Ho! Ho! Ho! The 1 Percent Talks Back to Its Critics—and Forms a Nonprofit

December 22, 2011; Source:  Rolling Stone (Taibblog) | It’s hard to imagine anyone in America not totally conversant with the distinction of the 1 percent and the 99 percent, even if they don’t agree with the concept or the somewhat inchoate solutions promoted by the Occupy Wall Street movement.  The concept has affected the political frame of public dialogue in the U.S., with politicians of all stripes finding ways of sounding moderately attentive to the problems of the nation’s increasing polarization of wealth and power. 

Somehow, the leaders of the 1 percent club haven’t quite caught the message, apparently failing to understand or simply ignoring the advice of their public relations people.  For example, Home Depot’s co-founder Bernard Marcus responded to someone’s concern about criticism from Occupy critics:   “Who gives a crap about some imbecile?...Are you kidding me?”  Marcus’s Home Depot partner Kenneth Langone added, ““I am a fat cat, I’m not ashamed…If you mean by fat cat that I’ve succeeded, yeah, then I’m a fat cat. I stand guilty of being a fat cat.”Paychex owner Tom Golisano opined, “If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share’ one more time, I’m going to vomit.” 

Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi takes off on these and other denizens of the economy’s stratosphere for their tin ears.  His favorite seems to be Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman who complained about poor people who pay no income taxes as having “[no] skin in the game”.  Taibbi notes that Schwarzman seems to ignore the fact that lower income people pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, and in many cases property taxes.  Schwarzman himself pays just about no income taxes, but as a private equity mogul, he pays only a maximum 15 percent rate on carried interest.  He may not like being pushed to pay more taxes by skinless people, but he knows how to pay for his own entertainment, notably a birthday party for himself costing $5 million due to private performances of Rod Stewart and Patti Labelle.

Known as President Obama’s favorite banker, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon reacted to criticism of the 1 percent, saying, “Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it.”

These 1-percenters aren’t simply angry with the imbeciles.  They’re going to do something about it—and form a nonprofit.  Marcus is among the founders of the Job Creators Alliance, a nonprofit based in Dallas to develop talking points and op-ed pieces to defend the 1 percent against the Occupy crowd’s message. Among Marcus’s partners in this charitable venture are hedge fund guy John Paulson and banker Jamie Dimon.  As described by a blogger for Economic Populist, ”It's like Scrooge, King Midas and The Grinch all formed a non-profit for their kind.”  Bah humbug!—Rick Cohen

  • M K Hale

    Well for those of us imbeciles I say, vote with your feet. Don’t patronize the companies who so creatively created yet another tax dodge for themselves. I will look forward to a list of those in the Job Creator’s Alliance and be sure to shop elsewhere. How surprised these “fat cats” will be when the Bastille is stormed…

  • Charles T Stokes

    Job Creators Alliance sounds like a 99%-style superPAC complete with obfuscation in both name and mission for the greater good. The Occupy movement should pay attention to these organizations but not emulate them. Partnering with existing nonprofits is wiser and truer to the spirit of Occupy Wall Street.

  • Glenn

    I purposely waited to respond so that my feelings and emotions would not taint a fair and truthful response.

    I do have very strong opinions about the concerns raised in your blog and see truth in the beliefs of both the 99 and the 1.

    I am however very troubled by the approach individuals and groups are utilizing to defend their opinions instead of seeking to have a civilized conversation in order to learn and educate.

    When the only approach to making things better is to ridicule, villanize, demean and attempt to destroy those we do not agree with, then their natural response will be to protect themselves and fight back.

    No individual and not the 99 or 1 have a corner on the truth and solutions in and of themselves. We need to be meeting together to solve our problems together instead creating greater division and distrust. This will only happen if we begin to talk to one another and build trust.

    A selfish approach of only defending our position and demeaning those with a different opinion will only make it impossible to achieve an end to “the increasing polarization of political power and wealth.”

  • Jane

    Glenn, It sounds as if you have had your head in the sand for the past decade. OWS didn’t happen as a knee jerk response. This has been building and I predict it will continue to build until the 1% wakes up or the country implodes.