Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
On June 18th, Bloomberg News headlined “Biden Tells Elite Donors He Doesn’t Want to ‘Demonize’ the Rich” and reported Biden’s speech that day to “affluent donors … about 100 well-dressed donors at the Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Upper East Side, where the hors d’oeuvres included lobster, chicken satay and crudites”:
Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people. Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who’s made money. …
Nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change. …
I need you very badly.
The reporter, Jennifer Epstein, wrote: “Invoking Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s goal of political ‘revolution,’ Biden suggested that he would be the antidote.”
Maybe this is like when King Louis XV of France, prior to the French Revolution, reportedly said “Après moi le déluge” (and some ‘historian’ then alleged that the phrase had been said instead by his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, and some other ‘historian’ then changed that phrase to “Après nous le déluge,” — changing “me” to “we” — in order to make this altered version seem credible as having been from her, and the King not seem so self-obsessed). Nobody actually knows whether the French King actually was that prophetic about the Revolution to come. But he could have been.
Biden needs the super-rich, because, in today’s American politics, ‘elections’ are instead s‘elections’, by those very few super-rich people, and he therefore needs them, to select him, so that his campaign will then have enough money to fool enough of the Party’s voters to vote for him. The bogeyman he normally cites is Sanders, because Sanders publicly insists upon representing the public, instead of the super-rich, and because Sanders says that there is a hot and heavy class-war raging now in this country — not between Karl Marx’s “bourgeoisie” versus “proletariat,” but instead between the aristocracy versus the public, which is to say, between America’s 585 billionaires versus everyone else. Biden’s answer to that (his answer to Sanders’s analysis), as paraphrased by Bloomberg’s Epstein, was that as President, Biden would be “making marginal changes that would improve the lives of working and middle class Americans without slapping onerous taxes on the rich.” (Oh, and how would that be possible, given that taxes on the rich are already near record-low? Perhaps by increasing the federal debt above its current $23T? So, it would need to be paid by future generations? Biden doesn’t care about them, at all?) In other words: he’d keep the public’s wool pulled over their eyes, at least enough so as to avoid any “revolution” to “fundamentally change” America’s status-quo (of declining public services and soaring government debt). This is certainly what the billionaires want, but does it really represent the interests of the American public? Does he really think it does?
Earlier, on 8 May 2018, Biden had given a speech at the billionaires’ neoconservative neoliberal Brookings Institution, in which he said, “We have to deal with income inequity. I love Bernie, but I’m not Bernie Sanders. I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble. … The folks at the top aren’t bad guys. I get in trouble in my party when I say wealthy Americans are just as patriotic as poor folks. I found no distinction. I really haven’t.”
As usual, he lies, because the nation’s 585 billionaires control its international corporations, and the public does not, and those corporations have enormous lobbies and they control and/or outright own all of the major media and so represent their interests exclusively, just like America’s Government does. He knows this, but he lies, in order to win.
Furthermore: he has enough experience with America’s super-rich so that he knows what they are really like. He doesn’t need to be told about this by the social scientists who have actually studied the matter. Here is what they have reported (but Biden would never tell you this):
Empirical studies find that successful people tend to be bad: it’s natural for the scum and not the cream to rise to the top in organizations or in any society. The richer they are, the more hostile toward the poor they become. So, the wealthier a person is, the worse the person tends to be. The scientific studies show this. And it’s not just this, but success itself tends to make a person worse than the person was before the success. Even if a person became rich purely by luck, that lucky event itself makes the person more inclined to blame the poor, instead of to blame the rich, for society’s problems. This isn’t only among Trump and other Republicans; it is also among most Democrats (which is why Biden scores now above Sanders in the Democratic candidate polls). In any aristocracy, praise