Modern Nobility, Mitt Romney And King Louis XVIEvery time I hear Mitt Romney and other Republicans I can’t help but think of King Louis XVI. Here’s why.
King Louis XVI, under pressure from wealthy landowners deregulated price controls on flower. Landowners doubled the price of flower making bread, a staple food of French peasants, no longer accessible to a majority of the population. As the masses starved, the French economy worsened. Instead of reinstituting price controls on flower and asking nobles to contribute more (what today’s Republicans would call socialism), King Louis XVI looked to replenish the Royal coffers by raising taxes on already starving peasants (1780’s version of the Paul Rayn Plan). It was when the starving people protested “we want bread” that Marie Antoinette famously replied with “Let them eat cake”. Although it is almost certain Marie Antoinette never uttered the famous phrase, it nonetheless embodied the nobility’s indifference to the suffering and misery that was entirely created by their exploitation of the Kingdom’s subjects to support the nobles wildly decadent lifestyles. In 1789 France’s people had enough leading to the French Revolution and the beheadings of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793.
Fast forward 223 years to 2012 and today’s nobility, the supper wealthy upper-class, are utterly indifferent to the misery their Wall Street and Banking schemes created for commoners like us. While Wall Street and Bank deregulation by conservatives created the greatest economic depression in nearly 90 years, the wealthiest 1% reaped from their schemes what is believed to have been the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. Over the last 30 years, the top 1% increased their wealth by an astonishing 273% while middle-class earnings increased by little more than 1% a year. Like King Louis XVI, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's solution to the crisis they helped engineered is to further burden the working class by cutting assistance to the most vulnerable in society, poor children, the elderly, the disabled. If that wasn’t galling enough, they also ask us to believe that we need to sacrifice social security (Medicare & MedicAid) and even student loans to fund even lower taxes for the rich.
Today’s wealthy elite, unlike the French nobility, learned that in order to not find themselves dragged off before a cheering crowds to a beheading, the anger of the masses must be redirected away from the wealthy. Republicans accomplished this redirection of anger masterfully by pitting private employees against government employees and non-union workers against union workers. The Republicans also masterfully used not so subtle racism to leverage the uneasiness of white Americans increasingly finding themselves as the minority, to find support for cutting all forms of public assistance to people they portray as dark-skinned.
The Romney's sense of self-entitlement arises out of an ideology, that like nobility, believes that they posses qualities that make them the "job creators" or the "productive class" superior and entitled to much more than commoners like us. I hope my fellow Americans can see that although the powerful wealthy no longer sport the powdered wigs and fancy dress of centuries old nobility, just like the nobility of old, the profligacy of today's super rich is made possible by fleecing the rest of us and our labor. Despite their wealth and power, we have, at least for now, our vote - use it wisely.