MSNBC political analyst and Time editor-at-large Anand Giridharadas seems to be setting himself up as the radical left's fiercest critic of "plutocrat" Michael Bloomberg. On Monday's Morning Joe, he upset New York Times columnist Bret Stephens as he insisted rich people are "complicit" in capitalism unless they bring it crashing down. "Plutes are gonna plute," he said, attempting a new socialist bumper sticker.
On Joy Reid's MSNBC show AM Joy on Saturday, Giridharadas made the inflammatory accusation that Bloomberg was running as a form of "tax evasion," i.e., to prevent Elizabeth Warren from implementing her wealth tax. Giridharadas continued the assault on the successful today, claiming that "manic hyper-capitalism" is "destroying the American Dream."
Then came the squabble on Morning Joe, between radical left and center left.
Bret Stephens said "with all due respect," this is why the Democrats might lose in 2020. "There’s a world of difference between someone like Mike Bloomberg -- who came from modest circumstances, made his money honestly and has given away a tremendous amount, not just financially but also in terms of his own public service -- and someone like Donald Trump who inherited tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from his father. This is America.
When Stephens said "this is America" and people like Bloomberg who develop good ideas can be richly rewarded, a thin-skinned Giridharadas shot back, "you don't need to tell me 'this is America.' I'm from America." Giridharadas also gave Stephens the old, "I let you finish," and offered to give him a copy of his new book, since to Giridharadas it seemed Stephens hadn't sufficiently absorbed its wisdom.
Here's the transcript. Note that the first portion of the clip comes from Saturday's AM Joy.
7:42 am ET
JOY REID [from 11/23 edition of AM Joy]: Is this [Bloomberg's candidacy] all about Elizabeth Warren?
ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: We are living through the great plute freak-out of 2019. The plutocrats are going nuts . . . Yes, you have Mike Bloomberg attempting to maybe run for president as a form of tax evasion, right? He's so concerned that Warren as well as Sanders are in that top two of the top four, that there's this, you know, I guess I got to run for president to avoid 2, or 3, or 6% tax on my wealth.
. . .
GIRIDHARADAS [from 11/25 edition of Morning Joe]: In a time when more and more Americans, including some on the right, are fed up of the consequences of manic hyper-capitalism destroying the American Dream, threatening the planet, destroying opportunity structures in their towns and communities around this country, people not being paid properly, people not having the kinds of public services they need to live a decent life, the idea that a plutocrat is the solution to the problems of 30 or 40 years of plutocracy is sort of laughable.
. . .
All of these people that you see in public life at very top, whether it’s in philanthropy, whether it's now running for president, tend to rep their own interests and run as plutocrats protecting plutocracy. Michael Bloomberg has come out against wealth taxes, he's saying it’s going to make America like Venezuela. This is the kind of -- plutes are gonna plute, is what I always say . . . and they’re just running to protect their own class.
BRET STEPHENS: Can I just say, with all due respect what I’m listening to is why the Democrats run the risk of losing in 2020. There’s a world of difference between someone like Mike Bloomberg, who came from modest circumstances, made his money honestly and has given away a tremendous amount, not just financially but also in terms of his own public service, and someone like Donald Trump who inherited tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from his father.
This is America. This is a land that believes in free enterprise. It's a land that believes that if you have a great idea, you can make it and you will be magnificently rewarded.
. . .
This whole line: "plutes are gonna plute." That's just the same sort of categorization of people I think that Donald Trump engages in. There's a world of difference not only between a Bloomberg and a Trump, but also among these people. Like what their ideas are. Don’t you want a Democrat who represents middle class interests rather than just lik, soak the rich, they’re all bad? They’re against us, and have a kind of a spirit of class warfare in the Democratic party?
GIRIDHARADAS: Couple things. First of all, you don’t need to tell me this is America, I’m from America. So I understand that there’s different values at stake in America and we can all claim different values. The values I'm talking about are also American. When you have someone like Mike Bloomberg, he’s different than
. . .
The argument I'm making in this book—that I'm happy to send you a copy because you sound pre-, not post-.
STEPHENS: I have a copy.
GIRIDHARADAS: Is that even you have given a bunch away, you have benefited from a system over the last 30, 40 years in this country, if you look at the data on the capture of the 1%, the .1%, it's simply too much . . . Unless you are showing, as a very wealthy person, that you are breaking down that system, you are in a sense complicit in that system. Michael Bloomberg --
STEPHENS: But there are --
GIRIDHARADAS: I let you finish! Michael Bloomberg has shown zero appetite to fundamentally alter that system.