Tom Perkins Is Back And Facing "Economic Extinction"; Proposes "$1 = 1 Vote" Plan

Tyler Durden's picture

Tom Perkins is back. Still apologetic for his Kristallnacht analogy, the 82-year-old 1-percenter's-1-percenter, still wearing the $350,000 Richard Mille watch discussed his views on the failure of social, fiscal, and monetary policy at a talk entitled "The War On The 1%" ironically in San Francisco - and increasingly divided city. Perkins explained that the top 1% is carrying the government - "Government is a giant beast that has to be fed, and it's fed with taxes... and taxes will go up and up and up." Simply put, he notes on the entitlement society and implict buying of votes, "we got ourselves into this mess," and his biggest fear is higher taxes until there is no 1% - "It's an economic extinction, not a physical one." Perkins proposes a "$1, 1 vote" future noting that 50% of registered voters pay no taxes.


Perkins on the demonization of the rich...


Why a watch costs $350k?!!


Via CNN,

Perkins pegged the problem of the American taxation system on failures in social, fiscal, and monetary policy.


The income gap has roots in the War on Poverty, Perkins said, which he wished "had not been such a fiasco." He blamed Lyndon B. Johnson's social programs for an increase in out-of-wedlock birthrates and low-income single parent households.


Fiscally, Perkins said that the government spends too much money on entitlement programs, an issue highlighted by the debt that the U.S. accrues as a result. "We're on a knife edge with this incredible debt that can't be paid back," Perkins said.


Finally, Perkins' views on monetary policy were that historically low interest rates have led to a boom in tech startups. Which, according to Perkins, is a bad thing. "An incredible amount of money has flowed into venture capital," he said. So, when students drop out of college and move to Silicon Valley to start companies or design software, "There's so much money [in Silicon Valley], that they can keep failing and failing, so they aren't learning in college anymore."


When challenged to say, in 60 seconds, how he would change the world, Perkins made a playfully controversial response.


He suggested that, in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson's voting land owners and Margaret Thatcher's idea of only allowing taxpayers to vote, "The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get the vote if you don't pay a dollar in taxes. But what I really think is it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars, you get a million votes. How's that?" To which the audience responded with laughter. Perkins later said offstage that what he meant was that, with 50% of registered U.S. voters not paying taxes, "we got ourselves into a mess."

Perkins said the fear is higher taxes until there is no 1%. "It's an economic extinction, not a physical one."

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TeamDepends's picture

Mistakes were made.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Newsflash #1 - That's just another form of "poll tax"

Newsflash #2 - Tom Perkins is apparently a high-functioning retard

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

Ah yes, the "If we 1%ers have to pay for everything, we should own it". How John Houseman of him. BTW, h/t to the guy who sold him a watch for $350k. Must of seen this boy coming a mile away. Rest assured Perkins ain't sleeping in the Mission District tonight.

Arius's picture

i am afraid Mr. Perkins is correct. 

This is not good news for us that inspire to make it to the 1% !  however, we will live another day.


i admire people like mr. Perkins who go into lion's den and states without fear what he thinks! kudos to him!

Ignatius's picture

"...who go into lion's den and states without fear what he thinks!"

I'm sure next time we'll be hearing about how he bravely walked into a Harlem barber shop asking "OK, which N***** farted?"

The guy's a douche.

tongue.stan's picture

If I wanted his opinion on anything I'd ask his butt buddies Boofett and Soreass.

But will the world be better off once these moldy child sacrificers finally expire? It's an open question.

James_Cole's picture

The guy is such a fucking moron. And when will this canard about 50% don't pay taxes go ahead and die?

Payroll taxes bitches, get it fucking straight. Fuckheads like Perkins use trusts so they don't have to pay taxes, meanwhile low wage workers get hit via payroll.

Notice a trend?

Anyway, doesn't matter how much money his watch costs or the stupid shit he says, guys face looks like a shitty old leather jacket and he's already got two feet into the grave. Good riddance! 

Confused's picture


don't tell anyone that the 1% don't really pay taxes. Or that the Government isn't really feeding off of them, but rather, the 1% is feeding off the Government (ie - middle class). will spoil the illusion. Perception is reality. 

FMR Bankster's picture

This is a public service announcement. I made the mistake of reading this a**holes book. (Perkins)Unless you find others writing about their boats, wine, and trips to Europe avoid it like the plague. Either this jerk just got lucky and rode somebody's good ideas to a big payday or he had a stroke and forgot what he did to make his fortune.

