Dallas-based Billionaire Calls Occupy Protesters “Imbeciles”

In this story from Bloomberg, some of the wealthiest men in America defend themselves (presumably from the comfort of their immaculately decorated offices and private jets) against the unfair, heinous attacks of the Occupy movement and those pesky protesters who seem displeased by the widening disparity between the richest few and the folks worried about feeding their families. The CIA says there’s more economic inequality in America today than Iran or India. Not too far in, there’s this bit from Bernard Marcus, the 82-year-old co-founder of Home Depot:

“If successful businesspeople don’t go public to share their stories and talk about their troubles, ‘they deserve what they’re going to get,’ said Marcus, 82, a founding member of Job Creators Alliance, a Dallas-based nonprofit that develops talking points and op-ed pieces aimed at ‘shaping the national agenda,’ according to the group’s website. He said he isn’t worried that speaking out might make him a target of protesters. ‘Who gives a crap about some imbecile?’ Marcus said. ‘Are you kidding me?'”

What, exactly, he thinks rich people who don’t defend themselves “deserve” isn’t clear. (Do the just deserts include tax increases? Bloody revolution? Being forced to fly coach?) What is clear is that Marcus, a man “shaping the national agenda,” believes anyone bothered by the current economic disparity in this country is an “imbecile” he doesn’t “give a crap about.”

Comments

  • BOB

    Dallas based!!! Bernie Marcus has lived in Atlanta for over 25 years; the organization perhaps but the man ,not so much. Nice try though.

  • The Occupy movement holds as its foundations those economic elements that made this country great, namely:

    1. Advocating for a responsive government that sets policies that benefit all of it’s citizens rather than a select few that can pay for access.
    2. Advocating for regularity policy that ensures that risk is not shouldered by individuals’ savings and retirement funds.
    3. Advocating for social equality where each citizen is viewed equally and have equal opportunity to succeed.

    Mr. Marcus’ remarks are unfortunate and display a total disregard of what has made America great. His views are outside the main stream and lack the perspective of reality. The Occupy Movement focuses on helping to ensure equality and opportunity for all Americans, apparently something Mr. Marcus disagrees with.

  • D. Shapiro

    He’s 82! I bet he says other funny things too. But he’s right, poor people don’t matter. Old people matter even less. USA!

  • Senor

    Many working-class people also consider the protesters imbeciles, and they’re not in the target group. That would be a better story.

  • Avid Reader

    Is there anyone left at the Dallas occupy associated protest?

  • Lisa Koen

    Maybe he is the imbecile. The major change I have seen coming on gradually was in 1985-and on. When companies started merging. Therefore leaving a lot of people out of work. And all so that the CEOs could make a killing in profits and bonuses!!
    Also, now most companies expect one to work what it took 2 people to accomplish. Why?? So that the big wheels can have bigger bonuses. When is enough is enough?
    A good example, I used to go to Home Depot and when I needed help I could always find someone there. Now the place looks like a hydrogen bomb went off. Very deserted and you have to spend or go to the Help Desk to find someone. So is this what you call sharing the wealth? NOT!!
    Nowadays the bonuses are so extravagant and who do you think pays for them? The worker on the bottom of the totem pole!!
    Lisa

  • amanda

    I didn’t take his comments in that sense.

    I think what he was saying was that there is a perception by some people, and for sure expressed by those in the Occupy protests that everyone who has wealth came by it easily. I took his commentary as a challenge to business owners to discuss “how” they created this wealth. The truth is most of them worked hard.

    Today’s crop of billionaires aren’t railroad tycoons lighting cigars with $100 bills. Most of them created companies from a niche concept, and built companies around a market need.

  • Amy S

    @Lisa – Lowes is much more user friendly. Just saying.

  • 1Zima2Many

    If the “Occupy” folks would list specific grievances they have, they might gain more acceptance. As it is, they just sound like they’re un-informed complainers. Do they really think a 24-year-old with a double major in comparative cinematic studies and the physics of hacky-sack should make the same income as a 60-year-old professional who has worked his arse off for the last 40 years??!! That’s the impression I get when I see the protesters try and explain the reason they’re protesting. Until they come up with specific problems – and specific proposals to fix them (and no, Glynn’s generic sound bytes don’t count), they’re going to have a hard time sounding like anything more than “imbeciles.”

