Plutocratic Populists and the People Who Love Them

William Randolph Heast, an early Plutocratic Populist

My new Globe and Mail column is about plutocratic populists. You can read it here.

An excerpt:

The Tea Party movement, which staged an impressive gathering in Washington last week, has often been celebrated as an outpouring of spontaneous populist rage, with hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans taking to the streets to protest against government meddling in the economy.

In a widely noted recent article in The New Yorker, reporter Jane Mayer calls this populist storyline into question by bringing to light the largely hidden role of Dave and Charles Koch, two brothers whose personal fortune, rooted in the oil industry and manufacturing, puts them in the same league as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

One thought on “Plutocratic Populists and the People Who Love Them

  1. It was an interesting guest column, but I think you under-estimate two things:

    1) The Kochtopus is a whole lot of fun and manages to achieve, according to another study done years ago, a lot more with a whole lot less cash. I don’t know how the Koch’s feel about reason running coverage of the John Stagliano trial, Radley Balko’s civil liberties coverage, or Jacob Sullum’s thoughts and experimentation with drugs, but it does make for lively reading. With fellow travelers like Penn Jillette, Peter Bagge, and the aforementioned John Stagliano, and guests like Christopher “Jesus” Ferguson” and Aurora Snow popping by the office, well, if their wrong, I don’t want to be right:)

    2) I’m not worried, and I suspect most people aren’t worried, about Nancy Pelosi, George Soros, and the Kochs losing their fortune. Even with a marginal tax rate of 90%, I suspect all these people would be living a lot better than the rest of us, assuming they weren’t bending or shaping the rules to their own benefit.

    However, I think wealth is relative, and while figures like $1,000,000 or higher can sound like a lot, if you’ve ever had the chance to look at the finances of an individual or business in some detail, those seven digits looks less and less impressive, and you don’t have to earn anywhere near those figures to realize that.

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