Billionaire to billionaire, Neil Bluhm told Sam Zell how it feels: The super wealthy are often the targets of opprobrium these days, and they don’t like it.

“You know, I’m embarrassed if somebody says I’m a billionaire,” Bluhm told Zell at a conference in Chicago. “It’s like I’m a criminal.”

Bluhm may be overstating it, but not by a lot. In politics today, there’s often a default assumption that people with nine zeros to their names are somehow the source of our political, fiscal or social ills. Progressives in Congress have encouraged the notion that billionaires cause harm and new taxes should eat into their fortunes.

Illinois has gotten a taste of the power billionaires can exert on a state’s politics.

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David Greising

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative...