Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hypocracy of the Rich: Greed Is Not Good

UP FRONT News March 6, 2007
Published by Tom Weiss Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”
While people like Donald Trump and Richard Grasso blatantly promote the notion the “greed is good”, others in the mega-rich glass engage in sophisticated humanitarian image building while continuing to profit off of most of the world’s much, much less privileged billions. Cash magnet pseudo-bleeding heart Hillary Clinton is only an exam- ple.
Rock ‘n’ roll aristocrat Bono, while certainly doing much to publicize the reality of world poverty, is gifted at avoiding tax heavy governments. (Sort of like professional tennis stars moving to Monaco.) One of the for-profit companies that promote Bono’s philanthropic work reportedly spends far more on advertising its products than it donates to his anti-AIDS campaign. I doubt that I would be able to afford a ticket to one of his concerts. Hollywood is a testament to this kind of hypocrisy. Angelina Jolie thinks nothing of adopting African babies, attending a social forum in Europe conducted by the very well-fed, and making about $20 million to act in a movie. Charlize Theron became famous by making a movie about a working girl and then about a serial killer and now demands and gets thousands of dollars to wear the jewelry of a diamond magnate. Hilary Swank was reportedly paid $100,000 to wear Chopard’s diamond earrings at the 2005 Globe Awards. Since the supply and distribution of money is controlled by the rich who control the governments, is there any wonder why poverty and starvation exist on a mass basis?
All of this, especially when practiced by people who tend to speak respectfully and sometimes reverently about for example Jesus, brings up His reported comment compar- ing a rich person’s chances at entering heaven with that of a camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle.
The public relations flacks who are paid to rationalize the outrageous salaries paid to for example business and government executives consistently put forth the notion that you have to pay a lot to get quality executives, a sort of aristocratic version of the line that “It’s so hard to get good help these days.” That notion is garbage. Some of the most ex-ravagantly paid people (Enron) have run their companies into the ground. And while government salaries are generally significantly lower than those at comparable power levels in the private sector, it is clear, judging from the abysmal quality of governance,
that the taxpayers are being badly ripped off.
While the rich-getting-richer-at-the-expense-of-just-about-everyone-else is a world-wide phenomenon, New York City is in many ways the capital of greed. New York City is, in a manner of speaking, governed by a business executive who purchased his office by privatizing election financing and, in order to get a second line on the ballot, cutting
a deal with a racist named Lenora Fulani. (Bloomberg, running as a Republican in Demo-
cratic New York City, purchased the Independence Party line at the time owned by the neo-fascist Fulani, and has since rewarded her with taxpayers’money.) Under the real estate developer-friendly Bloomberg regime neighborhoods, with the Lower East Side of Manhattan being a conspicuous example, are being luxurized at the expense of working class people. While Bloomberg over-reached himself by trying to ram the Jets Stadium down the throats of the citizens, he got away with it in the South Bronx where two le-
gendary City parks and an iconic ballpark known as The House that Ruth Built and Stein- brenner Tore Down, are being sacrificed to give the Yankee owner a luxury box-heavy new Yankee Stadium. The Mayor, as conscious of his philanthropic image as is Angelina Jolie, deals with the affordable housing homelessness crisis housing with crumbs and by rewarding cash cow non-profits contracts to run drop-in center-shelters which do not lack for covered-up staff abuse of the homeless. And while the Mayor acknowledges that some City workers’ salaries are so inadequate that they must rely on Food Stamps, he and his pal City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (a key player in the Clinton machine here) ram through a huge salary increase for City Councilmembers (a part-time job) and high level mayoral aides.
To me among the most conspicuous “camels” who will at some point experience diffi-
culty facing the eye of the needle is Alex Rodriguez, the obscenely over-paid New York Yankee who gets paid about $27 million dollars a “year” (a “year” in baseball is about seven months) working perhaps (if the game goes into extra innings) 5 hours a day, with much of that time sitting in a dugout - perhaps spitting out sunflower seeds. With a salary like that the notoriously unreliable when it comes to clutch hitting Rodriguez should nev-
er commit an error and hit at least .500. And the problem is not only that Rodriguez makes that kind of money for playing a game but that he is a “greed is good” role model.
But not in heaven!
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