goes only upward, and blame goes only downward. Look at the prisons — how many billionaires are found there? The percentage of them who are in prison, as compared to the total number of American billionaires, is far smaller than is the percentage of billionaires, as compared to the total American population (585/330 million=1.8 per million). The richest American in prison is Bill Cosby, but his net worth was only $400M or 0.4B, so, he’s not one. He had little to nothing in common with billionaires, other than that some of them hired him to to perform in ads. Therefore, the percentage of the 585 billionaires who are in prison is not 1.8 per million (as in the general U.S. population); it is actually zero. None of the 585 is or ever was in prison. Are they really more honest than is the average American? This is another example indicating that it’s natural that, at the very top, the people tend to be the very worst, the least compassionate ones of all, the most psychopathic — and the most unaccountable of all. Their crimes (dangerous products, deceptive advertising, toxic air, global warming, etc.) normally affect millions (and nobody now in a U.S. prison has done nearly so much harm), but they get off scot-free (and maybe their stockholders get fined, at most). In fact, globally, the richest 10%, 770 million people, produce 50% of the global-warming gases, and the poorest 50%, 3.9 billion people, produce 10% of the global-warming gases; so, those 770 million produce, per person, 25 times as much as does a person in that 3.9 billion. (And, yet, by far the people who will suffer the most horrifically from global warming — and who might try to escape it by heading north and getting slammed by rulers such as Trump — are the poorest. Nature isn’t just, at all. Justice is unnatural, and government is supposed to be that type of unnatural, but it almost never is. Trump is, in this sense, simply normal for his class. And Biden finds this anti-poor attitude (which Obama likewise had, though he pontificated to the contrary) to be acceptable. How often is Biden publicly even asked about such facts as these? Never. Our political contests are laughable, a farce and a fraud. And scientific study after scientific study shows that the U.S. Government is controlled not by the voters — not by the public — but by the dollars — by the wealth (the few richest). The U.S. Government is s‘elected’, by the few extremely rich, and is not actually elected, by the electorate (the public — the many voters). Usually, these s‘elections’ are done during the primaries, when the mass of voters aren’t even paying attention to political (i.e., governmental) matters, and this is precisely such a moment, when the electorate who don’t care about the issues are paying attention only to the personalities. Moreover, in America, the wealthiest 1% are, on average, extreme conservatives, and they are, on average, constantly and obsessively concerned with politics — vastly more obsessed with it than persons in the general public (the poorer 99%) are. The rich tend to be psychopaths, and the billionaires are extremely so.
Good government is not natural; bad government is natural. Good government is unnatural. Biden, both in his voting record in the U.S. Senate, and in his actions as the U.S. V.P., has already proven that he is entirely satisfied with America’s having a natural government, a government by the richest, the greediest, the most psychopathic, the mega-donors. These are the people who are unfortunately also the most obsessed with government — not that it should be better than it is, but that it must be made even worse than it is, and maybe even privatized so that they can control it more directly. Biden tells them “I need you very badly,” because they know that, without their buying him, he won’t stand even a chance of becoming the next President — he won’t be s‘elected’. And he’s telling them that he knows, that it’s a farce. He wants them to know that he knows.
But they also know that Pete Buttigieg is like Obama was, a much slicker version of Biden, and so they are also pouring millions into Buttigieg’s campaign. The New York Times recently headlined “Wall Street Donors Are Swooning for Mayor Pete. (They Like Biden and Harris, Too.)”, and reported that “Even a donor who recently put together an event for one of Mr. Buttigieg’s rivals said that, these days, ‘the easiest event to sell out is a Buttigieg event.’”
While Biden can’t say it, the person he’s actually most competing against is Buttigieg — the new Obama. And Kamala Harris is also trying to be the new Obama. The latest polls of likely Democratic primary voters are showing that Buttigieg currently appears to be the genuine article — an extremely slick conservative in ‘progressive’ verbal garb, as a “liberal” or “moderate” Democrat, just like Joe Biden is, but younger and smarter.
