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Did someone say patrimonial capitalism? The White House hosts a meeting of teenage billionaire "philanthropists" by Kathleen Geier | Political Animal | The Washington Monthly

Thomas Piketty, call your office!

Today's New York Times -- in the Fashion and Style section, but of course! -- reports on a White House meeting of "100 young philanthropists and heirs to billionaire family fortunes." Some of the people quoted in the article are as young as 19, and they are from family names you'll recognize: Marriott, Pritzker, Rockefeller, etc.

(via Krugman)

This article is also quoting Digby:


It's very nice that many of these young idealistic aristocrats want to do good deeds. But this is really nothing more than good old fashioned noblesse oblige which basically leaves the betterment of man to the whims of rich people. One of the big improvements democracy was supposed to bring was that the people themselves decided how to organize society rather than depending on the kindness of aristocrats. Even great philanthropists of the gilded age like Andrew Carnegie believed in a huge confiscatory tax of great estates in order that the government of the people might make the decisions rather than the heirs of great fortunes.

But we're going the wrong way again. So if you have a good idea or want to help people or just need a job --- figure out which of the wealthy young scions of the new aristocracy might be amenable to your needs and figure out a way to kiss their asses in exactly the way they like them kissed. That's the major skill we're all going to need in our so-called  "meritocracy".

And let's not forget Jerome's "Why I don't do charity".

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Apr 27th, 2014 at 11:20:36 AM EST
The most obvious fix is to rack inheritance taxes through the roof. I understand why rightwing political parties are resistant to this - they are owned by the plutocrats - But I don't get, at all, why this is not universally supported by the rank and file both right and left.

The left should obviously support it on social justice grounds.. But the rightwing arguments for it are if anything stronger.

Inherited wealth, after all is not earned. Noone has a "natural law" right to inherit - because every conceivable inheritance law (Primo, ultimo, agnatic, matrilinial, nephew...) has been practiced widely.

Making the state the heir is thus not a violation of any core principles of etics or law - it is a tax that isn't theft. And the lower it is, the higher all other taxes must be, which is clearly unethical as all hell.

by Thomas on Tue Apr 29th, 2014 at 03:43:16 AM EST
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