What’s so awful about the 1%?

Occupy Wall Street has said it’s the 99% of ‘us’ against the 1% of ‘them.’ But many of ‘them’ started out like ‘us’ and have brought us great innovations that we embrace.

In the rhetoric of this war, we are fighting the 1% because they possess most of the nation’s wealth, bankroll their handpicked political candidates, control the banks and get million-dollar paychecks and billion-dollar bailouts; yet they don’t pay enough taxes or invest their wealth in creating American jobs. They’re the “millionaires and billionaires” President Obama has called out as needing to pony up more for progressive reforms of our healthcare, banking, tax and political systems. They are the enemy of “us” — the 99% who toil at low-wage jobs, hold underwater mortgages, face foreclosures, suffer recurrent and protracted job layoffs and plant closings, and yet pay our fair share of taxes.

But there’s a flaw in this strategy. The Occupy Wall Street movement envisions the 1% as a monolithic cadre of entrenched billionaires who have a firm and self-serving grip on all the levers of the economy. But a closer look at that elite group reveals how untrue that perspective is.

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KRAMER: Occupy envy

There is a deeply disturbing message coming out of the Occupy Wall Street movement – one of the few consistent messages thus far. It is the same message President Obama and his political allies have hammered home for much of his administration. Simply put, it boils down to this: We must punish success; we must organize envy.

Envy used to be condemned as one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It was something to be avoided and discouraged. Consider that at least two of the 10 Commandments explicitly discourage envy in one form or another. Now envy is held up as a virtue not only by the occupiers but by members of the left’s political class in a bold but transparent move to gain greater power over those with the means to challenge their authority.

Our response to them should be equally simple: Envy isn’t an American value.

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Will Israel Pull the Trigger and Send Iran the Ultimate Message?

Israel’s test on Wednesday of a new missile able to reach Iran, and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s forthcoming report that exposes the military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program have renewed speculation that Israel’s patience with Obama’s diplomatic efforts to counter Iran’s nuclear program has run out.

Against the backdrop of the crisis, the White House seeks to double down on diplomacy. “What we’re focused on is a diplomatic strategy which…increases the pressure on the Iranians, through financial pressure, through economic sanctions, through diplomatic isolation,” explained deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

The truth is that while the White House may believe it has still more time for robust diplomacy, but after years of threatening biting sanctions, neither Iran nor Israel believe Obama to be credible.

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