Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Krugman's Take on OWS: "Panicked Plutocrats"

The Brooks twaddle I just mentioned makes a bit more sense when you read Paul Krugman's piece about "Panicked Plutocrats".

It remains to be seen whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will change America’s direction. Yet the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent.
Okay, fine, that last link was my addition. Times columnists aren't technically allowed to take shots at each other, though everybody knows that Krugman spends a fair bit of time tearing apart Brooks' arguments, even if he can't actually name the man. Only fair to fill in the gap on his behalf.

The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is...

...What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.

So who’s really being un-American here? Not the protesters, who are simply trying to get their voices heard. No, the real extremists here are America’s oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth.
And now we've reached the point where people like David Brooks are so terrified on behalf of their tiny sliver of plutocrats that they're already throwing the words "anti-Semitic" around.  The man must be absolutely shitting himself at the thought of what OWS represents.


  1. Speaking of Brooks twaddle, the reaction of Alex Jones like folk is quite humorous and contradicting:
    Oh and apparently, Krugman's part of the elite 30 and thus the enemy despite the fact that most of the people in the group are former economic representatives! OH NOES!
    Heh, sorry.

  2. Anonymous12:11 AM

    “Since the finance aristocracy made the laws, was at the head of the administration of the state, had command of all the organised public authorities, dominated public opinion through the actual state of affairs and through the press, the same prostitution, the same shameless cheating, the same mania to get rich was repeated in every sphere, from the court to the Café Borgne to get rich not by production, but by pocketing the already available wealth of others. Clashing every moment with the bourgeois laws themselves, an unbridled assertion of unhealthy and dissolute appetites manifested itself, particularly at the top of bourgeois society—lusts wherein wealth derived from gambling naturally seeks its satisfaction, where pleasure becomes crapuleux [debauched], where money, filth, and blood commingle. The finance aristocracy, in its mode of acquisition as well as in its pleasures, is nothing but the rebirth of the lumpenproletariat on the heights of bourgeois society.”--Karl Marx, shortly before the 1848 revolution in France. Familiar?

  3. Tthe One Percent are apparently surrounded by nitwits without a firm grasp of history, or 'yes men' sdvisors who know history but refrain from telling their employers about it. In 1789, King Louis XVI's court, the One Percent of its day, ignored the needs of the bottom 99 Percent and spaked a revolution that did not come out in their favor; in 1917, the clueless and distant Czar Nicholas II's Russia was ruled mainly for the top One Percent at the expense of the 99 percent who were peasants and, again, the results for the aristocracy were not to their liking. Unfortunately, in the early part of the 20th century, the monarchies of both Germany and Italy fell, replaced by fascism only because the liberal democrats did not unite to oppose them in time. That does not seem to be happening here with the OWS, I'm glad to say. To quote Laurence J. Peter, "History repeats itself because nobody listens." Our One Percent have nothing but money, fear and a deaf ear, and the last two will do nothing to protect the first.

  4. Anonymous8:05 PM

    Reactionary epochs like ours not only disintegrate and weaken the working class and isolate its vanguard but also lower the general ideological level of the movement and throw political thinking back to stages long since passed through. In these conditions the task of the vanguard is, above all, not to let itself be carried along by the backward flow: it must swim against the current. If an unfavorable relation of forces prevents it from holding political positions it has won, it must at least retain its ideological positions, because in them is expressed the dearly paid experience of the past. Fools will consider this policy “sectarian”. Actually it is the only means of preparing for a new tremendous surge forward with the coming historical tide.--Lev Davidovich Bronstein