  • Rich “Uncle” Pennybags

    Well Mr. Marcus, I made my money by buying up a square block of undeveloped property and local railroads! I would build pre-fab homes on my newly acquired properties and then once occupancy was at 100%, evict the poor imbeciles living there, raze the hovels and build hotels – allowing even more imbecile tourists to come visit and pay me exorbitant rent! And it wasn’t easy getting to where I am today. Sure, I’ve spent some time in jail – without probably cause mind you, and I’ve never been exempt from income tax or luxury taxes.

  • smeyers

    @1zima2many

    Totally agree! The second sound byte was the only one that came close to an actual solution.

  • towski

    @Amy S – unless you’re muslim. 😉

  • CSP

    Michael, do you need a Venn diagram of “people Bernard Marcus thinks are imbeciles” and “anyone bothered by the current economic disparity in this country”? Methinks those circles don’t overlap nearly as much as you imply.

  • Liz Landry

    @amanda did you know that GE did not pay one cent in taxes because they have entire legal departments figuring out how they can get out of their tax bill? They had $5.1 billion in profits in 2010. Also, 280 of the BIGGEST publicly traded US companies paid 18.5%, instead of that 35% that they should. Warren Buffet, a socially responsible billionaire, paid just 17%, which was less than his secretary. These CEOs didn’t start a company or get an idea in a vacuum, they got where they were with help from others. Some of them went to PUBLIC universities, or took grant money from the government, or got a tax break as a start-up or drive on streets that our tax money pays for.. The point is, we ALL pay into a system with the hope that anyone can create an American Dream. And, it is not ethical when companies pay their CEOs millions of dollars in bonuses but cut lower rung jobs by 40%. It isn’t right that the CEOs of companies that got HUGE billion dollar bailouts are still rich and haven’t been held accountable for their ILLEGAL practices. Falsifying records, lying to clients, forging documents, encouraging any means necessary to be rich. I remember reading about this kind of economic system, when people stood in bread lines and lived in Hoover-ville. THAT is the true price of corporate greed and rich guy entitlements.

  • kerryokie

    The more educated the person, or the more refined their skill means they are more in demand

    you’re against them being compensated for that?

    “income inequality” is just another buzz word to keep the hate and conflict going

    they wont dare say, we are jealous of others

    so they try and intellectualize it with all their nonsense

  • kerryokie

    companies get away with not paying taxes because we have a welfare state

    if its good enough for one group, then its good enough for another

    you want true equality ???

    flat tax

    no exceptions

    ahhhh,, now look who is against THAT!!

  • kerryokie

    Go get in michael jordans face and tell him he makes “too much money”

    how about a ufc star

    angry cowards who assemble in a group using the MIGHT IS RIGHT “theory” as their guide, that is the occupiers

  • Liz Landry

    People who are upset at the “fat cats” (raising my hand) aren’t mad at ALL rich people. We don’t begrudge the professional sports players their million dollar contracts, we don’t get upset at how much they pay Julia Roberts or Tom Cruise (ok.. well, that one stings a bit) We don’t randomly dislike rich people. Warren Buffet would SOOOO be on my Christmas Card List (if I celebrated Xmas). However, when greed is your motivation and unethical behavior is your M.O. You do NOT deserve to be rich on MY back. Period. My dad shouldn’t have to bust his over-50 butt to make enough money to feed his family while the CEO says there isn’t enough profit to pay bonuses to the sales force, but sure pays it to the executive teams. THAT is the point. Being rich is not to be desired, having wealth is.

  • Thufir_Hawat

    Without even considering content, I can tell you which posts are aligned the the OWS/OD crowd by their disregard for punctuation, spelling, grammar, and syntax. Way to live down to expectations.

  • amanda

    @ Liz…why yes, I did know that about GE. My father worked for GE for 25+ years. Did you know that Jeffery Immelt, the current CEO of GE was a “special” guest during the president’s September “jobs” speech? My father and a legion of other retired GE employees are HORRIFIED at the gutting of what was once a great American company. GE is now primarily a financial services company with lots of influence on financial policy in DC. Thomas Alva Edison is rolling over in his grave. (Not only for the decimation of GE, but for the January 1 ban on the incandescent, Edison’s contribution to Western society that illuminated now dim factories and industry.)

