There is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and making a lot of money, but there is something wrong with being completely arrogant and smug about it. Today, many among the elite are savagely mocking the poor, and that is a huge mistake. You shouldn't kick people when they are down.
There are tens of millions of Americans that are deeply frustrated about losing their homes, losing their jobs or barely being able to survive in this economy. These frustrations have been one of the primary reasons for the rise of the Tea Party movement and the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement. What these movements have in common is that people in both movements are sick and tired of the status quo and they want something to be done about our broken system.
There are huge numbers of families out there right now that have just about reached the end of their ropes. Instead of showing compassion, many of the ultra-wealthy have decided that it is funny to mock the poor and those that are suffering.
So how are all of these protesters going to respond to the "let them eat cake" attitude of the Wall Street elite? The protesters are being told that nothing that they can do will change anything and that they should be grateful for what Wall Street and the ultra-wealthy have done for them. They are essentially being told that they should just shut up and go home. So will we see these protest movements become discouraged and die down, or will the patronizing attitudes of so many among the elite just inflame them even further?
Right now, there really are two different "Americas". In one America, the stock market is surging, corporate profits are soaring and BMW is operating factories at 110% of capacity just to keep up with demand.
In the other America, unemployment is rampant, millions of families are being kicked out of their homes and more than 45 million Americans are on food stamps.
There is more economic frustration in this country today than there has been at any other time since the Great Depression. We are watching pressure build to very dangerous levels.
It is important to note that I certainly do not agree at all with the solutions being put forward by the organizers of the Occupy Wall Street protests. As I have written about previously, collectivism is one of our biggest problems, and more collectivism is not going to solve anything.
But it is definitely understandable that people are incredibly upset about this economy and that they want to protest. Most Americans realize that something is fundamentally wrong with our economic system.
Unfortunately, most of them do not understand how we have gotten to this point or what it is going to take to fix things. That is one of the reasons why I write about economic issues so much. We desperately need to educate America.
But what is undeniable is that there is a growing rage in this country that protest movements such as the Occupy Wall Street are giving a voice to.
Our system is badly broken. The people out there protesting in the streets may not understand much, but they do understand that something needs to change.
The Wall Street elite should be taking these protests as a signal that they need to get their house in order. The status quo just is not going to cut it. But instead of taking leadership and calling for significant change, many among the elite are openly mocking the protesters.
The incredible arrogance displayed by so many on Wall Street and by so many in Washington D.C. is absolutely appalling.
The following are 10 examples of how the elite are openly mocking the poor in America today....
#1 According to an article in The New York Times, poor families that lost their homes to foreclosure were openly mocked during a Halloween party thrown by the law firm of Steven J. Baum. This particular law firm represents many of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States....
The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Photos from this Halloween party are posted on The New York Times website. To say that they are appalling would be a huge understatement. The following is how The New York Times described one of the photos....
In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.
#2 To many on Wall Street, the OWS protests are one big joke. In fact, Wall Street executives have been spotted sipping champagne while watching the Occupy Wall Street protests from their balconies.
#3 In response to the Occupy Chicago protests, signs were put up in the windows of the building where the Chicago Board of Trade is located that spelled out this sentence: "We Are The 1%".
#4 Many columnists for major financial publications have had no fear of mocking the Occupy Wall Street protesters. For example, Doug Hirschhorn recently wrote the following for Forbes....
As your Occupation of Wall Street continues, you may want to grasp a few things. First, it is not going to change anything in the short term and probably not much in the long-term either.
I hate to be the bearer of that news, but money makes the world go round and “Wall Street” is all about money. Second, the top traders, banks and hedge funds are still going to out earn and generate substantial profits from speculating on the disconnects in the prices of things generated from all the moving parts in the global economy and it has nothing to do with why you lost your house or job or can’t find a job. If anything the successful ones are helping you, your pensions funds, retirement savings and the economy in general. If Wall Street stops. The world stops. Period.
#5 Instead of attempting a balanced report on the Occupy Wall Street protests, Erin Burnett of CNN openly made fun of them during a recent broadcast. After being a stalwart on CNBC for so many years, Burnett has very close ties to Wall Street and apparently she does not like anyone criticizing her friends. You can see video of Burnett mocking the Occupy Wall Street movement right here.
#6 Barack Obama continues to mock the poor by telling them to cut back on vacations and little luxuries like going out to eat while at the same time sending his own family out on incredibly expensive vacations. The following is one example I noted in an article earlier this year....
Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: "If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation." A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado.
Later on in that same article I mentioned another outrageously expensive vacation taken by the Obamas that was paid for by our taxes....
Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.
So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?
It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000.
During a time when so many millions of American families are deeply, deeply suffering it is truly appalling that the residents of the White House would be so insensitive.
#7 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain recently declared that anyone that is unemployed or poor in America should only blame themselves....
"Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself."
#8 Sometimes our politicians are so insensitive that it is almost hard to believe. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News while she was still the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi stated that we need poor people to have less children because it costs the government so much money to take care of them....
PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?
PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.
#9 Warren Buffett has some interesting observations on class warfare. He is one of the few wealthy Americans that is willing to say what everyone else is thinking. Back in 2006, Buffett was quoted as saying the following in an article in The New York Times....
“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
Buffett was not taking pride in the fact that the elite have won, but there are many others among the elite that are very proud of what they have done and they are not afraid to look down on the poor.
The level of income inequality that we have in the United States today is absolutely amazing. According to datafrom a few years ago, the average household income for the top 0.01% of all Americans was $27,342,212. According to that same data, for the bottom 90% of all Americans the average household income was just $31,244.
#10 Every single day, our "representatives" in Washington D.C. are living the high life at our expense. It is amazing that out of the entire population of the United States, we continue to overwhelming elect rich people to Congress. As I noted in a recent article, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and the median wealth of a U.S. Senator in 2009 was 2.38 million dollars.
Without a doubt, the wealthy rule over us all and they intend to maintain control and perpetuate the system which has rewarded them so handsomely.
When necessary, they are not afraid to call in the police to bust some skulls. Sadly, we are already seeing some brutally violent confrontations between law enforcement authorities and Occupy Wall Street protesters in many areas of the country. The other day, I wrote about the horrific violence that took place in Oakland recently....
Unfortunately, the authorities are not just going to sit by and watch these protests happen. In fact, they are already clamping down hard in many areas of the nation. For example, police in Oakland recently used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the Occupy protest in that city. When police opened fire, the streets of Oakland literally became a war zone for a few minutes. You can see shocking videos of the violence here, here and here.
Power and wealth have become incredibly concentrated in the United States today. As one scientific studydemonstrated recently, the elite control almost the entire global economy. In fact, the University of Zurich study discovered that there are just 147 gigantic corporations at the core of it all.
It is not a good thing that such a very small group of people completely dominates all the rest of us.
Once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard, making great contributions to society and becoming very wealthy.
However, what we have today is a fundamentally broken system that funnels most of the wealth and most of the power into the hands of the ultra-wealthy and the gigantic corporations that they own.
It would be great if the American people could come together and work to make some positive changes to our system.
But right now, it appears that strife, discord and hatred are going to continue to rapidly grow in this country. We have become a very divided nation and we are watching anger and frustration grow to very dangerous levels.
All of this is a recipe for mass chaos. Our country is marching toward a date with disaster and right now we show no signs of changing course.
Please pray for America. We definitely need it.
About The Author - Michael Snyder is the founder and editor of The Economic Collapse
The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.
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