Down With ‘Down With The Rich’
Max Abelson went to an election party full of young Republicans on Tuesday night, and wrote about it for Bloomberg. The party was thrown by “Concord 51, a political-action committee of young professionals” focused on “economy, energy and defense — no social issues at all.” Members work in “private equity, consulting, law, hedge funds and corporate strategy.”
There’s nothing explicitly mean in the article, and it’s not specifically making fun of anyone, but there are some details that are obviously meant to make us snicker: Guests drank vodka and grapefruit juice; wore “pink-striped Ralph Lauren shirts, Coach bags, Oliver Peoples glasses or black Gucci loafers”; and ate grass-fed burgers.
And I snickered, yeah. I read each detail and nodded my head—dumb conservative rich people who work in finance, OF COURSE they’re wearing black loafers, of COURSE they have Coach purses. RICH PEOPLE, UGH, TERRIBLE. THE WORST.
But here is a thing that is EASY TO FORGET: The people I know who have money are all good people! Even the bankers! Okay I don’t really know many (any?) bankers, but I do know Matt Levine a little bit. I interviewed him for this site about how does money and found him to be totally approachable, personable, funny, kind—a really great dude. AND HE USED TO WORK FOR GOLDMAN SACHS. So maybe I met the one good dude in all of banking? I don’t think so. I think there is probably more than one. I think there are probably a lot.
Matt explained something to me in our interview that I keep revisiting, and I started thinking about it a lot after I read Abelson’s piece: “When I made $20,000 a year teaching right after college I had no problem talking about money, but now if I were to say what I made as a banker—which was pretty typical for someone in my role and my seniority—it would probably enrage everyone.”
And he’s right, right? I mean, it’s a pretty easy joke—RICH PEOPLE LOL. We do it sometimes on this site! It’s easy! It feels good! And it’s easy to feel antagonistic toward the young people in Abelson’s article—and I would guess that he does, too—because they have money. And okay, yes, they are also Republicans and so on that fact alone I can guess that we fundamentally disagree on a lot of things. But no one says anything heinous about women or gay rights or poor people. No one gives me any reason to dislike them, except that they make more money than I do.
It’s easy to hate people with money. But it’s also really dangerous. I’m going to try to stop.