Chrystia Freeland writes about the bellyaching of the SuperRich in the latest edition of the New Yorker. In it, some rich people think they can’t get no respect and Al Gore gives some really, REALLY bad advice:
In the letter, Cooperman argued that Obama has needlessly antagonized the rich by making comments that are hostile to economic success. The prose, rife with compound metaphors and righteous indignation, is a good reflection of Cooperman’s table talk. “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,” Cooperman wrote. “It is a gulf that is at once counterproductive and freighted with dangerous historical precedents.”
At the dinner, Al Gore was diplomatic when presented with the letter, and asked Cooperman if he would accept higher taxes. Cooperman said that he would—if he was treated with respect, and the government didn’t squander his money. Cooperman asked Gore what he thought the top marginal tax rate should be. Gore’s reply was noncommittal, but he pleased the group by suggesting that no matter who wins in November the victor should surround himself with advisers with experience in the private sector.
No, no more private sector advisors from the MBA management class. They’re absolutely the last people who need to give more input. Instead, the winner should solicit advice from people whose careers and industries have been wrecked by those private sector parasites. At least get both sides of the story.
But it’s this bit that’s bound to get the most attention in the blogosphere:
During another conversation, Cooperman mentioned that over the weekend an acquaintance had come by to get some friendly advice on managing his personal finances. He was a seventy-two-year-old world-renowned cardiologist; his wife was one of the country’s experts in women’s medicine. Together, they had a net worth of around ten million dollars. “It was shocking how tight he was going to be in retirement,” Cooperman said. “He needed four hundred thousand dollars a year to live on. He had a home in Florida, a home in New Jersey. He had certain habits he wanted to continue to pursue.
“I’m just saying that it’s not an impressive amount of capital for two people that were leading physicians for their entire work life,” Cooperman went on. “You know, I lost more today than they spent a lifetime accumulating.”
Most of the people I worked with had more education under their belts than physicians, worked just as hard to make life saving discoveries and never dreamed of being able to sock away $10 million bucks. The didn’t go into it to get rich but they still have to live in their retirement after working a lifetime in America where their vacation and leisure time is minute compared to the rest of the developed world. I swear, these people won’t be satisfied until we agree to work for nothing and are grateful for it.
And what’s with this crap about how we need to treat Mr. Cooperman and his buddies with more respect? WE’RE the ones who deserve more respect. Paying your taxes is not a favor. It’s a responsibility. And if Cooperman gets to call the shots to make sure his money isn’t squandered, we should all have that same right. No more expensive wars, no more faith based initiatives, no more oil subsidies and no more bank bailouts. Has Mr. Cooperman seen how the French show respect to selfish piggy rich people who sit on piles of cash?
That last gesture simulated a knife cutting open the throat. The French have a history, you know. They don’t fuck around. We could learn a lot from the disrespectful French.