Standing up against wealth-shaming
America, we have a bullying epidemic. No, not the school bullying issues that get constant attention from Hollywood, the White House and the media. No, not the “fat-shaming” and “body-shaming” outbreaks on Facebook. The problem is wealth-shaming. Class-shaming. Success-shaming.
The State of the Job Creator is under siege.
Last week, a prominent self-made tech mogul dared to diagnose the problem publicly. His passionate letter to The Wall Street Journal decried the “progressive war on the American 1 percent.” He called on the left to stop demonizing “the rich,” and he condemned the Occupy movement’s “rising tide of hatred.”
The mini-manifesto was newsworthy because this truth-teller is not a GOP politician or conservative activist or Fox News personality.As he points out, he lives in the “epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco.” No matter. The mob is shooting the messenger anyway. But maybe, just maybe, his critical message in defense of our nation’s achievers will transcend, inspire, embolden and prevail.
The letter-writer is Tom Perkins, a Silicon Valley pioneer with an MIT degree in electrical engineering and computer science and a Harvard MBA. He started out at the bottom at Hewlett-Packard, founded his own separate laser company on the side and then teamed up with fellow entrepreneur Eugene Kleiner to establish one of the nation’s oldest and most important venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.
A hands-on dynamo, Perkins immersed himself in the science and technology of the companies in his portfolio. He even accompanied them on sales calls. He poured his heart and soul into the business of business. Perkins achieved great wealth for himself, his partners and his clients — and the world is a better place for it. Kleiner Perkins’ groundbreaking investment in Genentech planted the seeds of the biotech revolution. An MIT profile notes that in its first three decades, the firm “made more than 475 investments, generating $90 billion in revenue and creating 275,000 jobs” and “funded 167 companies that later went public, including Amazon, AOL, Genentech, Google and Netscape.”
Because he dared to compare the seething resentment of modern progressives to Kristallnacht and Nazi Germany, the grievance industry attacked Perkins and dismissed his message. His former colleagues at the venture capital firm he founded threw him under the bus. Left-wing punk journalists immediately branded him “nuts” and a “rich idiot.”
Please note: Not one of those sanctimonious grievance-mongers had anything to say about the Molotov cocktail-fueled riots and fires set by the Occupy mobs at banks, car dealerships and restaurants in Oakland that provoked Perkins’ comparison in the first place.
While he regrets invoking Kristallnacht specifically, Perkins unequivocally refused to back down from his message defending the “creative 1 percent.” He reiterated his fundamental point in a TV interview on Monday: “Anytime the majority starts to demonize a minority, no matter what it is, it’s wrong. And dangerous. And no good ever comes from it.”
Perkins also chastised those who bemoan “income inequality,” including his erstwhile “friends” Al Gore, Jerry Brown and Barack Obama: “The 1 percent are not causing the inequality. They are the job creators. … I think Kleiner Perkins itself over the years has created pretty close to a million jobs, and we’re still doing it. It’s absurd to demonize the rich for being rich and for doing what the rich do, which is get richer by creating opportunity for others.”
Amen, amen and amen. Perkins barely scratched the surface of the War on Wealth that has spread under the Obama regime. Anti-capitalism saboteurs have organized wealth-shaming protests at corporate CEOs’ private homes in New York and in private neighborhoods in Connecticut. Hypocrite wealth-basher and former paid Enron adviser Paul Krugman at The New York Times whipped up hatred against the “plutocrats” in solidarity with the Occupy mob. New York state lawmakers received threatening mail saying it was “time to kill the wealthy” if they didn’t renew the state’s tax surcharge on millionaires.
“If you don’t, I’m going to pay a visit with my carbine to one of those tech companies you are so proud of and shoot every spoiled Ivy League (expletive) I can find,” the death threat read. In Perkins’ own backyard, Bay Area celebrity rapper Boots Riley infamously penned “5 Million Ways To Kill a CEO” (“Toss a dollar in the river, and when he jump in/If you find he can swim, put lead boots on him and do it again.”) before making cameo appearances at vandal-infested Occupy Oakland marches over the past few years.
But the most dangerous threats to the nation’s job creators don’t come from Oakland rappers or social justice guerillas or San Francisco neighbors griping about tech workers’ private buses and big homes. The deadliest threats come from the men in power in Washington who stoke bottomless hatred against “millionaires and billionaires” through class-bashing rhetoric and entrepreneur-crushing policies — while they pocket the hard-earned money of the achievers trying to buy immunity. It’s high time to shame the wealth-shamers and their cowed enablers. Silence is complicity.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010).