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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Lux: The Rich Are Not the Hostages

The following article by Democratic strategist Mike Lux, author of The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be, is cross-posted from HuffPo:
This first week of June is a big one politically and policy-wise. Today the EPA issued incredibly important new rules about carbon pollution at power plants — arguably the most significant executive action ever, and one that will certainly drive the Koch party (i.e. the Republicans) absolutely bonkers. A big debate about student loans is getting going in the Senate (sign on to support Elizabeth Warren’s bill to allow refinancing of student loans). And going into the summer vacation season in July and August, June will be the last month before the fall campaign season end game to define the terms of the 2014 election debate.
Big things are shaking, but one thing is very important to understand in this highly charged political environment: The 0.1 percent wealthy elites and their supporters in the media are going to continue to insist that any attempt to rein in their power and wealth is outrageous and immoral. In true Ayn Rand-Social Darwinist fashion, this philosophy says that the wealthier you are, the more morally upright you are, and any suggestion that you pay more in taxes or pay higher wages is evil.
My organization, American Family Voices, wants to remind everyone of the underlying philosophy of these millionaires and their friends. It is a serious subject, because this is what the 2014 election, and in fact every election in this era, is about. But you know what? This philosophy is also so extreme it is also funny. Outrageous, yes. Revolting, sure. But these folks are so arrogant, it’s laughable… Shark Tank host and investor Kevin O’Leary thinks that “it’s fantastic” that the wealth of the world’s 85 richest people is equal to that of the 3.5 billion poorest people; Nicole Miller CEO Bud Konheim compares Americans making $35,000 a year to the rich in India; and “Money Honey” finance anchor Maria Bartiromo claims the rich are being held hostage (!!!).
Watch this video to hear what the plutocats (yes, you read that right) are saying. This video is actually the second in a series about finance fat cats, because there are too many of these kinds of comments to stop at just one video. Here’s the first one we did. And the comments will keep coming, so we expect we will keep doing more of these videos.
The plutocat philosophy would be pure comedy, if its implications weren’t so tragic. If our society is built along the lines these Rand-acolytes want, it will be a disaster economically, but even more importantly, it will be a nightmare in terms of morality. As the most recent decade just proved most conclusively, letting billionaire investors on Wall Street do whatever they want without much regulation will result in a poorer, weaker society. But as Bobby Kennedy once said:

“Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.
It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.
It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.
It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”

The plutocats who judge our national morality by the notion that whatever is best for the wealthiest among us are both dangerous and laughable. Check out our video, have fun with it, and then get down to the business of making sure their philosophy is defeated.

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