Opinion piece of the day: Paul Campos on the whining one percenters

Over at Salon.com, Paul Campos has published a nice piece about our increasingly whiny, out-of-touch plutocrats. Among other recent episodes, he mentions the case of the Texas rich kid who beat the rap with the instantly infamous “affluenza” defense, as well as Tony Perkins, the shrieking hysteric who made those “Kristallnacht” remarks.

I particularly liked this point that Campos makes:

The real affluenza is the failure of the rich to appreciate that their special privileges – such as the privilege of operating under what is, from a practical perspective, a substantially different justice system than everyone else – must come at a price.

That price is paid in the form of the growing contempt of their fellow citizens, a contempt that grows in proportion to the ever-increasing gap in America between the children of privilege and everyone else.

Do read the whole thing.

I’ll close by noting that in the first paragraph, Campos quotes a line from the song “Officer Krupke” from West Side Story. Someone should really rewrite the lyrics to be sung by today’s self-pitying billionaires, and post the video to Funny or Die. Since Campos mentioned the song, I’m going to exploit the opportunity to post it, so here it is. The lyrics, as you’re probably aware, are by Stephen Sondheim. Enjoy!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee