“It’s a war,” Schwarzman said of the struggle with the administration over increasing taxes on private-equity firms. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
I was in an off-the-record meeting with top Wall Street folks where similar comparisons to Nazi Germany were tossed around. It really was a meme on Wall Street that the singling out of the wealthy for criticism — and, more to the point, taxation — had a direct historical precedent in Nazi Germany, where the Jews were first demonized, then taxed, and then, well, you know. The sense was that the rich in general, and Wall Street in particular, weren’t just being criticized, but that they were being turned into a dangerously despised minority.
Robert Benmosche, if you want World War II comparisons for the pushback against the elites, how about the Normandy landings? With you in the role of the occupying Germans?
Meanwhile, back on this side of the Atlantic, up pops David Blunkett to remind me why I don’t vote Labour
Drawing a parallel with Germany before the rise of the Nazis, he suggested a loose moral climate had fed the paranoia and fear that had allowed Adolf Hitler to flourish.
“In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Berlin came as near as dammit to Sodom and Gomorrah. There was a disintegration of what you might call any kind of social order.
“People fed on that – they fed people’s fears of it. They encouraged their paranoia. They developed hate about people who had differences, who were minorities.
I’m going to propose a corrollary to Godwin’s Law. “Anyone who makes totally inappropriate comparisons with Nazi Germany is closer to the Nazis than their opponents“