As the Occupy Wall Street protests gain traction, we're seeing a vicious backlash from the nation's "plutocrats" and the politicians and pundits who back them up, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. Eric Cantor has decried the "mobs," which CNBC says are "aligned with Lenin." Why such a reaction to gatherings that have yet to be as extreme as the Tea Party ones we saw in the summer of 2009? "The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is."
These are people whose "financial schemes" drove us toward a crisis that's still hammering "tens of millions of their fellow citizens." All this and they've still gotten off scot-free. After government bailouts, it's still "heads they win, tails taxpayers lose," Krugman writes. "This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny—and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny," and not just from the mouths of the protesters, but from anyone reasonable (Elizabeth Warren got raked over the coals for this, notes Krugman). Herman Cain called the protesters "un-American," but "the real extremists here are America’s oligarchs," who attempt to silence anyone who cries foul over the sources of their wealth. (Read more Paul Krugman stories.)