If I only had a dollar for the number of times someone has accused me of hating the rich or wanting to punish success, I’d be a card-carrying member of the 1%. OK, I exaggerate slightly. But it’s simply not true that that’s where I’m coming from, nor is that the motivation behind OWS.
A couple weeks ago, the NYT published an article interviewing several wealthy people who had grumbly things to say about the Occupy movement. The quote that stuck in my mind was one from Adam Katz, the founder and CEO of private jet service Talon Air.
To many, 99 vs. 1 was an artificial distinction that overlooked hard work and moral character. “It shouldn’t be relevant,” said Mr. Katz , who said he both creates jobs and contributes to charitable causes. “I’m not hurting anyone. I’m helping a lot of people.”
It may well be the case that Mr. Katz is a decent person who’s done a lot of good. But I find myself wondering: how does he vote? Does he support politicians who make it harder for ordinary people to be successful like him? Who appoint Supreme Court justices who seem hell-bent on creating plutocracy? Does he have any concern at all about our Gilded Age levels of inequality? Does he support the carried interest tax break that allows Mitt Romney to pay only a 13.9% income tax rate? These policies, and the arrogance, rationalizations, and excessive self-congratulation that lead to them are the things I hate. Not the rich. (Props, by the way, to the Patriotic Millionaires.)
Out of curiosity, I did a little digging about Katz’s political contributions. According to this site, things ain’t lookin’ good.