Krugman has a column today on why the rich feel entitled to feed at government’s trough of bailouts and demand lower tax rates in their hedge fund earnings. At the same time as the wealth of the top .1 percent has soared, they are increasingly psychologically sensitive and sore.
“So why the anger? Why the whining? And bear in mind that claims that the wealthy are being persecuted aren’t just coming from a few loudmouths. They’ve been all over the op-ed pages and were, in fact, a central theme of the Romney campaign last year.”
“Well, I have a theory. When you have that much money, what is it you’re trying to buy by making even more? You already have the multiple big houses, the servants, the private jet. What you really want now is adulation; you want the world to bow before your success. And so the thought that people in the media, in Congress and even in the White House are saying critical things about people like you drives you wild.”
Adam Smith nailed it:
“It is not ease or pleasure, but always honour, of one kind or another, though frequently an honour very ill understood, that the ambitious man really pursues” (The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1982, 65, emphasis added).