If you have to mention Nazi Germany while making an argument, you pretty much lost the argument and any legitimacy to make that argument. A prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist billionaire, Tom Perkins, wrote a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal that compared the one percent rich in the United States to the 30,000 Jews who sent to the concentration camps on Kristallnacht in November 1938, which marked the beginning of the Holocaust that killed six million Jews.
I haven’t heard of any reports that San Francisco progressives are rounding up the one percent rich, destroying their businesses and marching them off to the concentration camps. The broken windows of luxury car dealerships during the Occupy Wall Street protests in Oakland a few years ago and the recent protests against commuter buses for tech workers in San Francisco doesn’t make a “war on the rich” conspiracy.
The one percent rich are feeling insecure because they have been too successful in manipulating public policy and the economy to their advantage over the last 25 years. With a new Gilded Age within reach, the pendulum is starting to swing back towards the 99% who are still suffering from the Great Recession. A FDR-style revival in greatness could undermine everything that the one percent rich has done.
As the trader in the opening scene of “The Wolf of Wall Street” said (paraphrasing): “Wall Street doesn’t make anything, doesn’t build anything, and moves money from the client’s pocket into their own.”
Rather than growing the economic pie for society at large to benefit, the one percent rich are slicing-and-dicing an ever smaller economic pie for their benefit. Americans don’t begrudge someone for being rich as long as the playing field isn’t tilted against them. Unfortunately, economic inequality has become a serious problem. You’re either very poor (i.e., the takers) or very rich (i.e., the makers) in this economy. If you’re in the shrinking middle class that is paying the most taxes to fund the welfare benefits for the very poor and the tax cuts for very rich, you’re seriously screwed and need to move up or down.
Making comparisons to Nazi Germany mocks the horrors of the Holocaust. With 1,000 Holocaust survivors dying each month, the few people who lived through the horrors will no longer be around to remind the world of what happened in the 1940’s. Israel is considering a bill to outlaw the usage of the word “Nazi” outside of educational references to prevent further mockery of the Holocaust. (Although I abhor censorship in any form as a writer, the word “Nazi” might be a special usage case that requires considerable care.) Most people today regard the Holocaust as ancient history, but the civil war in Syria has proven that Nazi-style death camps are still here in the 21st century.