    Both political parties are KILLING business in this country. Neither is willing to challenge the status quo, because it has some amazing perks if you happen to hold office. Camping in a park isn’t going to change Immelt’s MO or any Wall Street firm.

    Going back to Marcus’ statement? I would rather the Occupy crowd have a mentor like Edison (or Marcus) than Immelt any day. Regardless if I agree with Marcus’ mission in JCA, he spoke with transparency…at least he will give his opinion.

    How many of the Occupy folks realize just how cozy the president, most of congress, many in the judiciary, and some in law enforcement are with the CEO’s they criticize? Recent comments labeled as “class warfare” by some are disturbing to me. Remember how “united” we all were after 9/11? With a national election looming (again), we’re back to “us” and “them,” not a “we.”

    Has anyone delved into exactly WHO is funding these protests?

    Fiat Lux.

  • 1Zima2Many

    @Liz: If the Occupy folks have specific issues (tax policy, Wall Street malfeasance, etc.), then by all means they should voice them and lobby for change. That is not what they’ve done.

    Also, like it or not, CEOs get paid tons of money, in part, to reward them for organizing – or reorganizing – their companies so that they run efficiently. Sometimes that means cutting pay for people who are not worth their salary. Sometimes it means laying off people who are no longer needed. When a CEO does that, he or she is doing their job – and doing it well – and they should be rewarded for that. A corporation does not exist to make sure everyone who works there is paid based on some cosmic vision of “equity.” If any employee wants to be paid more, or avoid being laid off, he or she should make themselves indispensable.

  • Charles Lane had an interesting article on this in the Washington Post yesterday. Turns out Americans aren’t really worried about income inequality – in fact Americans were far more concerned about it in 1998 than they are today. Lane describes how Arthur Okun suggested that free markets operate efficiently BECAUSE they distribute economic rewards unevenly. Smoothing out income stratification risks undermining incentives to work and invest. Lane also points out who Europe – who has really succeeded in income equality (i.e. flat income distribution) has accompanied flat economic growth. Interestingly, the country with the biggest decrease in inequality between 1985 and 2008 it is Greece (you don’t want to live in Greece). The article is worth a read:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-simplistic-view-of-income-inequality/2011/12/19/gIQAeVmR5O_story.html?hpid=z4

  • In the strategic campaign to vilify the super wealthy, OWS and President Obama have also targeted folks whose annual income is at or above $250,000 a year. Some have argued that threshold isn’t quite the same as when President Clinton used it to revise the tax structure in the 90s. In today’s economic climate, that figure is $386,075. Today as then, those who receive the majority of their income from investments manage to avoid a significant chunk of taxation they would otherwise pay if they took home a salary only. Income sources must be taken into account when taxation is considered.

    Dallas is fortunate in that the cost of living is lower here than in many parts of the country, so $250,000 a year buys more. But if tax rates increase dramatically for the “sort of rich,” as Andrew Ross Sorkin argued, families whose income meets that figure will feel the crunch while millionaires and billionaires will see virtually no lifestyle change whatsoever.

    It’s true that just two percent of Americans fall in the $250,000+ income category. But arguably those whose income is based on a salary instead of investment dividends are in a much less financially flexible position.

  • By the way: “just desserts?”

  • Bill Marvel

    By all means. If businessmen would only tell us exactly and in detail how they made their wealth, I think we’d all find it illuminating. Open the books, lay put the memos, the tax returns, the whole ninety-nine yards. As it is, all too often we’ve had to depend upon indictments, testimony, and the investigative labors of muckraking journalists. So come on, all you businessmen. Tell us your stories. We’re all ears.

  • R. Shapiro

    Yes, The 250k mark. With the wife working in NY and paying rent, state and city tax there, and with a mortgage here and travel expenses and student loans (which are equivalent to my mortgage at this point), I should have just lived in a tent in a park and complained. It would have been much easier, more profitable, and less stressful. Except when it rains or gets cold. All decisions are mine. I could have invented the Redneck Wine Glass! Hopping in my DeLorean.

  • What Bloomberg doesn’t know is that we wouldn’t waste our time on a twerp like that.

  • Christina Jones

    I’m with Mr. Bill Marvel on this one. (It’s a relief to see you in this forum, sir; our families knew each other long ago.) A request to D/Front Burner: I’d like to share your story on Facebook by mobile, but do not have an icon to click. To those attempting to distinguish allegiances with English mechanical errors: I’ve read mistakes from multiple perspectives.

