Since the recovery from 2008’s financial crisis began, 95 percent of the wealth created has gone to the richest 1 percent, which is why most Americans feel as if there has been no recovery at all.
But venture capitalist Tom Perkins thinks progressive rhetoric isn’t just reflective of an already shaky middle class that was rocked by the Great Recession — it’s menacing.
“This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking,” he wrote in a letter to the editors of The Wall Street Journal this weekend. “Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”
The author of Sex and the Single Zillionaire used the German word to describe the night in 1938 when simultaneous attacks across Germany against Jews resulted in tens of thousands of arrests and nearly a hundred deaths. Jews refer to the historic escalation of the Holocaust as “Pogromnacht.”
Perkins not only warns that progressive criticism of inequality may be followed by violence, he connects modern liberalism to the Nazi Party in a way that only makes sense to the far right who play up the “National Socialism” label the party applied to itself. Nearly all of Hitler’s views were right-wing and his rise to power was enabled by rich industrialists.
Perkins stood by his comments in an email to Bloomberg News on Monday. “In the Nazi area it was racial demonization, now it is class demonization,” he wrote.
In a country where millions of mostly poor, mostly minority people are literally imprisoned, but not one banker has gone to jail for a financial crisis that cost our economy millions of jobs and trillions in wealth, Perkins fears for the well-being of the rich, not seeming to understand that the wealthy dominate our political, legal and financial system in a way that the Nazis only imagined the Jews did.
But as The New York Times‘ Paul Krugman points out, the effort to rein in income inequality over the last five years has been more intense than even some progressives realize. Here are five reasons that the richest may not be pleased with President Obama.
Photo: mSeattle via Flickr