Lots of rich-guy pathos on display outside the gates of a big GOP fundraiser in the Hamptons, but I thought this was the most telling remark about the state of things in 2012:
"It's not helping the economy to pit the people who are the engine of the economy against the people who rely on that engine," Michael Zambrelli said as the couple waited in their SUV for clearance into the Creeks shortly after the candidate's motorcade flew by and entered the pine-tree lined estate.
I'm not much of a car guy, but the way I understand this metaphor to work is that if you want to give rich people credit for being "the engine of the economy" then if the economy is performing subpar it follows that something's wrong with your engine. And yet I suspect Zambrelli wouldn't take kindly to that diagnosis.
But what's really galling is the absurd level of self-regard among the winners in the modern American meritocracy. It's completely true that many wealthy individuals garnered their wealth by developing useful products or devising useful approaches to management. But take a guy like Anthony Scarmucci, one of Mitt Romney's national finance co-chairs. His stock in trade is ripping off successful-but-not-mega-rich professionals with a "fund of funds" business model in which management fees eat away all your investment gains. Taking advantage of the existence of suckers is a perfectly legal way to make money. In a world where Gilbert Arenas is paid $20 million, why shouldn't a clever investment manager be able to find ways to skim off people's hard earned savings? But skill at making money is just that—skill at making money. It's not evidence that you possess a unique economy-powering genius without which the rest of us would all be paupers.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.