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Joel Kotkin | Obama’s rich cronies will profit handsomely in second term





Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are far from “the workers of the world,” but closer to modern-day   robber barons. Through their own ingenuity, access to capital and often   oligopolistic hold on lucrative markets, they have enjoyed one of the   greatest accumulations of wealth in recent economic history, even amidst   generally declining earnings, rising poverty and inequality among their   fellow Americans.

Last year the tech oligarchs emerged as major political players. Microsoft, Google and their employees were the largest private-sector donors to the president. More important still, tech workers also provided the president and his party with a unique set of digital tools that helped identify potential supporters among traditionally   uninformed and disinterested voters, particularly among the young.

An even greater beneficiary of the second term will be the   administrative class, who by their nature live largely outside the   market system. This group, which I call the new clerisy, is based   largely in academia and the federal bureaucracy, whose numbers and   distinct privileges have grown throughout the past half century.

Even in tough times, high-level academics enjoy tenure and have been   largely spared from job cuts. Between late 2007 and mid-2009, the number   of U.S. federal workers earning more than $150,000 more than doubled,   even as the economy fell into a deep recession. Even as the private   sector, and state government employment has fallen, the ranks of federal nomenklatura have swelled so much that Washington, D.C., has replaced New York as the wealthiest region in the country.

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