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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Plutocrat claims to be victim of war on the rich

VIDEO: Jan. 27, 2014 (Bloomberg) -- Full episode of "Bloomberg West." Guests include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' Tom Perkins, who says he regrets some of the words he used in his letter to the Wall Street Journal complaining that the rich are victims of a war on the rich by liberals. (Source: Emily Chang, Bloomberg West TV show segment, "Tom Perkins Exclusive: B-West (1/27)" Jan. 27, 2014 (41 minutes) )

See related stories by Peter Delevett, "Tom Perkins apologizes for Holocaust comments, but it's hardly his first controversy," San Jose Mercury-News, posted Jan. 27, 2014 and , "A Plutocrat's Nazi Rant, Tom Perkin's odd defense of the rich distracts from the income equality debate we need," BusinessWeek, Feb. 3-9, 2014, p.10

UPDATE Feb. 23, 2014 see previous post Letter on plutocrats and theocrats are not victims of liberals or gay marriage (2/23/14)

Tom Perkins, who was hired by Hewlett-Packard in 1957 and who later served on the HP Board of Directors, recently said that he publicly "regretted" the words he had used in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, where he insinuated that the "ninety-nine percent" were waging a war against the wealthiest "one-percent" of Americans, instead of being grateful for the jobs created by the wealthy.

The negative reactions to Perkins (e.g. he offended Jews and he is being arrogant and out-of-touch) can't be fully summarized in a short blog post, but they are easy to find elsewhere. Also, easy to find is his background as a Silicon Valley Venture capitalist who has been involved in the start of many famous companies, which is discloses has made him nearly, but not quite a billionaire, unlike the many people he has helped to become billionaires by starting up their companies. In the TV interview, he brags about owning the penthouse in the most expensive condo skyscraper in San Francisco, above the floor of the condo owned by who he says is his good friend Charles Schwab, founder of the famous stock brokerage firm and bank.

Instead, I would like to add my observation that Tom Perkins, during his interview by Bloomberg TV, is claiming to be a victim of this "war on the rich.

As Perkins noted, he was an acolyte of HP founder Dave Packard, but Perkins seems to have forgotten the ethic of Dave Packard who was intolerant of managers who claimed to be victims of other peoples' bad behavior instead of taking personal responsibility.

Perkins new talking point is that the rich are the victims of the liberals, which is ironic because for years Republicans have been accusing Democrats of claiming to be victims for political gain. Coincidentally, a letters the editor in my local newspaper echoes similar sentiments to Tom Perkins, probably because this has become a popular meme in the right wing press. Sean S. Doyle, "Letter: Who among the 1 percent will give up wealth to help the rest?," posted January ?31, ?2014 and Jonathan A. Hayes, "Letter: Are conservatives the target of Obama's witch hunt?" February ?05, ?2014.