  • @Amanda and all the rest that get most of their info from the talking bots at Fox. The issues of concern to the OWS movement are many and easy to discover if you actually look. What it boils down to is that the wealthy elite have used their power not to just live well (which most deserve), but to stack the system to increasingly take more and more of the worker’s productivity for themselves. They have been so successful that as of last year, the number of people in the US considered “middle class” is now a minority. Half of us take home so little in pay that we don’t owe taxes. It’s not because we are lazy. The working poor work harder than most CEO’s. For more truth about what OWS really is about, visit dfw99.org and then visit the resources in the Links section of the Wiki. We don’t want to take money from the rich, we want them to stop taking money from us, to pay their fair share of taxes and to remove the corrupt political machinery so that we have a democracy again, not a plutocracy. If I’ve made any spelling or grammar errors, too bad.

  • Ben

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 6% since the Occupy Wall Streeters pulled their money out of the market. That’s gotta sting! Watch Bernard Marcus and his biography on CNBC the next time it airs. I think you’ll have a lot of respect for him if you have watched the show.

  • Neal

    I’d say that as the co-founder of Home Depot, which has 190,000 employees worldwide and brought affordable home improvement products to millions of Americans in a one-stop shopping environment, Bernard Marcus has brought a better standard of living to a hell of a lot more people than, say, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi or the Occupy Wall Street rabble could ever possibly achieve.

    So he made a few billion off the gigantic business he helped to build? Who cares? And how does it have any effect on you other than to stir up your envy, rage and urge to take his property in the name of “social justice” or some other pretextual nonsense?

  • dogden

    Occupy Wall Street is nothing but a movement made up of moronic Marxists. They are imbecilic by their very nature. Anyone who believes the clap trap that Marxism teaches is a imbecilic fool. As Maggie Thatcher said, socialism works great until you run out of other people’s money. Marcus is right-they are TOTAL IMBECILES!

  • Liz Landry

    We almost had a real discussion about real issues before a bunch of you jumped on the Grammar/Punctuation Police bus. I will say it slow, so the people in the back can catch it. This. Is. A. Blog. Not. An. Engraved. Statue. Set. In. Stone. Most of us are working and taking a few moments to type something out to add to the discussion, while also doing 50 other things. If you got the point or the gist of what we were saying, why do you feel it necessary to act like a self-righteous jerk by pointing errors out. Oh, I know why. Because you don’t want to actually talk numbers, to actually talk about the companies unethical behavior, or the Third World conditions that some of our fellow Americans are living in right now. Instead, you want to sit on your sanctimonious tuffet and pretend that your ability to spell makes you better than anyone else. It doesn’t. Take it from this Editor.

    @Amanda I agree whole heartedly with your statement. I, by no means, meant to imply that I thought that this was a Republican-only issue. The sad state of politics and the corporate money that flows freely is why I am disgusted by both sides.

  • Julie

    “sit on your sanctimonious tuffet”

    definitely stealing that.

    the phrase, not the …..tuffet

  • Bill Marvel

    “CEOs get paid tons of money, in part, to reward them for organizing — or reorganizing — their companies so that they run efficiently. ”
    And what’s the other part?

