These are terrible times for many people in this country. Poverty, especially acute poverty, has soared in the economic slump; millions of people have lost their homes. Young people can’t find jobs; laid-off 50-somethings fear that they’ll never work again.I can see why rich people hate people like Krugman. Spend enough time on the receiving end of political kicking and punching, being abused on a near daily basis, it is likely that you would get angry.
Yet if you want to find real political rage — the kind of rage that makes people compare President Obama to Hitler, or accuse him of treason — you won’t find it among these suffering Americans. You’ll find it instead among the very privileged, people who don’t have to worry about losing their jobs, their homes, or their health insurance, but who are outraged, outraged, at the thought of paying modestly higher taxes.
The rage of the rich has been building ever since Mr. Obama took office. At first, however, it was largely confined to Wall Street. Thus when New York magazine published an article titled "The Wail Of the 1%," it was talking about financial wheeler-dealers whose firms had been bailed out with taxpayer funds, but were furious at suggestions that the price of these bailouts should include temporary limits on bonuses. When the billionaire Stephen Schwarzman compared an Obama proposal to the Nazi invasion of Poland, the proposal in question would have closed a tax loophole that specifically benefits fund managers like him.
We aren't talking about a half a percentage point increase in taxes, but a significant double digit increase in taxes. At the same time, the rich, those with the disposable income to invest in small businesses, are being beaten about the head and shoulders for not getting the economy going. But in the uncertain tax environment and regulatory environment, I don't blame investors for being worried and very conservative.