Tom Perkins and Other Efforts to Shut Down Discussion of Income Inequality

Perkins' Kristallnacht comparison seems to be based on two ideas. First, in recent weeks wealthy tech workers in San Francisco have faced both rhetorical attacks and physical harassment, notably on their way to work on special buses operated by Google, Apple and other technology companies. Workers being harassed by angry, if largely unarmed and entirely non-lethal groups of protesters and Jews being stuffed into cattle cars by a heavily armed state apparatus and being sent to death camps appears to be a nuance lost on Perkins. Equally significantly, while state sponsored anti-Semitic demonstrations preceded actual genocide under the Nazis, harassment by fellow citizens, without support or encouragement from the state, does not lead inexorably, and rarely at all, to genocide or anything like it. To ignore that crucial reality is Reducto ad Hitlerum that is both offensive and ignorant.

Improving the Health Care Bill After It Passes Will Not Be Easy

Nonetheless, it remains important to look at the bill itself rather than the debate and news stories surrounding its passage. The biggest reason health care reform is so urgent is because there are more than 40 million Americans without health care today. For these people, a serious injury or illness can result not just in not receiving timely and adequate health care, but in devastating financial burdens as well. People without health insurance, of course, always had the option of buying health insurance from a private insurance company, but telling somebody without a lot of money to spend thousands of dollars on health insurance was something of a "let them eat cake" solution to the problem. The uninsured tended to be unemployed or concentrated in low paying jobs and could scarcely afford this option.