  • Bill Marvel

    Seriously:
    While there certainly are CEO’s who have organized their companies so they run more efficiently — GE’s Jack Welch comes to mind; he certainly organized GE’s tax accounting practices — the notion that this should ultimately determine how wealth is distributed or that it justifies the growing distance between those at the top and the rest of Americans — a wealth-gap more characteristic of some sybaritic Oriental despotism than a modern democratic state — is a sophomoric piece of Ayn Randism.
    Let’s set aside for the moment those questions of economic equity and justice, fairness, and morality that so many commenters above find distasteful. And let’s not examine too closely the assumption that all, or most, CEOs organize things so efficiently that they actually merit the rewards they receive. And the companion assumption that workers are slackers and deserve whatever pittance they get and are lucky not to be laid off.
    Let’s not even think about those issues.
    Let’s just deal with this pragmatically. In a free-market economy what drives the market? Consumer demand, perhaps? And where does consumer demand come from? Surely not the Oriental sybarites at the top of the heap, the one-percenters. There aren’t enough of them, even if every one bought every item in the Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog.
    The 99 percent, then, the working stiffs who stop by Home Depot to pick up a faucet or a light fixture for a little bit of home improvement. But, Dang! A lot of those working stiffs don’t own homes anymore, and may not even have jobs. So they won’t be doing much improving anytime soon.
    And it appears increasingly that most of their children are never going to own homes, and will probably bounce from one low-paying job to another, so the won’t be buying many improvements, either. And many of those children won’t be able to afford to get married and have children of their own, so…I think you can see where this is going.
    It’s been argued here and elsewhere that Americans, unlike those socialistic Europeans, are reluctant to bash the rich because deep down inside American imagines that someday if they just work hard and play by the rules, they will join the rich.
    But what happens when Americans begin to catch on that, not only are they never going to be rich, but that fewer and fewer of them are even going to get by? That the middle class is pretty much evaporating right out from under them and their children. That the dream is no longer working?
    What do you think those Americans will be thinking of the one-percenters, then? Do you suppose Americans, even law-n-order Americans, are going to take it lying down? Do you imagine that they’ll just chalk it up to the inevitable oscillations in a free market economy — some go down so that others can go up? Do you imagine that protests, social disorder, revolutions only happen to other folks?
    Or do you think that maybe a few here, a few there will take to the streets, set up tents in a park, occupy some place or another? And that these might just be the early birds, the harbingers as it were?
    Setting aside, of course, questions of economic equity and justice, fairness, and morality that so many find distasteful.

  • mynameisbill

    Is Mr.Marcus referring to us jealous, neer do well plebs as imbeciles, because we keep supporting, him and his ilk, thru public/private development contracts, bailouts, and tax cuts? Because, if he is, I, might have to agree.

  • amanda

    @ Liz, yes…I knew what you meant. GE is just a topic that really riles me up.

    @Bill Marvel…many of the documents you referenced are already required to be open record in publicly traded companies. The problem is that there is NO federal enforcement of current economic policies. Remember Enron? Complete boondoggle…a handful of journos begin to unravel the shell game. But, all “legally” packaged and presented to shareholders and analysts. Ironically, you mentioned the antichrist, Jack Welch. Much of GE’s corporate vision was indeed shaped under “lean and mean,” I meant “lean and agile,” I meant Neutron Jack. He implemented the forced ranking of older employees to weed them out. Those pesky packages and pensions were just too damn expensive. It was super fun watching Welch and his executive team squirm during two weeks of depositions in an age discrimination lawsuit. Immelt, though, has taken NJ’s carnage to a new level. But, hey…when GE and other corporations are held accountable under civil and criminal law, they’ll just take their ball overseas. In fact, their doing that this very minute. All the GE medical equipment? GE aircraft? All financed by GE Capital. “Men” like Welch and Immelt couldn’t care less about the OWS protests. They simply tell the driver to bypass the route.

    I stand by my call for mentoring and fostering business and industry, period. The older workers (anyone over 40…) forced out of companies in the last 20 years have experience and expertise about HOW to create jobs HERE and sustain those jobs.

    The protests aren’t impacting the people who fuel the problem…the career politicians. Most elected officials go to DC with a net worth of $200-$500K. Most leave DC with a net worth in excess of $5M, and some as high as $600M…all completely immune to the insider trading statutes that the rest of us must adhere to or face prison. (Hello, Martha!) My theory is the regulations being required by both sides of the aisle force companies to “comply” (disclose) to dozens of committees, and therefore hundreds of elected officials. Instead of providing any protection to the public? That information is fair game to members of congress and the senate for their personal use, and…well, their staffers as well. So, by all means, let’s continue to regulate business to death so that the chosen few in DC can trade on information required for compliance.

  • Liz Landry

    I sadly second everything Bill Marvel said. (Plus, I just like people who aren’t afraid to put their real names on their opinions and thoughts.) And, like Amanda points out, the government isn’t doing their job protecting the poor or the downtrodden, only the most powerful lobbyist. Additionally, I get so tired of people throwing around words like lazy and jealous to describe anyone who thinks the the inequality in the world is NOT the American dream.

  • Wm. B. Travis

    What is this, second-stringer post-it land for New Republic wannabes? Pull it together! Wick’s gotta fishing trip he needs to upgrade, so don’t upset the already over-taxed readership. This isn’t Cambridge, you know!

