Swiss Cheese

Far be it for us to criticize those who create great wealth, but we’re probably not alone in our disgust at the preening and pontificating by billionaires who think they should tell us how to live.

We’re talking, of course, about the annual confab at Davos, Switzerland, 5,120 feet up in the Swiss Alps, presumably high enough to give the 40 heads of state and 2,500 billionaires, businessmen, CEOs, rock stars, assorted royals and politicians at least a metaphorical view of the whole world.

Are you sure we shouldn’t add an “r” in that city name and just call it Davros (as in the creator of the Daleks in “Doctor Who”). 🙂

Davos was once a semi-serious event dedicated to business executives gathering to talk about common problems and how to solve them.

But it’s turned into a preachy, weeklong exercise in excess, during which the same people who flew 1,700 private jets to attend — yes, someone counted them — lecture the rest of us about the importance of cutting back on our carbon footprints and other things.

“Decision makers meeting in Davos must focus on ways to reduce climate risk while building more efficient, cleaner and lower-carbon economies,” Mexico’s former President Felipe Calderon told USA Today.

“The purpose,” said former vice president and climate-change entrepreneur Al Gore, standing with hip-hop star Pharrell Williams, “is to have a billion voices with one message, to demand climate action now.”

You mean billion dollar voices! 🙂 The little guy who’s going to be screwed by you doesn’t matter. AS billion here a billion there… 🙂

OK, so how about you flying commercial, for a start?

Well, they are too important for that. After all, they are not peasants.

This year’s ration of ridiculousness and hypocrisy is so prominent, even the media have noticed.

It’s pretty obvious that people who can pay $40,000 to attend Davos and fork over $43 for a hot dog, $47 for a burger or $55 for a Caesar salad — all actual prices at this year’s World Economic Forum — would seem to be in a poor position to lecture the rest of us.

Only $47 for a burger, gee, I would have thought with all the high end ingredients I’m sure they had that’s a bargain. 🙂

A London restaurant claims to have created the world’s most expensive burger, embellished with gold leaf, lobster and caviar. The wagyu beef and venison dish, priced at £1,100 (Google).

Now that’s a burger for an elitist!

Even so, Bloomberg highlights remarks by subprime mortgage billionaire Jeffrey Greene that “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

Greene, according to Bloomberg, “flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week.” How’s that for “less things”? His remarks are more than a little ironic, given one of the main themes of Davos this year: “Income inequality,” or getting the rich to pay their “fair share.”

So these billionaires will share their wealth right? 🙂

Then there’s that pesky gender gap, another major topic — at a conference where women make up just 17% of all attendees.

Increasingly, it seems, some think their wealth entitles them to run our lives instead of their businesses.

Well, if their Liberals as well as billionaires…god help us all!

Here’s some modest advice for the CEOs at Davos: Have fun and, by all means, learn something. But, please, get off your moral soapboxes. You’ll do far more for the economy and benefit far more people by building strong, innovative businesses with growing profits than by attending a thousand Swiss soirees. (IBD)

But that doesn’t “feel” as good and we know that for Liberals it’s all about “feelings”.


Michael Ramirez Cartoon
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