Yet another letter to the IHT

Letter to International Herald Tribune re Chrystia Freeland’s column, “Defending the Unloved 1%” (IHT 17 Feb).

To whom it may concern:

Concerning Chrystia Freeland’s column, “Defending the Unloved 1%” (IHT 17 Feb): I’ve noticed that post-Thatcher, even educated British youths no longer know what a “bounder” is. Likewise, we seemed to have lost the ability to describe “Wyoming multimillionaire” Foster Friess as a vulgar and stupid little man with money, an arriviste, one of the nouveau riche, a bounder, a rotter, a thug and a most pretentious cad.

Of course, as long ago as the Depression, people, after whom streets in their own communities were named but who were on relief, were rather, like Amanda in A Streetcar Named Desire, resentful, hurt and puzzled by their loss of status as compared with New Money. But this has nothing to do with the way in which these new fortunes of today were made, usually by privatizing formerly public goods, impoverishing skilled workers, and trashing small businesses.

Envy, as a deadly sin, is reciprocal to another, and that’s greed.

Friess claims that the “46%” don’t pay taxes: Freeland fails to mention that people might not pay income tax when unemployed but continue to pay sales tax in most states, and income tax in many states on unemployment compensation. Friess wants Gates to be paid for inventing (or rather buying and then improving) Windows: news flash: he was.

The German socialist Rosa Luxembourg said “socialism or barbarism”. She was right. Rome didn’t fall owing to barbarian invasions; it fell because the rich opted out of the social contract, as has this character Foster Friess.

Edward G. Nilges


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