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If you ever wonder what's fueling America's staggering inequality, ponder Facebook's acquisition of the mobile messaging company WhatsApp .
According to news reports today, Facebook has agreed to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion.
That's the highest price paid for a startup in history. It's $3 billion more than Facebook raised when it was first listed, and more than twice what Microsoft paid for Skype.
(To be precise, $12 billion of the $19 billion will be in the form of shares in Facebook, $4 billion will be in cash, and $3 billion in restricted stock to WhatsApp staff, which will vest in four years.)
Given that gargantuan amount, you might think WhatsApp is a big company. You'd be wrong. It has 55 employees, including its two young founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton.
The first sentence shows a stunning level of disconnect. This isn't surprising from Reich, of course. He was always one of the more ideologically rooted of the Clintonistas.
The story of WhatsApp and its sale to Facebook is yet another tale of the wondrous opportunities being provided for Americans in the Digital Age.
We don't even need to go in depth with the obvious example of Mark Zuckerberg becoming a billionaire before he was old enough to get a price break from a car rental company. Heck, we can even ignore the food stamps-to-riches story of one of WhatsApp's founders. The story of its employees is heartwarming enough. The ones who joined the company early are now set to earn $160 million.
So what does Robert Reich see when he surveys this story about a young American billionaire minting two new billionaires and 55 or so new millionaires from an American company in one day?
This is illustrative of the progressive view of almost anything having to do with money- they only see the result and are blind to the process(es) leading to it.
Which is why they are always trying to force their will upon results.
Reich spends time lamenting the landscape and new rules of "the emerging economy," but precious little thought is given to adaptation. None is given to the celebration of possibilities. Instead, it's all just one long set-up for the tired and predictable progressive solution to everything (emphasis mine):
Unless we figure out how to bring all of them back into line -- or spread the gains more widely
The world is changing at a dizzying pace now. The laughably misnamed liberals and progressives in this country are firmly entrenched in an early 20th Century view of industrial America when discussing economics and labor relations. It is such an antiquated look at things that one could almost say their thinking is black and white.
Which then leads to another disussion entirely...