JOEL KOTKIN: The Three Faces Of Populism. “The real target of Davos populists is not themselves, of course. Instead, the effort is to further burden Obama’s version of Josef Stalin’s harsh treatment of Kulaks, the early Soviet Union’s successful but hardly ultrarich peasant class. Megan McArdle aptly describes Obama’s proposal – abandoned this past week – to tax college savings accounts to pay for subsidized college as ‘a plan to redistribute money from the upper middle class to the lower middle class.’ . . . Not surprisingly, after six years of minimal income gains and numerous tax increases, the middle class – Americans making roughly $60,000 to $90,000 – remains far less sympathetic to Obama’s policies than either the rich or the poor. Yet none of this likely affects the Davos attendees, like billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene, who said, to fight climate change, Americans need to ‘live a smaller existence.’ This, coming from a man with five houses, including a Beverly Hills estate listed at $195 million, does not constitute an ideal populist program.”
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