Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Make the Rich Pay

I remember hearing this when I was at university. I thought it was a good idea at the time. I've always wanted someone to give me "money for nothing" like the song says.
Henry Ford said that he could distribute his wealth and all in America would be $1 richer.
The history of revolution, especially all those based on 're-distribution of wealth' has usually ended up with the one down guy being one up and then exploiting as he was exploited.  The Beattles song "We don't want a revolution" spoke to that realization.
Most people today are doing better than they were yesterday.  The fear mongering media gives the impression that it's doom and gloom but science has brought immense improvements in quality of water and food and life for the vast numbers of people.
Alot of us might want to go back to an earlier time with less people and more wilderness but then we're going to face the Malthus solutions of disease, poverty and war in a different sense.
Today there are endless critics but not that many 'better' solutions.  I don't know one politician is that much better than another.  I don't like that the bank swindles occurred or the corruption in society in general. I object to the government self serving when really needy people seem to go without.
I get upset when I find that a clubhouse for brain damaged people was shut down for lack of funding yet some minister got a 'perk'.
I think there's all manner of problems and can't criticize as much as the next.
Yet, the rich got rich by being smart. I think smart people are better than stupid people running things.
I was interested in reading how the Roschild's made their first fortune. First and foremost they were a family that worked together. Most often when I've heard 'make the rich pay' it's been some isolated individual who doesn't get along with others saying it or someone who has blown their own luck.  The Roschild's trusted each others as brothers and stayed together as a family. Further they were religious and worked with their community. Again Most of the people I've heard saying "make the rich pay" don't get along with their community, their religion, and criticize rather than build.
I don't want to "make the rich pay" but I want a more level playing field.  I liked the idea that the NDP once had that said that the separation between rich and poor should only be a factor of 10 or 100.  As humans we aren't motivated that often without some comparison and competition.  There always seems to be a need for leaders. The question for me is whether there should be CEO's getting millions a year when there are people making on $400 a year.  That seems to be a bit steep.  But then I've never had millions a year income.
There's a different thing with tyranny.  There are people who are actually very rich and got that way by great ideas and hard work. These are clearly a different lot than those who are bullies and got rich by being particularly nasty and establishing really terribly nasty regimes.
Rich people already are paying too. They're spending their money and people are getting jobs and positions and the economy is moving around. Guys building lear jets and pleasure drome island get aways are spreading the wealth.  They're not necessarily drug lords who got their money doing cocaine or selling marijuania.  Yet that's the way the words "make the rich pay" come out.
I do know that when I was told 'make the rich pay' by one person I found that that person was not willing to start themselves by giving their new jacket to a person less fortunate. Rich is a relative term and there seems to be this notion that the 'rich' are always the 'other guy'.
Now I personally want to be the "idle rich".  They're actually rather rare.
Most rich people I've met personally are not "idle".  Everyone is trying to take the money off the rich and the richest I've known have been working the hardest.  The other thing about moderately rich people is that they seem often even more afraid of losing what they have and of the very rich than people lower on the ladder of wealth seem. There's not a lot of freedom that goes with wealth in this sense.  Besides other rich people are watching you and giving you a hard time.  Michael Jackson and Charlie Sheen are just a couple of recent examples.
I'd like a trust fund fortune from my great great grandparents or a government indexed pension, per haps.  The people who I have known with wealth and wasting it had it given to them.
The people who work for money don't tend to give it away because they know how hard it is to get it, to keep it and most importantly to make it grow.  I've been better at spending money than making it or keeping it. I always think people who say "make the rich pay" are themselves probably more like me, good at spending but not so good at making or keeping.  I admire the rich for making and keeping actually.  It's a skill.  Even those born wealthy have to deal with the 'rags to riches in three generations, riches to rags in one' scenario that so happens to the children of the once wealthy.
So let's face it. People who say "make the rich pay" really mean "make the rich pay me for nothing."  Why should they get rich in that case.  Why not me?

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