All three (Biden, Buttigieg and Harris — plus some other Democratic candidates who are scoring too low in the polls for many of the billionaires to be investing in them right now, but who also are heavily courting the billionaires) are actually competing to be s‘elected’ by the Democratic Party billionaires, in order to have a chance at becoming ‘elected’ by the Democratic Party’s voters. This is where the real action currently is — not in any contest against the current Republican President, Trump. It’s all about the primaries; it’s an intra-Democratic contest, at this stage, and the general-election phase (the inter-Party phase) won’t even start until both Parties have their respective nominees. But most voters are too ignorant, or else too stupid, to recognize this clear and even blatant fact, and so they become easily suckered by candidates who pretend to be campaigning against Trump, when the contest at this phase of it is entirely about selecting the nominee. No Democratic Party candidate can call-out any of the others for deceiving the Democratic Party’s voters in this way (i.e., that the candidate isn’t really competing against Trump), because to do that (and to say that Trump isn’t even relevant at this stage: some media are even already endorsing whomever becomes the Democratic Party’s nominee) would offend the stupid voters, by pointing out that they’ve been suckered. (And such endorsements, at the present stage, are insults to the audience.) No politician — at least not in this country and in this era — can win without those voters, the fools, since those are the vast majority of each Parties’ electorate. The billionaires’ ‘news’media haven’t informed them about these realities. So: all of the candidates pretend that they are competing against Trump, though all of them know that they are not. Though this is an insult to the Democratic Party’s electorate, it is realistic; and, of course, Trump and previous Republican Presidents and politicians have always also been playing their voters as being their fools; so, it’s normal, and few voters are intelligent enough to understand or even recognize the con. They don’t feel insulted by what they’re being offered.
On 23 January 2019, Open Secrets bannered “Buttigieg debuted Washington ambitions through 2018 PAC donations” and reported that, “In June 2017, Buttigieg created a Carey committee, which is a hybrid super PAC and traditional PAC, named Hitting Home PAC. The PAC is described on its website as ‘dedicated to elevating the voices, concerns, and aspirations of Americans who no longer feel like they have a seat at the table in our political discourse’.” That’s a string of clichés. It’s an insult to the electorate. Lots of Democratic Party voters aren’t even offended by it. Buttigieg’s shallowness, self-absorption and psychopathy are certainly in Trump’s league, but he’s not yet competing against Trump, and, instead, almost every dollar that his campaign is spending means another Biden supporter who is switching away from Biden to Buttigieg because of personal factors such as Biden’s age (too much of that) and slickness (not enough of that). If ever American voters cared about the government’s policies, then this certainly isn’t that period, and the Democratic Presidential primaries certainly aren’t displaying any such focus, but now it’s more like pure political theater, in which the audiences are far more interested in the show than they are in who is pulling the strings backstage — far less about why those strings are being pulled, by those investors.
Biden, Buttigieg and Harris wouldn’t be sacrificing much support from the general-election voters by bowing down to the super-rich. On 8 June 2018, Gallup headlined “Partisan Divide on Benefit of Having Rich People Expands” and reported that, “Overall, 58% of all Americans agree that having a rich class is a benefit.” Americans look up to the super-rich. However, this isn’t the general election; and, so, among only Democrats (i.e., in the primaries), only 43% of Democratic voters say “Yes” to that question. 57% say “No.” Consequently, during the primaries (which is now), such candidates will be suffering some loss of support because of their support of and from the rich. However, a Democratic nominee Biden or Buttigieg or Harris would actually gain voter-support on account of their being pro-rich-people. Gallup found that whereas only 43% of Democrats are pro-rich-people, 81% of Republicans are, and 57% of Independents are. Thus, the only stage of their campaigns when voter-support would be negatively affected by this would be right now, during the Democratic primaries. And, yet, nonetheless, even Democrats are currently preferring Biden strongly against Sanders and against Warren. Therefore, whatever impact this factor might be having against Biden isn’t yet even showing up. Sanders and Warren might care a lot about this issue, but probably their own voters do not. America’s electorate currently exhibits no significant demand for reducing the nation’s current extreme inequality of wealth.
Every aristocracy know that the public depends upon the decisions that they make, but in a ‘democracy’ such as the U.S. is, the aristocracy has no accountability, at all, no matter how harmful to the public’s interests those decisions actually have been and are. This is a country in which there is maximum freedom for the billionaires, to do whatever they want, to the public. The string-pullers are obsessed to continue pulling the strings. And if they, too, might happen to feel “Après moi le déluge”, they don’t care, because that’s only “Après moi,” and because they are psychopaths (and therefore don’t care about the “Après moi”).