  • amanda

    @ Liz…I hear ya. Just about everything Bill mentioned is public domain, less the emails/memos…and those should be discovery in a civil action, but without anyone to enforce the “spirit” of a subpoena? Our current system is broken. The balance of power (three branches) is broken.

    I live in an area with mostly people of the same cloth as Marcus (old, retired, have secure finances)…dialogue taken in a context can distort the spirit of the message. Heck, I would call someone an “imbecile” for camping in a public park and protesting something that they can’t possibly impact/change. The issues surrounding the Occupy camps have ultimately degraded any message they hoped for. I applaud the spirit. I applaud the courage. The execution? Not so much.

    Inequality is a fact. It’s kind of like diversity, another fact. People are different (even not equal) on a lot of different levels for a lot of different reasons. No, that’s not an American dream…but the American dream was a concept sold to us by Madison Avenue, not a core concept of the US Constitution. We aren’t entitled to own a house, cheap gas, and an employment package with benefits and automatic increases. (Or the right to collectively be badly behaved in publicly funded parks…) We got life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness (whatever that is), and some assurance those will happen on a level playing field (but it doesn’t shake out like that.) If LAW ENFORCEMENT, namely the FBI would stop advocating a TSA agent to grope my vagina when I simply need to hop on Southwest…and stop turning a blind eye to corporate America…we might make some progress.

    The most interesting people to me are the Iranian citizens who came to the US 2-5 years AFTER the fall of the Shah… For most Arabic nations, the concept of freedom would be akin to me trying do describe a great taco to someone from Iceland. One you taste it? You know. They know. Iranians (okay “Persians”) have dipped a toe in both waters…they are here to live that. Their American dream.

    Marcus has created a metric crap ton of jobs and services (much needed to maintain “the American dream.”) Maybe it would be better to LISTEN to him, and not pick apart a quote and try to apply it to a temporal situation?

  • ts

    Get off my lawn you dirty hippies. I mean that in the literal sense.

  • avid

    “But what happens when Americans begin to catch on that, not only are they never going to be rich, but that fewer and fewer of them are even going to get by?”

    Why can’t Americans get rich? I fully intend on getting rich. If that doesn’t work out; that will be my fault, not some banker CEO’s fault. This is America, not Iran or India, and you can do anything you want. Don’t like your job or have no upward mobility opportunities? Quit and go find another job. Don’t have a job? Apply and go on interviews. No job openings in your field? Look in a different industry. Need different skills in the new industry that you don’t have currently? Enroll in some classes; take a course over the internet; do some research. Job opportunities available don’t have compensation to match your needs? Lower your needs to live within your means. Still can’t find a job? Move to a city that has jobs. Invent the next Facebook/Snuggie/Pet Rock/Opti-Grab/etc. Or don’t do anything about it; your choice and no one will force you because this is America. The system is not perfect by a longshot, but I don’t see hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world clamoring to get into Iran or India like they are with America. Go tell the college drop out founder of facebook or dell that the dream is no longer working.

  • Bill Marvel

    Sorry, Travis. I keep forgetting how nervous the Tweet generation gets around sentences and paragraphs and stuff. Next time I’ll aim lower. By the way, what’s New Republic?

  • Ed

    “Economic justice” is a term that gives me the creeps every time I hear it. Justice implies you get what you deserve. But “economic justice” implies that you deserve quite a lot, either regardless of what you have done, or perhaps solely based upon your current level of effort (i.e. I work hard, I deserve to get more).

    The concept of economic justice in reality is a subsidy for inefficiency and bad choices. News flash: the vast majority of people who are doing poorly are in that state because they earned it, not because of bad luck. There are undoubtedly many exceptions (due to illness or truly unforeseeable circumstances), but most either:
    -experienced a lack of effort (either now or at a critical time in the past)
    -are relatively incapable, or
    -made bad choices (choosing to enter the wrong field, not going to college, going to college and majoring in puppetry).

    In the real world, if you screw up (even in youth), you are probably going to pay for it for the rest of your life. That should create good incentives to not screw up. But “economic justice” makes excuses, and subsidizes screwing up.

    So if you want to talk about reinstituting Glass Steagall, I’ll listen. If you want to talk about truly attacking the unholy alliance of big business and big government, I’ll listen (as an aside, do people still not realize that most regulations, even absent big business influence or lobbying, HELP big business, because they are the only ones who can navigate the regs and turn them to their advantage? Laissez faire economic policies may have their problems, but most regulatory solutions create bigger problems for us and bigger opportunities for big business). But utter the words “economic justice” and I’m no longer capable of taking you seriously.