Ranger4564's picture

I say this honestly, with sincerity.

If you are someone who reads someone else's books to gain wisdom in how to become rich, you will never ever be a .1%. 

It's really not that difficult to make money or to become rich in the capitalist system. Take a look around, figure out what people are stupidly willing to continue to spend money on regularly, provide it to them, ruthlessly control entry by any competitors, jack up the price to the maximum the consumer is willing to pay, limit production to the minimum - adequate to maintain continued interest and receive benefits of economies of scale, and don't forget to be a complete douche self-obsessed egomaniac. 

Stop reading books and think for yourself. The manipulation being observed in the globe should be strong enough evidence that most literature is utterly misinformed / false / propaganda. Take your pick. If you instead develop reasoning / observational qualities within yourself, you won't have to wait for the instruction manual everytime you encounter new territory.

That's my advice. Go forth.

NaN's picture

Perkins still thinks "greed is good", and does not realize the correlary, "gluttony is good," always comes along for the ride.

Bunga Bunga's picture

Everyone pays taxes, they are just hidden in the price when you buy gas, food, pay rent, medical expenses, tuition, phone & utility bills .... The money from profits corporations make comes from the consumer, the rich do not create that money. It's true that a low income worker pays little or no income taxes, but he generates the profits for the investor.

BeanusCountus's picture

Great point. But would support a system where people who pay the bills get a little more say. Problem is keeping assholes like this guy from having ANY say no matter how many taxes they pay.

Perhaps something like a formula that gives credit to the total taxes you pay (sales, property, payroll. etc) as a percentage of your income?

yrbmegr's picture

What makes you think they don't get "a little more say"?  They actually get a LOT more say already.  Today.

N2OJoe's picture

@ Bunga Bunga

You are totally correct, but I do halfway agree with one thing this guy is saying.

Those that pay no income tax are generally sheeple.

Sheeple, by definition, dont use logic or really question anything of importance. If a sheeple sees his "tax bill" at the end of the year and its zero, he thinks he's not paying taxes and votes accordingly (Moar free shit!).

It is on that premise that I agree with that guy, that if you don't pay income tax, you should not have a vote.

That is, until or unless we can repeal the income tax all together, which would never happen so long as 50%+ of the populace believes they are "getting over" on the system with the tax they are not paying still in place.


Excursionist's picture

James - Half the population not paying income taxes (i.e., in addition to payroll taxes) leaves half the population with little or no skin in the game.  This is a problem.  Payroll taxes cover services everyone presumably uses at some point in their lives.  What a concept!  Actually paying for what you use!  The non-payroll income taxes cover everything else.

So if I were a crafty community organizer from Chicago, pandering to the 50% with little / no skin in the game, I'd do whatever I could to propagate two fantastic myths:

  1. Payroll taxes somehow give everyone equal standing;
  2. Wealthy people became wealthy because of inheritances or ill-gotten, immoral means.

My two cents' on this topic:  the guy who busted his ass in college, then busted his ass working in some thankless job working his way up the ladder has much greater standing in debates on the scope of government than the high school drop out toiling away at Wal-mart.  Nothing wrong or dishonorable about slaving away at Wal-mart. 

But, to borrow from Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, I'd rather the high school drop out just say "Thank you" to the college grad and get on his fuckin' way rather than voting more benefits for himself.

James_Cole's picture

James - Half the population not paying income taxes (i.e., in addition to payroll taxes) leaves half the population with little or no skin in the game.  This is a problem.  

I'd argue the elite group of executives who mostly keep their money in foreign accounts and use foreign labour for their products are the real people with no skin in the game. These same people exist in all countries and have a luxury of mobility the peons don't have, and consequently the 'skin' they have in the game is highly questionable. 

Payroll taxes cover services everyone presumably uses at some point in their lives.  What a concept!  Actually paying for what you use!  The non-payroll income taxes cover everything else.

You can piecemeal it out to whatever convenient end you want, point is they pay into the system. On a relative basis people with low wage jobs paying payroll taxes are likely paying substantially more. 

the guy who busted his ass in college, then busted his ass working in some thankless job working his way up the ladder has much greater standing in debates on the scope of government than the high school drop out toiling away at Wal-mart. 

