99% OF US GET INSULTED LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME, AND JUST HAVE TO TAKE IT
You know what, Leon? I don't care if you're on my side on a few issues -- you're still a miserable whiner:
It's Tone, Not Taxes, a Tycoon Tells the President
Leon Cooperman, a 68-year-old Wall Street veteran, says he is for higher taxes on the wealthy. He would happily give up his Social Security checks. He voted for Al Gore in 2000. He says the special treatment of investment gains, or so-called carried interest, for private equity and hedge fund managers is "ridiculous." He says he even sympathizes, at least to some extent, with the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
And yet, Mr. Cooperman, a man with a rags-to-riches background who worked at Goldman Sachs for more than 25 years in the 1970s and 1980s before starting his own hedge fund, Omega Advisors, which has minted him an estimated $1.8 billion fortune, is waging a campaign against President Obama.
Last week, in a widely circulated "open letter" to President Obama that whizzed around e-mail inboxes of Wall Street and corporate America, Mr. Cooperman argued that "the divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them."
He went on to say, "To frame the debate as one of rich-and-entitled versus poor-and-dispossessed is to both miss the point and further inflame an already incendiary environment." ...
This is from a story by Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times. Sorkin never says so directly, but he implies that Obama must be doing something wrong to have offended such a great liberal:
Mr. Cooperman said he personally had been advocating adding a 10 percent tax surcharge on all incomes over $500,000 for the next three years. He also advocates that the military "get out of Iraq and Afghanistan" and that every soldier should be “given a free four-year education." His personal "platform" -- he insists he is not running for any office -- also includes setting up a peacetime Works Progress Administration to rebuild United States infrastructure; freezing entitlements; raising the Social Security retirement age for full benefits to 70 "with an exception for those that work at hard labor”; adding a 5 percent value-added sales tax; and “tackling health care in a serious way," among other things.
Mr. Cooperman, who recently signed the Giving Pledge, Bill Gates's and Warren Buffett's effort to press the world's billionaires to give away at least half of their wealth, said he felt he came into his money honestly and said proudly, "I spend more than 25 times on charity what I spend on myself." Asked whether he had received any response from the president for his letter, he replied with a chuckle, "I'm not optimistic I'll hear from him."
Sorkin never addresses the obvious question: If Cooperman's ideas are so progressive, why the hell is he giving aid and comfort to people who oppose every single progressive thing he loudly proclaims that he stands for, while attacking the guy who embraces at least some it? Why -- because his precious feelings are hurt?
Now, you might respond: Well, yeah, because his precious feelings are hurt. Why should anyone put up with being insulted that way?
But the fact is that the rest of us -- the 99%, as it were -- are routinely insulted this way. And not only are we expected to take it, we're supposed to be grateful for it, and to applaud the people who insult us.
Those of us who are middle-class are constantly being told that we caused the financial crisis, by buying too much house or maxing out credit cards (even though big financial institutions encouraged us to do both). We're told that we demand too much in the way of retiree benefits from the government (even though we just want what's been promised to us all our lives). We're told that we waste health care services (even though those of us with insurance mostly just do what the doctors recommend). We didn't have a clue what all those exotic financial instruments on Wall Street were in the last decade, but we're told that we should make the sacrifices now, accepting Simpson-Bowles or something similar, for the good of the country.
And if we're poor, we're not only insulted by Newt Gingrich, we're insulted by the likes of Bill Cosby and even Barack Obama. We're wearing our pants too baggy! We don't read to our kids enough! (If you're holding down three minimum-wage jobs, who has time?)
And if we're offended, guess what? We don't seem to have any way to refuse to sacrifice. Sacrifice is just imposed on us, whether we like it or not. Over the course of this recession, a lot us got fired, lost benefits, had government services curtailed, and so on. Lacking lobbyists, we couldn't say, Sacrifice? We prefer not to. Unlike Leon Cooperman and his pals.
Feelings hurt, Leon? Here's a quarter -- call someone who cares.
Another thought: between this and the Fox Business Network's declaration that the new Muppet movie bashes business, I can't help wondering how long it's going to be before some wingnut legislator somewhere decides that we should add denigration against capitalists to hate-crimes legislation. Mark my words: that's coming.
(X-posted at Booman Tribune.)