On 19 October 2018, Brooke Harrington headlined in Britain’s Guardian, “The bad behavior of the richest: what I learned from wealth managers”, and wrote:
“I’ve told my colleagues: ‘If I ever become like some of our clients, shoot me.’ Because they are really immoral people – too much time on their hands, and all the money means they have no limits. I was actually told by one client not to bring my wife on a trip to Monaco unless I wanted to see her get hit on by 10 guys. The local sport, he said, was picking up other men’s wives.”
The clients of this Geneva-based wealth manager also “believe that they are descended from the pharaohs, and that they were destined to inherit the earth”.
If a poor person voiced such beliefs, he or she might well be institutionalized; for those who work with the wealthy, however, such “eccentricities” are all in a day’s work. …
In fact, one of the London-based wealth managers I interviewed said that a willingness to accept with equanimity behavior that would be considered outrageous in others was an informal job requirement. Clients, he said, specifically chose wealth managers not just on technical competence, but on their ability to remain unscandalized by the private lives of the ultra-rich: “They [the clients] have to pick someone they want to know everything about them: about Mother’s lesbian affairs, Brother’s drug addiction, the spurned lovers bursting into the room.” Many of these clients are not employed and live off family largesse, but no one calls them lazy. …
Behaviors indulged in the rich are not just condemned in the poor, but used as a justification to punish them, denying them access to resources that keep them alive, such as healthcare and food assistance. Discussion of poverty has become almost impossible without moral outrage directed at lazy “welfare queens”, “crackheads” and other drug addicts, and the “promiscuous poor.”
On 24 October 2018, Professor Nicholas Carnes headlined at Vox, “Working-class people are underrepresented in politics. The problem isn’t voters. Our government is run by rich people — and it benefits them the most.” He reported that,
States with fewer legislators from the working class spend billions less on social welfare each year, offer less generous unemployment benefits and tax corporations at lower rates. Towns with fewer working-class people on their city councils devote smaller shares of their budgets to social safety net programs; an analysis I conducted in 2013 suggested that cities nationwide would spend approximately $22.5bn more on social assistance programs each year if their councils were made up of the same mix of classes as the people they represent. Unfortunately, we can’t write off white-collar government as politically inconsequential. As the old saying goes, when the working class isn’t at the table, it’s often on the menu. …
The people who recruit new candidates often don’t see workers as viable options, and pass them over in favor of white-collar candidates. In surveys of county-level party leaders, for instance, officials say that they mostly recruit professionals and that they regard workers as worse candidates. Candidates say the same thing: In surveys of people running for state legislature, workers report getting less encouragement from activist organizations, civic leaders, and journalists.
The reasons are complicated. Some party leaders cite concerns about fundraising to explain why they don’t recruit workers, for instance, and in places where elections cost less, party officials really do seem to recruit more working-class candidates. However, by far the best predictor of whether local party leaders say they encourage working-class candidates is whether the party leader reports having a lower income him- or herself and whether the party leader reports having any working-class people on the party’s executive committee.
Some Party-leaders seek out females, or Blacks, or religious leaders, or Hispanics, or military people, or gays, as candidates, but who seeks out poor or low-income people? They are shunned. Does this Government really represent them? Of course not! The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that only the latter are so hypocritical that they say they do represent the poor.
This is the way the system works. And Biden knows it. After all: this is a dictatorship, not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship of dollars. And he wants it to stay that way. And, at the current moment, most Democratic voters are actually satisfied with this.
Even after the U.S. Government had lied its public into invading Iraq in 2003-, and Libya in 2011-, and Syria in 2012-, and Yemen in 2015-, and into a bloody coup in Ukraine in February 2014, and into believing that the U.S. didn’t secretly continue the Cold War against Russia even after Russia quit it in 1991, so that Americans have been consistently deceived in our ‘news’ media and ‘history’ books, Americans still believe these psychopaths. Slow learners? It’s because we’re still being taught lies.
Biden is wrong about the rich, because in a country where the truth is only private, politics is only a competition between liars. And Democratic voters are satisfied with this. So: Go, Joe! That’s the message. Unless and until Buttigieg becomes #1 and delivers it slicker, to the gulls.
Biden may think that this is “democracy,” but do you? Or, are all of these people, in fact, simply traitors? What is a government that doesn’t represent its people, equally, but instead prejudicially? Justice is not natural. But it is supposed to be what the government represents. Does this one?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.