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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Paul Krugman, "Wealth Over Work": How Much Are Bill and Hillary Worth?

Politics is a rich person's game, and there can be no gainsaying the link between extreme wealth and political prominence throughout American history. As reported in a USA Today article entitled "Report: The 10 richest U.S. presidents" (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/02/15/10-richest-presidents/5514567/) by Ashley C. Allen, America's wealthiest presidents have included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson (before he sank into debt), Andrew Jackson, James Madison, LBJ, FDR, JFK and . . . Bill Clinton. Of course, Bill and Hillary Clinton could be headed back to the White House in 2017. What is the combined worth of these two "lovebirds"? According to Allen:

"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential ticket, according to most political pundits. The presidential hopeful's husband, former President Bill Clinton, has made millions on lucrative book deals and more than $100 million on the speaking circuit. Secretary Clinton has recently begun to earn that kind of money as well.

Secretary Clinton received an estimated $14 million advance on her new book last year, and she has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for each speaking engagement, figures that rival her husband's. In all, the couple's net worth is estimated by 24/7 Wall St. to be $55 million, making it one of the wealthiest presidential estates in history."

No the Clintons are not suffering financially.

But more to the point, there are more Democrats than Republicans on Allen's list.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Wealth Over Work" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/24/opinion/krugman-wealth-over-work.html?ref=opinion&_r=0), Paul Krugman blames a "nascent oligarchy" in the US on the Republican Party. Krugman writes:

"America’s nascent oligarchy may not yet be fully formed — but one of our two main political parties already seems committed to defending the oligarchy’s interests.

Despite the frantic efforts of some Republicans to pretend otherwise, most people realize that today’s G.O.P. favors the interests of the rich over those of ordinary families. I suspect, however, that fewer people realize the extent to which the party favors returns on wealth over wages and salaries. And the dominance of income from capital, which can be inherited, over wages — the dominance of wealth over work — is what patrimonial capitalism is all about."

But is it only the Republicans who favor the rich over ordinary families? As was reported by The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390444752504578024661927487192), "no major U.S. corporation did more to finance [Obama's] campaign than Goldman Sachs Group Inc." Obama certainly had no aversion to accepting this money from wealthy investment bankers, whose contributions, of course, were not intended to curry favor with the Democratic presidential candidate and influence future policy determinations.

Krugman's conclusion:

"Why is this happening? Well, bear in mind that both Koch brothers are numbered among the 10 wealthiest Americans, and so are four Walmart heirs. Great wealth buys great political influence — and not just through campaign contributions. Many conservatives live inside an intellectual bubble of think tanks and captive media that is ultimately financed by a handful of megadonors. Not surprisingly, those inside the bubble tend to assume, instinctively, that what is good for oligarchs is good for America.

As I’ve already suggested, the results can sometimes seem comical. The important point to remember, however, is that the people inside the bubble have a lot of power, which they wield on behalf of their patrons. And the drift toward oligarchy continues."

Needless to say, no mention by Krugman of George Soros, "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England," who, with a net worth $23 billion (http://www.forbes.com/profile/george-soros/), has made massive contributions to "progressive-liberal" political causes. In fact, Soros once declared that removing President George W. Bush from office was the "central focus of my life" and "a matter of life and death" (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/nov/12/uselections2004.usa).

In a nutshell, Krugman, who once wrote "It’s clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details," has again discarded objectivity in yet another effort to further his radical objectives. What a surprise . . .

Me, a Republican booster? No way. I was once a registered Democrat; however, today, clinging to the tenets of equality, I am equally contemptuous of both parties.

2 comments:

  1. "Soros emigrated to England in 1947 and became an impoverished student at the London School of Economics" -- George Soros did not inherit his wealth. Are you trying to say that the Democrats are the ones pushing for tax cuts on wealth, and the Republicans are the ones that oppose these tax cuts?

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  2. Dear Eric van Bezooijen,
    I reread Jeffrey's post and I didn't find any mentioning of taxes. He does say that the rich support the Democratic party at least as often and as much as they support the Republicans. Unlike you, Jeffrey clearly knows that there is more to life, including political, and society than ... taxes.
    Jeffrey is absolutely correct. Insanely rich people have contributed to the Democrats and Obama. Yes, most of Wall Street, Hollywood and Silicon Valley titans supported Obama, as well as other billionaires living (as least part time) between two oceans (Buffett for example).
    Sadly, Krugman is a political hack and ... nothing more.

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