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Why Do The Rich Feel Like They Are Being Picked On?

February 18, 2014

Mother Jones brings all the woes of the rich into the light of day so we too can feel their pain.

Over the past few decades, the rich have been accustomed to being lionized: splashed on the covers of magazines as the movers and shakers of the economy and feted in ballrooms for their philanthropy. That’s largely a thing of the past. You don’t have to feel sorry for them to understand that once you get used to something like that, it’s unnerving when it goes away.  (Time for a sad look and tears just like when Cora Grantham had to plan a church bazaar on her own during this past week’s episode of Downton Abbey!)

  • Even worse, the rich have come in for a lot of abuse since the financial crash. Fairly or not, they feel increasingly socially ostracized, and few things promote a feeling of indignation and persecution more than that.
  • Most of them have a feeling that they personally have done nothing wrong. Even within the financial industry, 98 percent of the players can argue that the bad actors were limited to the mortgage side and the derivatives brokers. The rest of them have clean hands. They were just playing by the rules, and they happen to have gotten rich fair and square.1
  • They have a belief that the protestors against the 1 percent are mostly just unreconstructed lefties who want to demonize the business class and shake them down for a handout. It’s the Sixties all over again.
  • They’ve been made to feel guilty for their success. Hell, even the pope is lecturing them. Again, fairly or not, nobody likes feeling guilty. It almost universally provokes defensiveness and defiance against the guilt-mongers.
  • Some of them have a genuine belief that the government is trying to intimidate them from speaking out. This is what’s behind their mania for keeping political contributions secret.
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One Comment
  1. tom permalink
    February 18, 2014 7:16 PM

    From 1980 to 2010, as the top 1% increased their share of total before-tax income to 15% from 9%, their share of the individual income tax soared to 39% of the total paid, up from 17%. Most were paying federal taxes at the highest marginal rate: In 1980 that rate was 70% and in 2010 it was 35.5%—but it has now climbed back to 39.6%. The share of federal taxes paid climbed dramatically in those 30 years even as marginal rates were cut almost in half. WSJ

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