    And by the way, let all the Bush tax cuts expire. It will disproportionately help hurt the wealthy (thus making the left happy), but broaden the tax base (which in their heart of h earts mjakes the right happy in most cases), and solves our budet problems in almost one fell swoop.

  • Bill Marvel

    Admittedly, the concept of “economic justice” is hard to grasp for those whose morality is dollar-based, or whose philosophical browsing has been confined to Ayn Rand. But it’s an ancient concept, rooted on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Not to drag religion into it, or anything like that.

  • amanda

    @ Bill Marvel…you’ve dropped Ayn Rand twice. Can you confirm or deny that you are, in fact, a high school sophomore force to read “Atlas Shrugged”? I went to a religious high school, so reading Rand was a no-no. But, good ol’ Ayn popped up on the summer reading list for Hockaday. Tell us Bill, are you a Hockadaisy with an axe to grind?

  • Ed

    @ Bill. Its not dollar based. Its experiential in nature. I came from nothing. I paid the price early, did the hard work, made the right decision, and translated the less-fun youth into success today. When I see people I know who did not do the work, made poor choices, had a great time in their youth, now are suffering for it, and demand (not ask, but demand), that I share more of my success with them, I do not find their demands compelling. I see people wanting to have their cake and eat it too. You are absolutely correct that my lack of empathy is inconsistent with Judeo-Christian values. But I never claimed to be a good Christian.

  • Liz Landry

    I always find amusing when people who grew up a lot like me, white/middle-class/nice towns, speak about these “lazy, poor choosing others” that aren’t succeeding because something that they did. Funny, I’ve been poor and I worked two jobs and put myself through college and I BARELY got by. The ONLY reason I am moderately successful today is because I happened to come from a family that could help me (and they barely could, so a good friend picked up some of the slack.) I would absolutely NOT have gotten where I am, even with my college degree, without that support. And, so to look at someone who comes from a single-parent household where the mother works two jobs to keep a roof over their head, and say that you should be able to do it if you just try harder is not only naive, it’s a down-right lie. Teaching people to read, buying new babies formula, housing women and their children who are abused, giving children who struggle in school programs, making sure that the forgotten elderly are fed, ensuring that the disabled have access to treatment, making sure that people have access to health care; these are ALL programs that not only help each and every one of us, but create a place where prosperity and creativity thrive. If you think about the US as a big corporation, it will always be more successful when its “employees” are healthy, confident and secure. That’s why when we choose places to work, the benefits are as important as the salary.

  • Ed

    @ Liz. People do succeed in that situation. To call the possibility “a lie” is to invite all those people to give up. Might want to rethink that. And some level of a social safety net is going to exist, the argument is about how much of one. Those arguing for “economic justice” are typically not just talking social safety net, they are talking about more system redistribution of wealth. As you way, we want some level of social safety net because it makes America a better place. Its a big leap to go from that to fully embracing the tenets of economic justice.

  • Bill Marvel

    amanda,
    I, too, went to a religious school. I managed to escape Ayn Rand until a couple years ago when I decided, okay, influential politico-cultural work. Folks keep recommending it to me. Guess I better read it.
    Most dreadful reading experience of my entire life. And I’ve plowed through some awful stuff. I still can’t decide which is worse, her writing or her philosophy. I guess it’s one pf those cases of the form being perfectly fitted to the content.
    Teachers, even Hockaday teachers, who assign her to their studeents ought to be imprisoned for child abuse.

  • avid

    I always find it amusing that the people who claim to want to help the non “white/middle-class/nice towns” the most, also assume that they can’t do anything. Just because you come from a white/middle-class/nice towns” doesn’t make you better.

  • avid

    Let’s imprison teachers for assigning students to read books that don’t fit our wanted narrative. Genius. Why has no one tried this or banned certain books in the past, sounds like a winner.

  • Bill Marvel

    avid,
    Skipped that class on irony, did we?

  • avid

    Bill,
    You are so wordy, I mean sybarites, that’s a good one; try looking up facetious.

  • Wesley Miller

    It all comes around to the same old problem. The market place is not a fit environment for democracy to live in. Our Republic offers choice. One can be selfish or one can be an American. A choice.