James Surowiecki: Why Are the Super-Rich So Angry?
Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for June 30, 2014

Morning Must Read: James Surowiecki: Why Are the Super-Rich So Angry?

James Surowiecki: Why Are the Super-Rich So Angry?: "The past few years have been very good to Stephen Schwarzman...

...the chairman and C.E.O. of... Blackstone.... Schwarzman is now worth more than ten billion dollars. You wouldn’t think he’d have much to complain about. But, to hear him tell it, he’s beset by a meddlesome, tax-happy government and a whiny, envious populace. He recently grumbled that the U.S. middle class has taken to 'blaming wealthy people' for its problems. Previously, he has said that it might be good to raise income taxes on the poor so they had 'skin in the game', and that proposals to repeal the carried-interest tax loophole—from which he personally benefits—were akin to the German invasion of Poland....

That’s not how it’s always been. A century ago, industrial magnates played a central role in the Progressive movement, working with unions, supporting workmen’s compensation laws and laws against child labor, and often pushing for more government regulation... to co-opt public pressure.... Still, they materially improved the lives of ordinary workers.... If today’s corporate kvetchers are more concerned with the state of their egos than with the state of the nation, it’s in part because their own fortunes aren’t tied to those of the nation the way they once were.... Today, by contrast, corporate chieftains have little to fear, other than mildly higher taxes and the complaints of people who have read Thomas Piketty. Moguls complain about their feelings because that’s all anyone can really threaten.