Monday 17 November 2003 - Filed under Essays
A new poll of the rich was conducted. There is an article about it at the Star Tribune. It brings up something I have been thinking about: we should be able to expect more from the rich and they constantly disappoint us. Example, the article says “Three of every eight wealthy people don’t feel an obligation to give back to their communities financially.” How do they think they got rich? Could they have gotten rich in other places as easily? The answer is no: they got rich here because we have a society and a government that creates opportunity. We have a talented work force, a large economy and an environment that allows people to succeed to disgusting degrees. Why is it that people with plenty become more selfish than people with little? Almost half of rich people feel no obligation to give back? That is ludicrious.
Which brings up a quote I heard: luxury dulls the character. Many (not all) of the rich people in this country could not cut warm butter with their character.
The article also states:
“By far, the top concern of affluent investors is sustaining and increasing their wealth,” according to an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Community Foundations of America and HNW Inc., a financial services company.
So the richer you are the more preoccupied with wealth you become. Far from being the freedom that so many think it is, wealth becomes a drug like crack cocaine. These people are drug addicts. This is clear in many ways: the Enron’s, the mutual fund scam, the CEO pay issue. The common factor here is that the richer you are the more important it is that you get richer. How fucking dumb is that. Where does this bottomless greed come from?
But what really makes me laugh is that also high on the worries of the rich is what a bunch of losers their children are. The article states: “Nevertheless, six out of 10 say they worry that wealth will spoil their children.” So the message to their children is, accumulate wealth, do not share it, but be fearful of what morons your kids will be as a result. Nice.
Lest I be unclear, wealth is not bad. I am happy that I live in a country that allows us to create wealth for ourselves. I am not advocating class warfare and my remarks are not based on envy of the rich. I could be rich if I wanted. I see how people do it and I’m not willing. If you want to pursue dollars above all else, go for it.
My point, besides the fact that rich people are drug addicts and their drug is money, is that we as a nation have to have some rational on how we can continue this great nation moving forward. Benjamin Franklin, one of our brightest founding fathers, was concerned that the welfare of the nation would be jeopardized if wealth were allowed to grow unchecked. Bill Gates, Sr.’s book “Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes” sums this up pretty good. We have a duty as a nation to make sure that the extreme wealth of the few does not unbalance the promises of our great Constitution. As one reviewer of the book said “With the estate tax repeal proposed by the Bush administration, we might be facing the future that Teddy Roosevelt feared-where huge fortunes amassed and untaxed would evolve into a dangerous and permanent aristocracy.”
If the rich do not recognize how their fortune was made possible by the country as a whole, the country as a whole will need to remind them. This is why progressive taxation is good. This is why the estate tax is good. Rich people are lucky. There is no person that would rather be poor and pay no taxes than be rich and pay a lot of taxes. This is where I expect more from the rich: quit bitching about taxes, quit bitching about “class warfare”, quit being petty, pampered snobs and be the great people you could be. Be the great people you should be. Be an American first.
2003-11-17 » lolife