Open letter to the super-rich

Jeff vonKaenel

Dear super-rich people,

Things are going your way right now. Your taxes are being cut. Your corporate profits are way up. You have numerous political hacks willing—oh so willing—to do your bidding.

But beware. Your excesses are building a social movement against you.

Think of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as being like the melting glaciers that foreshadow climate change. You can pay political hacks to argue that global warming is not happening. But it is, and these melting glaciers are just the beginning.

Similarly, the fact that two political clowns, Trump and Ben Carson, are leading in the Republican presidential polls. And a socialist is now raising as much money as the frontrunner on the Democratic side. This should make you stay up at night, no matter which of your many houses you are sleeping in. While these candidates have their differences, they are all running against the system that has given you so much.

Money, as you know, can do a lot. But money cannot overcome every obstacle, especially in a country where we have elections. You can pour a lot of money into those elections. You can have presidential candidates competing to win your favor and your donations. But although money may buy you love, all of your money will not overcome the stink of your immoral practices of sticking it to the American people.

You’d like some examples?

For example, allowing drug companies to jack up the cost of life-saving drugs. Recently, Turing Pharmaceuticals bought Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug used to treat parasitic infections. They raised the price from $13.50 a tablet to $750. The drug didn’t suddenly cost more to produce. No, the drug companies just wanted to make more money—and the patients would just have to pay the price. People have to go to prison for shoplifting a few items at a convenience store, but charging $750 for a $13.50 medicine is free enterprise at its best?

For example, giving hedge fund managers a tax loophole so they are taxed at the lower 20 percent capital-gains rate, instead of the 39 percent tax rate that would have applied. These are the same hedge fund managers who made a fortune while creating an economical meltdown for the rest of us.

And, for example, constantly reducing taxes on the rich. I would hope that you, the super-rich, would be embarrassed about how little you are paying for a system that has clearly benefited you so much. But no. The latest Bush proposes cutting your taxes even more. But cutting your taxes will once again lead to higher government deficits. Then we will need to borrow money from you, the super-rich. And then you can lend us money, maybe even the same money you saved in taxes, which we will then pay back to you with interest.

Your excesses go on and on. But the American people are catching on. We’re seeing the reflection of their disgust with you in the front-running candidates for president. We’d better watch out. The political reaction to your excesses could leave us with a leader who would actually make things even worse, for you, but more importantly, for all of us.

Imagine: Donald Trump.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.