Right, the great phantom hero individual I hear a lot about. In my experience the upper classes are more likely to be mediocre people who’ve been born with the right heritage, gone to the right schools and landed at the right jobs. And that’s fine. But equally fine the high school drop out at wal-mart. 1 person, 1 vote - the only way to run a democracy, no exceptions. I disagree with lots of people, doesn't mean I go looking for reasons why they shouldn't be able to vote. 

Dark Space's picture

Trusts have higher tax rates than individuals. The answer is more complex than what you describe.

TeamDepends's picture

"Government is a giant beast that has to be FED".  Get it?

Confused's picture

Oh, nothing to see here, just another guy casually wearing a $350K watch suggesting we change the way the country was designed to run.............


I feel bad for the 1%. Surely if this hatred of them keeps up, he will no longer be able to wear that thing in public. And what would the point of owning it be then? 

manofthenorth's picture

I will laugh when the "free shit army", he helped create by offshoring our productive capacity (so he could have a $350k watch), tears down the gate to his little bubble. Jerome is going to knock his lights out and OWN that bling.

dontknowcrapabouteconomy's picture

Thank you for your comment Mr. Perkins....errr...I mean Arius ;)

ArthurDaley-OldieTimeTrader's picture



When you do a deal if you don't leave enough profit in the deal for the next guy he goes bust.  You need the next guy in the chain in place or you'll go bust cos you've lost your trading partners. Sure we all want to be billionaires but lets get real. Someone has to wash the kitchen floors & they have to be happy enough too whilst washing the kitchen floor or eventually you get a revolution.

Ranger4564's picture

Psst... it's called a PYRAMID. Links in a chain are equal. What you're describing is clearly the supportive lower levels of the PYRAMID, with you on top.

limit_less's picture

I  think he is correct also. Let us try it for 10 years and see what happens. 

Having said that public sector pay is higher than private...

How about one dollar, one vote, government employess are not allowed to vote and only taxpayers.

Actually, it can be made simpler. Only non govermental shareholders and business owners can vote.

This is going to piss some people off but the beauty of capitalism is that what is good for the owner  is good for the customer which is good for the employee. It is a self reinforcing cycle.

Like I said, lets try it for 10 years.

JimS's picture

Actually, you are slightly wrong in "what is good for the onwer is good for the customer which is good for the employees" line. It should read "what is good for the customer, is good for the owner, which, in turn, is good for the employees". You are falling into a trap that many, many business owners fall: without customers, there is NO business. In truth, ALL business owners must realize that WITHOUT customers, there is NO business... period. The only time that is not true, is when there exists only the "Company Store" and all the "customers" are forced to buy all their goods from said "Company Store". This is what lies in the future when the Government picks which "businesses" are allowed to "prosper", and which must "fail". Think of what happened to Bear Sterns vs. JP Morgue. That is what we have now in our country: it's called "Croney Capitalism". No business is entitled to succeed. To steal a quote I've read on ZH, by someone: Capitalism without Bankruptcy, is like Christianity without Hell.

JimS's picture

Sorry. I gave you your only "down" arrow, for your failure to understand what "business" is really all about. Many fail that simple thought about business.

JimS's picture

Sorry, should be "crony", instead of "croney". 

Sean7k's picture

Hey, why don't we eliminate government and the central bank? Then we'll see these assholes whining in the alleys because they can't game the system. Then true competition and free markets reign- the exact combination dickheads like rockefeller feared the most.

Anyone stupid enough to think voting is anything more than a reality show is either in on the con or a moron.


yrbmegr's picture

It used to be that way back in Merrie Olde Englande.  Some people didn't like it.

Graph's picture

Ari's daily thought: "To wear that watch is meaning of life".

Thought Processor's picture

That watch is.......  fugly.


And um, the idea of paying for votes sounds like a great way to foster a real deep social divide which then turns inevitably to toward violent backlash.

I don't think he's thought this one through.

Or maybe the guy just has a deathwish.


Zero_Sum's picture

Richard Mille makes gaudy, overpriced man-jewelry for rich white guys with inferiority complexes and no taste. Or Russian oligarchs. Or hip-hop musicians. But I don't think he fits the last two categories.


Congrats to Perkins on spending $350k in order to verify his status as white trash.

