Thursday, February 02, 2012

Rich Richney and His Class War

How rich is he?  Double the combined fortunes of the last eight Presidents.  But it's not just money.  He's rich in his soul.  And not in a good way.  In the eye of a needle way.  Tough to get into heaven.  Richney can't even get to Earth.

Rich Richney, the likely GOPer candidate for Prez, thinks rich.  This means that he lives in a world where it is accepted, in fact expected, that he would structure a $100 million trust fund for his sons so exactly zero taxes would be paid on it, in defiance of the U.S. gift and inheritance taxes that lesser mortals (including mere millionaires) must pay.

Rich Richney has the eyes and heart of extreme wealth.  He managed to mangle his post-Florida message  about being for the middle class with the immortal statement, "I'm not concerned about the very poor."  It could be called a kind of Freudian slip, except that he repeated it.  Twice.

But the GOPer class war for which Richney is the poster boy goes beyond Richney's announced tax reforms, which would mainly benefit him and his insulatedly superrich ilk.  For example, another Wednesday story that seemed to be about the culture war, or the war against women: the major foundation (run by a GOPer, the senior vp of which is a Rabid Right pol) that cut off funds to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening.  Of course it is Rabid Right politics and culture war and war against women, but it is also and perhaps more basically class war.  Because rich women will still get their breast cancer screenings.  They don't need Planned Parenthood. The women who won't get breast cancer screenings are poor women who depend on Planned Parenthood--but who don't concern Rich Richney.  Class war is a subtext elsewhere as well.
Not that all this is new.  We've been here before.  Only now much, much worse, and getting worse than that.

Superpacs reporting their funding sources showed many million dollar donations to Richney's superpacs, especially from the Wall Street class.  They helped Richney crush the otherwise execrable but merely sort of rich Casino Newt with three or four times the few millions Newt got from his sole Casino daddy (who is himself so rich, somebody figured out, that the $10 million he threw Newt's way works out to be a proportion of his income that for someone making the U.S. average would amount to $45.)  Brute money as brute force.  Welcome to Obscenely Rich Guys United.

The class war of the Richney class, which plays the poor GOPer Tevangelical base like a fiddle (a base fiddle?), adds geometrically greater warping to the already skewed values of our decadent "democracy."  The rich may be different from you and me.  But the Richney rich are different from you and me and the Vulcans and Klingons. 

How all this plays out is described in this classic commentary by Lawrence O'Donnell, which uses an interlocking tale involving American Airlines, pensions, the federal government, and Bain Capital to expose the values universe we're trying to navigate.            

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