Tom Perkins Regrets Holocaust Comments, Says "Let The Rich Do What The Rich Do… Get Richer"

Following his WSJ letter comparing the “progressive war on the 1% in America” to fascist Nazi Germany persecution of the Jews and “just as Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930, the descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism in American thinking is unthinkable now“, Tom Perkins appeared on Bloomberg TV to explain himself. His first step was to apologize for the analogy but not the message that “the creative 1% is being threatened.” The interview with Emily Chang is fascinating and wends it way from Rolexs, yachts, and underwater airplanes to trailer parks; and from disconnects with reality to implying Krugman’s craziness. However, Perkins sums his message up thus:”the solution is less interference, lower taxes and let the rich do what the rich do – that is get richer… and they will bring everyone else along with them when the system is working.” It appears the ‘system’ needs a different final solution.


Clip 1

CHANG: So more than 90 Jews were killed in Kristallnacht, 30,000 people put in concentration camps. What were you going for (inaudible) analogy?

PERKINS: The Jews were only 1 percent of the German population. Most Germans had never met a Jew, and yet Hitler was able to demonize the Jews and Kristallnacht was one of the earlier manifestations, but there had been others before it. And then of course we know about the evil of the Holocaust. I guess my point was that when you start to use hatred against a minority, it can get out of control. I think that was my thought. And now that as the messenger I’ve been thoroughly killed by everybody, at least read the message.

CHANG: You mentioned the word hatred. Do you feel threatened?

PERKINS: I don’t feel personally threatened, but I think that a very important part of American, namely the creative 1 percent, are threatened.

[Jerry Brown]tells me the number-one problem in America is inequality, and that’s probably and possibly true. And I think President Obama’s going to make that point tomorrow night. But the 1 percent are not causing the inequality. They are the job creators. Silicon Valley is – I think Kleiner Perkins itself over the years has created pretty close to a million jobs and we’re still doing it. It’s absurd to demonize the rich for being rich and for doing what the rich do, which is get richer by creating opportunity for others.

CHANG: How do you feel threatened?

PERKINS: I said I didn’t feel personally threatened. I feel however that as a class I think we are beginning to engage in class warfare. I think the rich as a class are threatened through higher taxes, higher regulation and so forth. And so that is my message.

I think the 99 percent is struggling and really struggling to get along in America. We have ever-increasing regulation, higher costs I think caused by more government than we need. Small businesses – it’s difficult to form and prosper in a small business these days. It’s difficult to hire. And that in my view is what is hurting and causing – hurting the 99 percent and causing the inequality.

So I think that the solution is less interference, lower taxes. Let the rich do what the rich do, which is get richer. But along the way, they bring everybody else with them when the system is working.

PERKINS: I regret the use of that word. It was a terrible misjudgment. I don’t regret the message at all. In fact —


CHANG: What is the message?

PERKINS: The message is any time the majority starts to demonize a minority, no matter what it is, it’s wrong and dangerous. And no good ever comes from it.

Clip 2

As far as Perkins is concerned Kleiner Perkins disavowal of his Op-Ed is them “throwing him under the bus” and missing the warning that any time a majority

Perkins goes on to note that his partner Kleiner fled Austria and Hitler and would have agreed with him…

CHANG: All right. Well let’s talk a little bit about the solution here. You mentioned your friend Eugene Kleiner, the late Eugene Kleiner, fled Austria, fled Hitler. Do you think he would have agreed with you?

PERKINS: Yes, I think he would have because I – I was not talking about the Nazis. I was talking about the persecution of a minority by the majority. And Kleiner always distrusted those sorts of trends in American politics.

CHANG: You have conservatives out there though like Marc Andreessen calling you leading A-hole in the state.

PERKINS: Yes. It wasn’t a very nice word. And considering that he doesn’t know me and I don’t know him, I don’t think he’s entitled to his opinion. If he knew me, perhaps. Paul Krugman called me crazy in today’s New York Times.


CHANG: Paul Krugman also pointed out that rising income inequality can have very negative economic and financial consequences in the sense that if there is – if it leaves us more economically vulnerable and the people who are rich can’t pay for stuff, then everyone suffers.

PERKINS: Well, just what you said is such a contradiction of intermixed ideas. He won the Nobel prize in economics. I can’t argue economics with him, but to demonize the job creators is crazy and to demonize the rich who spend and buy things and stimulate the economy is crazy. I heard on the news hour with – gosh, name escapes me. Anyway, New York Times, and they got into a discussion about the idiocy of Rolex watches and why does any man need a Rolex watch and it’s a symbol of – of terrible values and it’s – et cetera. Well, I think that’s a little silly. This isn’t a Rolex {it’s a Richard Mille}. I could buy a six pack of Rolexes for this, but so what?

CHANG: You were called the king of Silicon Valley I believe at one point. How would you describe yourself?

PERKINS: I certainly have enough arrogance to be royal, but I – I’m an old man. I look back upon my career with great happiness. I think I’ve accomplished a lot. If I had to do it again, I don’t know what I’d change. And I’m at peace with myself. And the fact that everybody now hates me is part of the game. And I’m sorry about that, but that isn’t what I meant to do.


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