Oldwood's picture

When democracy was about protecting people's individual rights, every person voting made sense. When government's primary role is supressing individual rights in order to redistribute wealth, democracy is simply a tool to aggregate power for theft. Until we can sort what our government's true constitutional role is, democracy is as pointless as the votes we cast.

mumbo_jumbo's picture

"in order to redistribute wealth"


95% if the income gains have gone to the 1% since 2008 so "voting" sure does redistribute wealth but it goes UP NOT DOWN.

Oldwood's picture

Redistribution always works up and down.Its those in the middle that are getting crushed and every time we are led to believe the "rich" will be paying the lion's share we somehow discover our income has declined, our jobs have disappeared and things are getting generally shittier for everyone in the middle. The poor are getting their Obamacare, two years of unemployment and lots of other goodies and the people at the very top are being subsidized by government. They can raise taxes to the moon and those wed to government largess just keep rolling it in. Look at the criminality of Goldman and JPM. They agree to pay billions in "fines" while allowing to continue with their scams, that WE ultimately pay for. Taxes should be cut to the bone for everyone.period. Taxes are but a tool they are using to redistribute wealth to the top by leading us to believe they are redistributing it to the "needy". They bribe the needy with baubles and bling while the ones at the very top, those making hundreds of millions if not billions, make the real killing. Its corruption. Its theft and its class warfare.

Indian_Goldsmith's picture

A $350,000 watch shows  the same time as a $1 watch. $1=1vote will mean dictatorship of the rich. Welcome to the real life hunger games. 

TruthInSunshine's picture

Here's an article EVERYONE should read and pass along having to do with the relationship between the price of certain things (such as watches & cars), the dynamics driving these prices (many dynamics have nothing to do with actual quality, but pure, unadulterated status driven by advertising & marketing to the brain dead) and the general topic of the difference between true quality & faux quality, overpriced, trash for imbeciles (which is a growth market).

It's an article written by a guy on an automotive blog, and is as good as ANYTHING you'll read - it starts out with a real life example as to why his Porsche Boxster S is an utter piece of garbage (whereas his Porsche 993 will be passed onto his son) and then gets into the wild, wacky world of watches:

And here's a LONG except, because it's THAT good:

"One of the more offensive designs of the Luxury Watchpocalypse was the Hublot “Big Bang”. The recipe for a Big Bang is simple: take the same movement one finds in a $500 Hamilton Jazzmaster watch, put it in a case which is a grotesque, oversized knock-off of Gerald Genta’s designs (full disclosure: your humble author owns a titanium Ingenieur, designed by Mr. Genta), then add a ten-dollar rubber strap to pay homage to Hublot’s “heritage” as a twenty-year-old maker of rubber-strap watches. The resulting watch is “worth” ten thousand dollars or more and is worn by such persons as Bernie Ecclestone (who did an advertisement after he was beaten and robbed of his Big Bang by some watch-ignorant thug who probably overlooked a JLC Master Compressor on the wrist of the guy next to Bernie) and Diego Maradona.

The Big Bang is the perfect “luxury watch”. Its worth consists solely of its price. It is cheap to make and contains cheap parts. Its manufacturer doesn’t even bother to fabricate a “heritage” the way the brand-disinternment crowd does. The only reason to wear a Big Bang is to advertise that one can afford to wear one. Plain and simple. They aren’t even well-made within the confines of their modest technical brief; at a very rainy Petit LeMans a few years ago, a good friend of mine endured the agony of watching his Big Bang Carbon’s face cloud up with internal condensation from an improperly-sealed case. Fifteen grand for a watch you can’t wear in the rain! Luckily it never rains in the Moscow EDM clubs or at David Guetta’s Ibiza DJ-in-residence gigs, or the Hublot would be entirely worthless. Hublot’s razor-sharp sense that a Big Bang is only valuable because of its sticker price finds its most sublime expression in the “Big Bang $3m”, a Big Bang which was loaded with enough diamonds and other junk to not-really-justify a price of three million dollars. Apparently someone was willing to buy it, which caused Hublot to release the “Big Bang $5m” this past year in search of the proverbial bigger fool.

Not everyone is so readily fooled, however, so Hublot and other watchmakers are busy CAD-creating their own “manufacture movements” to replace the generic ETA/Sellita/Valjoux movements found in their products. In this, the Cretaceous period of watch enthusiasm, the ability to engineer and manufacture one’s own mechanical watch movement is essential for “credibility”. Not that the genuine prestige watchmakers all used their own movements anyways, but there’s a certain amount of Cadillac-at-the-Nurburgring idiocy going on: Rolex makes their own movements, and they are a respected brand, so we need to have our own movements as well, even more complicated and feature-packed, and then we will be more respected than Rolex.

