I’m glad Paul Krugman took a moment Friday to link Oliver Stone’s 1987 movie Wall Street to Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy, but I’m wondering why the columnist pulled his punches rather than go for the KO. The record shows that the profoundly false Romney made a career of pillage and plunder while heading Bain Capital; that he became rich, as I stated in my Nov. 14 post, “at the expense of people who worked for companies that were bought and sold by his private equity firm.”
… According to the prediction market Intrade, there’s a 45 percent chance that a real-life Gordon Gekko will be the next Republican presidential nominee…
I am not, of course, the first person to notice the similarity between Mitt Romney’s business career and the fictional exploits of Oliver Stone’s antihero. In fact, the labor-backed group Americans United for Change is using “Romney-Gekko” as the basis for an ad campaign…
… Mr. Romney made his fortune in a business that is, on balance, about job destruction rather than job creation. And because job destruction hurts workers even as it increases profits and the incomes of top executives, leveraged buyout firms have contributed to the combination of stagnant wages and soaring incomes at the top that has characterized America since 1980…
But in the final paragraphs of the column, Krugman goes soft, as if adhering to some civility vow he made when he started writing for the ultra-polite but often ultra-hypocritical New York Times:
So what do we learn from this story? Not that Mitt Romney the businessman was a villain. Contrary to conservative claims, liberals aren’t out to demonize or punish the rich. But they do object to the attempts of the right to do the opposite, to canonize the wealthy and exempt them from the sacrifices everyone else is expected to make because of the wonderful things they supposedly do for the rest of us.
The truth is that what’s good for the 1 percent, or even better the 0.1 percent, isn’t necessarily good for the rest of America — and Mr. Romney’s career illustrates that point perfectly. There’s no need, and no reason, to hate Mr. Romney and others like him. We do, however, need to get such people paying more in taxes — and we shouldn’t let myths about “job creators” get in the way.
First of all, Romney is a villain, and it follows from everything Krugman wrote in the first half of his column that the rich — i.e., the rich who made their fortunes by exploiting those of modest means — should be sanctioned for restructuring companies so that the assets of thousands of working people would flow to a handful of executives. The luxury Romney lives in was made possible by schemes that impoverished people who were merely trying to make an honest living, and that wrong should be righted.
It’s not enough to simply make Romney and other would-be Gekkos pay their fair share of taxes. The laws should be changed to the point where these sociopaths aren’t in a position to profit by destroying jobs — and lives.