Pity the 1%! Billionaires Bemoan Criticism by ‘Imbeciles’


Written by Adele Stan, AFL-CIO

It’s tough these days being a member of the top 1 percent, what with all the complaints about the widening income gap and tax breaks for billionaires, not to mention the demands of the 99 percent for a little accountability. “It feels lonely…,” said John A. Allison IV, former CEO of BB&T, one of the nation’s top 10 banks, to Bloomberg News.

Or, as billionaire Tom Golisano, founder of Paychex Inc., so delicately put it, according to Bloomberg:

“If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share’ one more time, I’m going to vomit,” said Golisano, who turned 70 last month, celebrating the birthday with girlfriend Monica Seles, the former tennis star who won nine Grand Slam singles titles.

Even Jamie Dimond, the J.P. Morgan Chase CEO who took home a cool $23 million last year, and John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager, have publicly bemoaned their targeting by Occupy Wall Street and other detractors.

So what’s a lonely, nauseous billionaire to do? Organize!

Enter the so-called Job Creators Alliance (JCA), a sort of one-stop messaging operation, complete with a speakers bureau and media booking operation for those underappreciated fat cats. The group’s 17 featured business leaders say they aim to “shape the national agenda,” according to the JCA website.

Among the alliance’s founding members is Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, who still seems to need a little work on his messaging. Asked by Bloomberg reporter Max Abelson whether he he was concerned about becoming the target of protesters, Marcus replied:

Who gives a crap about some imbecile? Are you kidding me?

One of the burning issues on that agenda is the 1 percent’s disdain for a section of the Dodd-Frank bill that requires publicly-traded corporations to disclose the ratio between their CEO’s compensation and the median pay package given employees. BB&T’s Allison, who still sits on the bank’s board and is one of the 17 JCA-appointed spokes-billioniares for the 1 percent, complained to Bloomberg that the rule was “an attack on the very productive.”

This definition of productivity must include small business foreclosures and employee layoffs. BB&T, which took $3.1 billion in bailout funds (since repaid), announced this week that it was eliminating an unspecified number of positions, lending an Orwellian bent to his role in the purported Job Creators Alliance.

As we reported, excessive CEO pay is now seen as one of the key drivers of the housing bubble that led to the crashing of the economy in 2008. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted at a conference on the topic last week that the average CEO of the top 500 corporations listed by Standard & Poor’s now collects 343 times the amount in compensation as the median paycheck received by his or her workers.

Our scroll through the JCA website found several links to the billionaires Charles and David Koch, the anti-labor siblings who run Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held company in the United States. Bernie Marcus’ business partner, Ken Langone, attended at least two of the brothers’ secret retreats for wealthy political donors, according to reporting by ThinkProgress. Art Pope, one of the JCA 17, is vice chair of the Americans For Prosperity Foundation, which is chaired by David Koch. Pope also sits on the board of Americans For Prosperity, the foundation’s sibling organization.

Two JCA staff have Koch connections, as well. JCA President Jeanette Goodman and message team member Lee Habeeb previously worked for the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-wing, climate-change-denying think tank funded by the Kochs.

This post was originally published by the AFL-CIO.


Related Stories:

Romney Campaign Memo: Koch Brothers The ‘Financial Engine of the Tea Party’

Obama: It’s Not Class Warfare, It’s Math

Norquist Tells GOP That Raising Taxes On the Middle Class Doesn’t Count as a Tax Increase


Photo from Thinkstock


Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

Well said, Mark!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

The 1% are imbeciles!

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer6 years ago

What these idiots seem to forget or ignore is none of their businesses would be anywhere without the employee's hard work. The Wall St bankers need the tellers who do the daily business of taking the depositors' monies and interacting with them so they keep coming back, so that the Wall St bankers can gamble that money away, where would home depot be without the people who work the floors interacting with the customers and showing them how to do things, Golisano would just be another fat cat CPA if not for all the bookkeepers and accountants who do the bulk of the accounting work at Paychex and probably all the interacting with customers. For them to think they are that far above their workers is down right degrading all those hard workers...

A great republican President said it best in an address to Congress:
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights.” Abraham Lincoln In a December 3, 1861 speech before Congress.

Mark Stevenson
Mark S6 years ago

Awww, poor 1% !!! I also feel so sorry for the Lion that chases down and kills an antelope. That antelope had no business running from the lion. The antelope should have walked into a pride of lions and gave himself up for food!!!!

Yvonne Fast
Yvonne F6 years ago

It is fantastic, since when is being rich a handicap? They complain all the time over how hard they have worked and how they have struggled to get their wealth. And that they are entitled to keep their money for themselves because of that. If they had not have the support of the society, none of them would have been rich in the first place. And the worst of it is that the govwernments are treating them as if they were handicapped and give them all the aid. Absurd! The world-views and the values need to be drasticly changed in the world! Well written article! Thanks for sharing!

Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas6 years ago

Mike C. said:
the top 10% pays 75% of the incime tax, DUH

and they control 100% of the government. the government works for them, not us...DUH. if they paid fair equitable wages to their employees they would decrease their tax burden, supply side economics doesn't work because they are too damn selfish and greedy to let it trickle down.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 6 years ago

Dylan...All of your points are very succinct and absolutely true,especially regarding the justice system. Do jerks like Cheney and Bush get prosecuted for their war crimes or illegal torture? How about the ecodestruction and slave labour committed by big business that results in poverty, species eradication, famine, disease & death in third world (and eventually all countries)? Why does Rupert Murdoch not go to jail when Julian Assange has to fight extradition against trumped up charges when both were basically hackers? Why does the average Joe go to jail for rape when that dumb French dick (?Strauss-Kahn, can't remember his name) go free with a long history of similar assaults? How does dumb GW Bush get into Yale? Daddy's influence while good scholars can neither afford it or have the right connections? One set of rules for the rich, one for the poor. Nothing new under the sun, just varying degrees of pendulum swing when we poor peasants get pissed off enough to put a few heads on spikes.

Robert Rufa
Robert Rufa6 years ago

Join Imbeciles United in their boycott against Home Depot.

Frank Mugford
Frank Mugford6 years ago

Justice might be done and seen to be done when the first corporation is put to death for corporate murder/manslaughter and the heads of the likes of marcus and koch (how appropriate that name is!) are hoisted on pikes on capitol hill: just feed their bodies to the pigs.

Josephine T.
Josephine T6 years ago

Hey, Marc R.

Yeah, sometimes you do get rich. More often than not, though, you've either inherited it. And if you *did* get rich, it's because you have no compassion for your fellow man. I've been in the work force, working hard, for the past 33 years. I'm not rich yet. Why? Because I get paid a substandard wage and am generally used and abused by the employers and the 1%, who are taking their corporate welfare (yeah, that's where my taxes are going, there and a couple of wars which have gone on far too long and one of which shouldn't have been started in the first place), cutting staff, moving their processing base overseas, and bringing the goods back in with "Made in China" tags on them.

Capitalism, as practiced for the last CENTURY at least, is GREED, pure and simple. I've held that opinion far longer than Obama, an African-AMERICAN, has been president, and in fact, far longer than I even knew about Obama.

You're the one who has the wool pulled over his eyes.