The Widdershins

Remain Calm, Etc: What the Hell?

Posted on: December 26, 2013

Happy Boxing Day, Widdershins.

Boxing Day is an odd sort of holiday, steeped in British tradition.  My Scottish paternal grandparents observed the day, and explained that it came from the upper class recognition of those who worked for them all year long.  The servants were rewarded with boxes containing gifts or leftover food, and usually a day off to have their own if somewhat delayed celebration of the holiday.

As per Peggy Noonan, the new American aristocracy finds itself fretting these days about the current state of affairs.  They are, in fact, becoming most uneasy about the ever-growing economic disparities that are further dividing our already polarized nation.  Check this out:

The most arresting words heard this year? A billionaire of New York, in conversation: “I hate it when the market goes up. Every time I hear the stock market went up I know the guillotines are coming closer.” This was interesting in part because the speaker has a lot of money in the market. But he meant it. He is self-made, broadly accomplished, a thinker on politics, and for a moment he was sharing the innards of his mind. His biggest concern is the great and growing distance between the economically successful and those who have not or cannot begin to climb. The division has become too extreme, too dramatic, and static. He fears it will eventually tear the country apart and give rise to policies that are bitter and punishing, not helpful and broadening.

This year I came to understand, at meetings and symposia, that this has become an ongoing preoccupation of the wealthy. They are not oblivious, they are concerned. And though they give away hundreds of millions of dollars to charities, schools and scholarships, they don’t know what can be done to turn the overall economic picture around. Globalization isn’t leaving, industrial manufacturing isn’t coming back as it was, technology will continue to give jobs to the educated, and the ever-evolving mischief of men and markets won’t change.

Yep, they are “concerned”.  They should be concerned.  While I applaud their charitable efforts, and most especially those of the Gates and the Buffets who are leaving large chunks of their estates to charities, I would applaud plowing those dollars into job creation for our citizens even more loudly.  These captains of industry are the same guys who offshored jobs and still clamor loudly for more H1B visas so that they might import more trained personnel who will work for lower wages. These are the same guys who relieved people of their $75,000/year jobs and offered graciously to rehire them into the same position for $37,500.  It seems to me that the fix for all of this is to undo that which you so gleefully did, indeed that which has generated the very same obscene level of profit that now discomfit you so.  If y’all cannot figure out how to fix this, please allow me to offer a few suggestions in the spirit of Boxing Day.  Take that same money and re-open American factories, businesses and other jobs that actually provide a living wage to people.  If you must attach your name to something, then take the money and finance the Warren Buffet Bridge and/or the Bill Gates Highway.  Lots of jobs, fitting tributes, etc.  I have to believe that the average person would rather bring home an honest check than accept your handouts.  The money that would be lost initially is just as tax-friendly as a charitable foundation, and would be plowed right back into our sagging economy.  Soon your profit levels would escalate again, and you will hardly notice the difference – however,, the rest of us will notice this immediately if not sooner.

The sound of the guillotine is out there.  I really do not think that the American public will put up with much more disparity for all that much longer, A certain percentage of the population will remain distracted, but more and more will figure this out.  Critical mass approaches.

This is an open thread.


13 Responses to "Remain Calm, Etc: What the Hell?"

aww pauvre bébé Mr. Billionaire. 😦

I have to wonder if Noonan’s “billionaire” is like Sarah Palin’s “gay friend” who’s mad at A&E over the ducky guy. 🙄

I don’t think “the rich” need worry that much about the guillotine if they would only not fight certain issues of fairness like not fighting peoples’ ability to have a fair wage and to let the wages of the average American at least rise with the rate of inflation instead of being stagnant the last, oh say, twenty years or so.

technology will continue to give jobs to the educated

Well then, let’s make sure folks have access to education to help folks be able to obtain those jobs.

the ever-evolving mischief of men and markets won’t change.

Now that, Peggy, yes we can do something about. All it takes is for Eric Holder and the D.o.J. to start prosecuting some of the Wall Street guys criminally instead of just fining them. Send some of these guys to jail and not a “club fed” type of incarceration.

Nope. No prison. Sentence them to frozen assets and 5-15 years of working at McDonald’s. That would be justice,

chat@2: Frozen assets? Hell no, I want to strip them of those assets if they’re the result of crooked activities.

Two, TWO, Bowl games today!!!

I’m watching now,

This Pizza bowl has been pretty good so far.

They know the answer. The answer is FDR style policies tailored to the job creation needs of the modern market. They just don’t like the answer.

Chat, thank you for explaining Boxing Day.

Reading the Noonan except again, I interpret it to mean that the major “concern” of this gentleman is that harsh and probably stupid regulations will strangle the market. If our congress drafts it, he’s right it will be stupid, and possibly strangling. So apparently he’s worried that the “guillotines” will take the form not of marches in the streets, but idiot congressional regs which drive the market down, and the whole 2008 debacle springs to zombie life all over again.

He could well be correct. I see this as a hopeful development. Yes there will be a lot of economic pain and personal hardship, but another major crash is the only thing which will bring about the tipping point Chat believes is near.

I am always surprised when otherwise intelligent business people fail to grasp the principle that the worst possible strategy is to leave your opponent (that would be us, and everyone who works for a living) with nothing left to lose.

Oh, exactly. I envision a broadening of OWS or an enhancement of the “tale of two cities” used so successfully by Bill de Blasio

To this day, when the French “mob” speaks, the French government listens.

Aux barricades!

A great rendition –

Yes, it is. Thank you.

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