The überrich are full of ideas. Not, unfortunately, ideas to help humanity, but to help themselves grab more money and power at our expense.
Take Tom Perkins. He's one of a growing number of the "put-upon" rich -- billionaires who've grabbed a fabulous fortune by hook or crook, but now complain that they are victims of a "rising tide of hatred." Excuse me, Tom, but the words "billionaire" and "victim" are not a natural pairing. Yet, even though he candidly concedes that he lives a life of vulgar excess, Perkins wrote a sob-story letter in January to The Wall Street Journal pleading for relief from the "war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'"
He was roundly ridiculed for that, but he's since come back with a pragmatic idea for redressing the grievous plight of the put-upon one-percenters. What's needed, he explained, is a slight tweaking of America's democratic election system. "The Tom Perkins system," he lectured, is "you don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes. But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How's that?"
Gosh, so much vanity and ignorance crammed into only three sentences! Apparently, no one has informed Tom that poor people pay a larger percentage of their income in various taxes than do privileged tax evaders like him. Nor does he seem aware that a democratic government can not be anything like a corporation, for government must serve the whole public, while a corporation is an autocratic hierarchy that serves only a few. And golly, Tom, why should you and all of your billionaire buddies get anything special -- like extra votes -- just for paying taxes? What you get in return for taxes is what we all get: Civilization.
I thought I would write to Tom about his plan, but then I realized, I don't know how to spell "Thhhbbbbbllllltttttttt."
Listen to this commentary: