Earlier this month, Conard explained to the New York Times’ Adam Davidson that vast sums of money held by a small elite benefits all Americans because these elites use only a small fraction of their wealth to support themselves. The rest, he said, finance investment and innovation that keep the economy running. The idea is that the financiers of Microsoft or Eli Lilly and Company, for example, created for more benefit for the world than if that money had gone to taxes. The wealthy are, therefore, entitled to their money. After all, the rich always know best — even if they have invested in JP Morgan.
Davidson is quick to eviscerate Conard’s argument, explaining, “If a Wall Street trader or a corporate chief executive is filthy rich, Conard says that the merciless process of economic selection has assured that they have somehow benefited society.” This sense of entitlement and superiority — Conard spits that anyone who does not seek fabulous wealth as a financier is an “art-history major” — is what is at the root of the exodus of wealthy (former) tax payers.
If only they could see one step back from the benefits that corporations bring to the world — how corporations got there in the first place. As Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren reminds us, “nobody in this country got rich on his own,” because government intervention, paid for by tax dollars, creates a business- and innovation-friendly environment in the first place.
Photo Credit: sandstein
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