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A little hypocrisy on wealth

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By John Barnhart


    Rick Howell reminded me, last week, at how inconsistent liberal political hacks are when it comes to rich people. His column suggests that Mitt Romney’s wealth is obscene — that the term “obscene wealth” comes to mind when one contemplates what Mr. Howell calls Romney’s “vast wealth.”
    Romney is certainly very rich. His net worth is estimated at between $190 million and $250 million. If he wins in November, he would be one of the four richest men ever elected president. I would suggest, however, the reason Mr. Howell thinks Romney’s wealth is obscene is because Romney is a Republican. I don’t think I’ve ever read a column in which Mr. Howell rails against a rich liberal, and there are lots of them.
    Take George Soros, for example. Forbes lists him as the 22nd richest person in the world, the world’s richest hedge-fund manager, and number seven on its list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with a net worth estimated at $20 billion. That’s billion, not million. Romeny is small time compared to Soros.
    Soros made his wealth in currency speculation. Back in 1992 he made $1 billion in profits on a British currency crisis that the British treasury estimates cost it £3.4 billion. That’s more than $5.2 billion!
    Some believe that Soros actually works to precipitate currency crises that he profits from. Economist Paul Krugman is critical of Soros’ effect on financial markets. “[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi” a Wikipedia article quotes Krugman as saying.
    Soros is a big contributor to left-wing organizations, including MoveOn.org and the ACLU. He’s a huge donor to left-wing political causes, donating nearly $24 million to organizations trying to defeat Bush the Younger back in 2004. So, I guess Mr. Howell doesn’t think his wealth is obscene.
    Then, there’s Warren Buffet. Buffet is even richer than Soros. With $44 billion, he’s the third richest man in the world. He’s also a real sweetheart. A Wikipedia article states that Buffett disowned his son Peter’s adopted daughter, Nicole, in 2006 after she participated in the Jamie Johnson documentary, “The One Percent.” “The One Percent” is a 2006 documentary about the growing wealth gap between America’s wealthy elite compared to the overall citizenry. Buffet wrote her a letter in which he stated, “I have not emotionally or legally adopted you as a grandchild, nor have the rest of my family adopted you as a niece or a cousin.”
    But, he’s OK in Mr. Howell’s book. Buffet is a big supporter of Barack Obama, as he was back in 2008.
    Then, there’s Al Gore. Gore is worth about $100 million, much less than Romney. But he could get a lot richer if he and his fellow global warming alarmists are able to instill a sufficient level of panic in the rest of us. The Telegraph, a British newspaper, noted in a Nov. 3, 2009, article that Gore stood to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire” if his “green” investments pay off.
    “Few people have been as vocal about the urgency of global warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and consumes energy as Mr Gore. And few have put as much money behind their advocacy and are as well positioned to profit from this green transformation, if and when it comes,” the article concludes.
    All of this would mean higher energy costs for the rest of us. Think about the impact this would have on the guy, on the bottom of the economic totem pole, who is already struggling to heat and cool the single-wide he lives in.
    Now, that’s obscene!