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NORFOLK--Every now and then, I ponder how many bubbles there are in a bar of soap.
Tom Perkins set me to thinking about it recently. He's a venture capitalist noted for backing firms like Google and Amazon.
He's also a venture oligarchist.
Last month, Perkins wrote a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal to "call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'"
No kidding. He did.
Perkins proceeded to list several fronts in this war, notably the Occupy Wall Street movement and the mean things that his local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, says about his ex-wife, novelist Danielle Steel. (Called her "a snob," apparently.)
"This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking," he wrote. "Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?"
As you might imagine, the letter didn't go over well with people who failed to see any similarity between the Holocaust and the suffering endured by Perkins for being the ex-husband of an alleged snob. He later apologized for the Kristallnacht reference.
The day before Valentine's Day, though, Perkins popped up at a forum in San Francisco called "The War on the One Percent" with more mash notes for the masses.
Asked by a reporter from Fortune magazine to provide a "60-second idea to change the world," he offered this: "The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes. But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you should get a million votes."
Perkins later said he was trying to be outrageous and didn't really mean it.
But he added that--by his calculations--50 percent of registered voters don't pay taxes and "we got ourselves into a mess."
Let's set aside the fact that much of "the Tom Perkins system"--the part about millionaires getting a million votes--is pretty much what we have on Capitol Hill today, thanks to corporate lobbyists and deep-pocket PACs.
Let's set aside the canard that 50 percent of registered voters pay no taxes. (None? Not even a sales tax?)