Today's Chicago Sun-Times reports that Sam Zell has donated $4 million to a PAC that supports the agenda of Governor Bruce Rauner. Columnist Mark Brown sees this donation as part of a movement that he describes this way: "Rich people, no longer satisfied with the privileges of being rich, are going for complete control." This isn't simply a matter of politics. Much of Governor Rauner's agenda targets union employees. Brown quotes Zell as saying, "The 1 percent work harder." That may be true, but in a time when most American face flat wages and poverty is growing, it's hard to see how the hard working 1% are helping the rest of us. Working people need to decide if they support making people like Zell even richer or if they want to have a society where children from the middle class and the working class will have opportunities to be successful. Rich people have always had disproportionate control. Are we moving to a point where their voice is the only one that matters?
Former owner of the Chicago Tribune Sam Zell claims that the 1% work harder than the rest of us. That must be why Tribune Media entered bankruptcy under Zell’s hard-working leadership. Once again we have a very rich person feeling sorry for himself while putting down the people whose hard work have made him rich. Zell claims that "Lots of people have come from nowhere and become part of the 1 percent.” Economic mobility in America is worse than it has been in the last 100 years. No one except the super rich and their lackeys believe in the pull yourself up by your bootstraps lie anymore. I don’t feel sorry for same Zell. He’s working very hard at feeling sorry for himself.
Writing in Think Progress, Pat Garafalo reports that billionaire Sam Zell blamed growing poverty and income inequality on social programs that are “deincentivizing” the poor. Zell said that rather than blame the 1%, we should focus on programs that give people something for nothing.
Maybe Mr. Zell should look at bankruptcy laws that have let his Tribune Corporation get out of liabilities while paying bonuses to executives. The same laws are written to trap working people and the poor in debt to banks for credit card balances and student loans. Why is there one standard for billionaire-owned corporations and another for working people? Isn’t that welfare for the wealthy?
Working people and the middle class should stop buying Zell’s newspapers, listening to his radio stations, and watching his TV stations. He doesn’t deserve our support.