George Graham

Another Extortion Threat by the Filthy Rich

There are powerful people in America who would stop at nothing to get their own way. Some climbed the ladder of financial success by themselves; others became rich through the accident of birth or the luck of the draw. And they don’t plan to let anyone share in their good fortune if they can help it.

These spoiled brats are throwing a tantrum because President Obama suggested they pay a smidgin more in taxes to help their country climb out of the economic hole their greed pushed it into.

Some are warning employees they will be laid off if Barack Obama is re-elected. The threatening letters don’t put it that bluntly, of course. They talk about the supposed impact of higher taxes, and the need to cut back, etc., etc. But the threat is obvious.

A group of the most powerful plutocrats recently joined in a public statement decrying the national debt and its disastrous effects on the economy. You’ll notice that they didn’t issue their warning back when George W. Bush was frittering away the surplus Bill Clinton left him, putting two wars on the nation’s tab and slashing millionaires’ taxes without compensating for the revenue shortfall it would cause. No, they waited until a couple of weeks before the November 6 presidential election to issue their warning.

This morning, I read a CNBC story about a poll they conducted. And it offers more of the same. According to this poll, rich folks will cut back on their spending if President Obama is reelected. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Call it a threat or a promise. But a new poll shows that people earning at least $250,000 a year will spend more money if Mitt Romney wins the election.

I call it extortion. And I have to wonder about the motives behind that CNBC poll. The outfit is notoriously anti-Obama, and I suspect this is just another media stunt designed to scare voters.

According to reporter Robert Frank, “the poll showed that 37 percent would invest or save more with a Romney win, compared to 14 percent for an Obama win.”

That’s kind of what Mitt Romney has been hinting at. His job creation plan seems to rely more on a groundswell of enthusiasm from his rich pals than on any known economic principles. He proposes to cut taxes for the rich and supposes they will return the favor by loosening their purse strings.

Republicans have preached this nonsense for generations. And previous Republican administrations have put the theory into practice with disastrous effects. Rich people spend their money when they want or need to, not to help or hurt anybody else. And they spend it where they want to – and that’s not necessarily in America.

Romney’s money, for example, is notoriously well traveled. He has accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, as well as all those investments in China.

The fact is that cutting taxes for the wealthy only widens the gulf between the rich and the poor – a gulf that has undermined America’s economy. By impoverishing the middle class, these policies have diminished consumer spending with predictably negative results.

Unfortunately, these threats will probably have an impact. I can only hope that the majority of American workers will know what side their bread is buttered on (as my mother used to put it) and defy the rich bullies and their pathetic hacks in the media.

Click here for the CNBC story.

Click here for story on CEOs and the debt.

Click her for story about threatening letters.


About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for