The Great Recession expanded wealth inequality worse than ever before, but instead of shaming billionaires into sharing -- the wealthiest Americans loudly complained about the injustice they face.
Billionaire investor Stephen Schwarzman infamously lashed out in 2010 at the Obama administration's 2010 proposal to close the carried interest loophole, comparing the proposed tax increase to Hitler's invasion of Poland -- setting the stage for complaints to come, reported the Washington Post.
"Schwarzman has many a compatriot," wrote Helaine Olen. "Elite gatherings such as the Milken Institute’s Global Conference and the annual World Economic Forum in Davos have become all but encounter sessions for misunderstood multimillionaires and billionaires to agree with each other in the face of calls that they pay their fair share."
Olen pointed to the sorry spectacle of private equity mogul Leon Cooperman literally crying on CNBC as he complained about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed wealth tax on fortunes in excess of $50 million, and the wife of Purdue Pharma heir Mortimer Sackler whined that the opioid fueled by their company had ruined her family's reputation.
"The Wall Street Journal got a hold of an email where she complained what she calls the 'situation' is 'destroying' the family’s reputation, and 'dooms' her children," Olen wrote.
It's no surprise, then, that a decade marked by whining billionaires ends with just such a man in the White House.
"No one is more practiced at the art of billionaire self-pity than our president, Donald Trump," Olen wrote. "He’s the victim of a Democratic 'witch hunt.' Impeachment? 'More due process was accorded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.' Yet he signed into law a tax plan so favorable to billionaires in general, and real-estate interests in particular, it might as well have been tailored precisely for him."