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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 06:16 PM

The Power of Plutocratic Pettiness

Alec MacGillis has a fantastic piece in the New Republic (unfortunately paywalled) about how hedge fund managers’ love for Obama has turned into blind, spitting hatred. His main argument is that it’s all about feeling disrespected:

“Lots of started out poor, and made a huge amount of money, and created thousands and thousands of jobs in the process. They’re used to being the American Dream, and now you have the president who looks at them and sneers at them like they’re bad guys.”

For all the brashness and bravado that goes with their world, it seems the managers are oddly insecure about their purpose. For years, “most people in the financial service sector were viewed with enormous, out-of-the-box respect and adulation,” says Daley. “These guys were on pedestals, and now that pedestal’s gone, and now, in a lot of people’s minds, the industry doesn’t have that glow, and that bothers them, and now they join that with the president and his theoretically bashing the wealthy.


This seems completely right to me. When you make a billion dollars a year, you can buy anything you want — which means that goods and services yield almost no marginal utility. What you crave, then, is what money can’t buy: respect.

...

And now Obama says what anyone paying attention would: that these big-money people were, to some extent, making their money in socially destructive ways — and they go insane, precisely because in their hearts they know that he’s right.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/the-power-of-plutocratic-pettiness/

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