There’s just one little problem with that strategy. The proliferation of quick-bake “manufacture” movements is creating an entire generation of hugely expensive, amazingly complicated, completely “bespoke” watches which will be impossible to fix. Most watch repairmen can fix the ETA 2892 movement found in affordable Swiss watches, and most watch repairmen can fix a Rolex because they are numerous and well-documented, but can anybody fix a Grand Complication Tourbillon watch from some company which was in business for three years, selling watches at $150,000 a pop to Chinese entrepreneurs, before going bankrupt and disappearing?

Of course not. These watches, which can’t match a eleven-dollar Taliban graduation watch for accuracy, are also imperfectly ticking down the seconds to their own deaths. That’s good! They are even more perfect as luxury items than the original Hublot Big Bangs, because they are ephemeral. There’s something unpleasantly Protestant about a Rolex, you see. One might wear it for a lifetime, or buy it used, or simply purchase it affordably on the used market and enjoy it for a long time. It isn’t a perfect statement of immediate, current, present wealth. A Rolex or Omega might cost as much as a Ulysse Nardin, but how can one be sure that one just bought it for a large sum of cash on the barrelhead? It might be old, or refurbished! It isn’t a true luxury good unless it expires, the same way a trip to Spain expires, the same way a week in a five-star hotel expires. Only then is it completely unnecessary, totally flashy, utterly ephemeral."

Oldwood's picture

You know way too much about expensive must DIE!

TruthInSunshine's picture

That's not my writing. It's from the article I linked.

The article isn't really about watches, or cars, per se, but how the price of most consumer goods no longer bears any relationship to their quality, durability or reliability.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

Thanks for the post, Truth. As one of those who enjoy great writing like a perfect steak paired with a fine wine, Baruth's piece was a feast.

Tinky's picture

The other takeaway is that it is almost invariably smarter to buy used. Yes, you need to either know the watch (or car), or consult someone who does, but the relatively quality, value, and (believe it or not) potential for appreciation can only be identified with consistent and reasonable accuracy in the used (or vintage) markets.

NaN's picture

Don't tell anyone, but the inside of a Swatch and Rolex are made at the same factory.

artless's picture

"$1=1vote will mean dictatorship of the rich"

Shit man, good catch. I mean thank God we don't have THAT.

Glad all the voting everyone does keeps the rich from becoming dictators. That would really suck.



NoDebt's picture

Dollars are already buying votes.  By way of campaign contributions, lobbying, kickbacks and insider information.  

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

That incontinent old coot must be senile and retarded. He's lived under a "$1 = 1 vote" system his entire life.

James-Morrison's picture

Voting implies there is some choice between the two-headed beast we have in America.

Ranger4564's picture

Psst... a brief glimpse into the past reveals that the world has been run consistently by those willing to take the wealth from others, and those who take that wealth then condemn those whom they took it from as being stupid / lazy / parasites. It's a great deflection of the reflection. Anyway, think back 280+ years, founding fathers, REPUBLIC. Ring any bells? Any?

I'm for complete democracy by an informed and engaged citizenry, but history has been defined by oligarchy because of the ruthless socio-economic systems in place. When you can't produce surplus, you control distribution. Problem is, even while we can produce surplus, we're controlling distribution to preserve the old models of socio-economic injustice / deprivation.

The world knows not what the world is. So a lot of stupid shit happens because people don't have a fucking clue.

We had the systems and the behavioral responses to such conditions based on our productive capacity. What that means in the big picture is, there is no fixed human nature / behavioral response, those phenomena occur in direct relation to societies capacity of production. As production increases / decreases, human behavior changes. That's about all one can ever say about human nature. No, people are not all born the same, greed is not good, self-interest is not inherently good, etc etc etc. The magnitude of these components in a human character are all individual as well as always in flux, and in the course of a civilization, evolving based on productive capacity.

What that means is, as you increase production, you not only improve conditions for everyone, you also minimize greed / self-absorption / sociopathic behaviors and thoughts.

Don't worry about this Perkins douche bag, he's just emblematic of a point in time, think more about the timeline / branches of opportunities.