angry, and yet, somehow, there is no real pressure to make changes.

We are made aware of a new status quo that confirms our suspicions that we're kind of fucked, but we're powerless to change it, and the people who could change it aren't interested in doing so. And so we're forced to just sit back and take it.

And so it is with rich assholes. We can't actually show up at their mansions and burn down all their stuff and make them work two fast food jobs at the same time and cut their food stamps. And we can't even raise their marginal tax rates by an amount only their accountants would notice.

So ultimately, will all these rich assholes being openly horrible actually lead to any kind of rising sentiment that will lead to action and change? Or, like Republicans regarding women, will the rich have summits and training sessions on how not to openly flaunt their contempt? Training they will ultimately ignore yet still keep their jobs and power? I know where I'd place my money if these assholes didn't have all of it.

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