The Rich are Different Than You and Me

 We all know how conservatives embraced the tactics and the arrival of the Tea Party—including spitting on Democratic congressmen.  They couldn’t get enough of the rhetoric about Big Government, Balanced Budgets, and Reducing the Deficit.  And why shouldn’t they have embraced these ideas, since—if the programs are implemented—the rich will, once again, get to pay fewer taxes and wash their hands of the truly needy in this broken country called the United States, where one out of four children goes to bed each night hungry? (How any Senator or Congressman can live with that statistic is truly astonishing.)

The rich are different from most of us—especially their conservative toadies in Congress, who recently have been screaming like little children now that Occupy Wall Street looks as if it may evolve into a genuine antidote to Tea Party terrorism.  Eric Cantor (that bloodless GOP House majority leader from Virginia) sounds absolutely rabid when he foments about “growing mobs” at Wall Street.  Is Cantor so myopic that he doesn’t realize that his words (“some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans”) reflect more upon himself than on his supposed antagonists?  Does the man have no insight into himself whatsoever?

The scare tactics of Republican right politicians are frightening because they give us a glimpse of what might happen to the country if a Republican is elected president.  Rand Paul (“I see it sort of like a Paris mob”); Peter King (“It’s really important for us not to give any legitimacy to these people in the streets”); Herman Cain (“anti-American”); Mitt Romney (Protestors are “trying to find scapegoats to attack”); even Michael Bloomberg, who ought to know better (“trying to destroy the jobs of people working in the city”).  Taken all together, these comments about “Occupy Wall Street” suggest that it will only be a matter of time before the Wall Street protestors will be gassed, beaten up, even shot by the police.  It’s the right wing that’s setting up such a possibility, not the protesters themselves who only want jobs, not food stamps; their own houses, not shelters for their families; some understanding that no society with most of its prosperity flowing up to the rich will retain the stability that a vibrant middle class for decades ensured.

The rich are different, as too many of the Forbes 400 tell us year after year.  For an ugly number of them, their actions are nothing more than self-serving, building protective barriers around themselves, similar to the walls you see in Third World countries, with broken shards of glass cemented into their crests, warning everyone else to stay out. Isn’t that what the Koch brothers have done with one of their shell organizations?  Isn’t their “Americans for Prosperity” actually “Americans for the Koch Brothers’ Prosperity”?  Or the richest people of greater Washington, notorious as tight-wads: Forrest and John Mars.  If you’ve got $13.8 billion dollars each, you probably need more.

The super rich in America today are very different from you and me—they got rich because they manipulated everything in the system to guarantee that only they would benefit. For someone to make a profit on Wall Street, someone else has to take a loss.  No wonder the rich are frightened to death.  They are about to lose some of their obscenely guaranteed profits.

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C.

More articles by:

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = clarson@american.edu. Twitter @LarsonChuck.

June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!