The Evil of Being Wealthy

Discussion in 'The Study' started by Bill Mattocks, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. zDom

    zDom Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    3,081
    Likes Received:
    104
    Trophy Points:
    108
    I have nothing against the wealthy being wealthy. What I object to is how they are systematically whittling away the possibility of a comfortable standard of living for the middle class.

    Taxing them at higher rates so that the government controls more of that wealth isn't the answer.

    Offering incentives for them to provide a comfortable standard of living for their workers instead of treating them like disposable assets so they can toss another coin in their McDuck Money Bin would be nice.
     
  2. billc

    billc Grandmaster

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    9,183
    Likes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    somewhere near Lake Michigan
    The middle class is losing ground because of the encroachment of the federal government. The government, through taxes and over regulation is killing jobs and nickle and diming every American. The rich can absorb every little increase in taxes and fees, from Chicagos 25% increase on the water bill for example, to every other thing the politicians think of to extract money from us. The middle class doesn't have the extra money and so their standard of living slowly disolves. It isn't the rich getting richer that does this, it is the government getting greedier and greedier. I would have to say, stop complaining about the rich, they are paying most of the bills anyway, and turn your anger on every politician in office. The politicians are the ones causing the problems. If the politicians had less control over every aspect of our lives, there wouldn't be the need to buy so many of them to make them leave business alone or to give one business an advantage over its competition.
     
  3. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Messages:
    9,875
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Where the hills have eyes.,and it's HOT!
    It's partially true, but you have to remember that the period of the middle-classes' greatest growth in the U.S. was due to the federal government: the G.I. bill made education and self-improvement available for a whole generation. Home ownership was made easier-a realizable goal for many, regardless of class.And you won't like the other thing the U.S. owes post-WWII growth of the middle-class to: unions, which made it possible for anyone to earn a middle-class wage with just a high-school education.


    The diminishing of the middle class is not nearly as attibutable to the government as it is to corporations, for whom a "middle-class' is anathema....

    More to follow....
     
  4. billc

    billc Grandmaster

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    9,183
    Likes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    somewhere near Lake Michigan
    then there is this view:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/greece_not_egypt.html

    and this:

    http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=511

     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  5. JohnEdward

    JohnEdward 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    18
    The problem with the disappearing middle class is a complex problem. I don't care who is to blame, I want to see it come back. I want to see the politics against a middle class disappear. I want to see this anti-middle class movement disappear. Do I have anything against the "rich" well I am more concern with this country having a health class. I want young people's degrees to mean something other than a glorified high school diploma facing the unemployment pool. I want people who work and want to work to have a steady job. I want to see only one parent working, and not two. And so on. I want to see a better society. I don't want to see a equally proportional haves and have nots, with no one in the middle. I want small business, inventors and entrepreneur better opportunities with less interference from government/corporations. And more things like this and less of what is happening now.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. JohnEdward

    JohnEdward 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    18
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,185
    Likes Received:
    210
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Nacogdoches, Tx
    college degrees mean nothing these days becasue any jackass can get one.

    it used to be, even in my day, only two types went to college:
    the brains who got the grants and what not cuz they were. well, BRAINS

    and the rich kids

    but now?

    more kids than ever go to college, and that means more people with degrees out there

    college degrees are like printed currency: the more floating around out there, the less each is worth.

    a high school diploma used to be worth something because there were not many people with something better.

    now MASTER'S degrees are the new Bachelors

    not to mention the fact that kids today get a 4 year degree and think that qualifies them to start halfway up the ladder

    it doesnt.
     
  8. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Messages:
    9,875
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Where the hills have eyes.,and it's HOT!
    I'm in a position to offer some rather unique perspectives on all this.First, I'll try to tackle the "nobility of poverty" My mom grew poor in a way most people in the U.S. can't really imagine today-though she'd deny (and I'd debate) that they were at or below the poverty level. Her father was a coal miner, they lived in a company town in Wyoming, and sometimes grandpa had to poach deer and antelope to put food on the table. My father, on the other hand, was a child of privilege, and grew up what most people would call "rich," though his family lived rather modestly for their means, as most Cuffees have....more on that later. I think my mom, though, was quite surprised to find that "people of color" lived the way my grandparents and my dad did, and I think she thought, on some level, that my dad was "spoiled."

    She and my grandmother did their level best to make sure my siblings and I were not "spoiled." This sometimes meant having pancakes or fritters for dinner-not because we did not have meat, but so that we knew that others didn't, and what it was like for them. It meant constant admonishments like,Do you know how lucky you are to have your own bicycle/room/radio/books/fill in the blank? We had one bicycle for six brothers and sisters. or Aren't you going to share that? You can't have that and not share with your brother and sisters.... And the inevitable stories about walking to school through hip-deep snow.....uphill.....both ways....:lol:

    Somehow, people like my mom-no matter what socioeconomic status or education level they achieve, think more of people who have lived at a subsistence level-it's true for a lot of people who grew up during the depression. Likewise, I regularly encounter people who think that someone who works as a laborer or craftsman is the one doing "real" work, and that it's a crime that I get paid so much more than they do.Which is BS-I have to put up with it regularly from some of my artist friends, or the people I pray with (some of whom are my artist friends...:lol: )

    When I first started keeping fire for Anthony, and we started making trips onto the reservations, he had me go out and buy a car that didn't really cost very much. I got a Tercel 4WD, in part because of the roads most places we were going, but, for the most part, that it didn't cost three or four times what my potential hosts might make in a year, or, in some cases, a lifetime. While he loved the Porsche (someday I'll tell the story of going to the peyote farms in Texas in the Porsche) he thought-rightly-that showing up in such a car would be rude, or seen as rude.

    On the other hand, some of the poorest people I've ever been around have never hesitated to share what little they had-if I show up at my (distant) cousins on the Wind River Reservation, they'll always kill a puppy or a chicken for dinner. Likewise, when I've hung nout with the Huichols or Tarahumara in Mexico, they have been renarkably generous hosts, in spite of their relative poverty-not likely I'll be seeing any of them in the near future, with the drug troubles in their areas. And I'll never forget how this woman who had seen her sons and husband executed, her home burned down, and been raped repeatedly herself, insisted on making tea for us-in cracked china she'd rescued from the ruins of her home- when I was in Bosnia back. How much more poverty can their be to have truly lost everything? And yet she insisted on sharing. This is one true nobility of poverty. The other, of course, is knowing that you have enough.(I'll add here-as a bit of an aside, so that you know where I'm coming from, that I pray for all these people, every day. I'd send money, but most of them would be insulted.)

    I'll enjoy a buffet, from time to time, but I don't enjoy watching other people at the damn things:piling food onto their plate till it's four inches thick, making return trips-eating a boatload of food just because it's there. Understandable behavior in a child or growing boy, but adults should know the meaning of "all you can eat." Because that's what I'll have when I go to the buffet: all I can eat, and no more than that. I've known people that live on the road, or on boats, or in the woods-my friend Aldred's grandmother lives in a hogan waaaay out on the Navajo reservation-had to pull water up from a well, had-until fairly recently-no electricity or running water, and still uses an outhouse that you have to rattle with a stick to chase off spiders and rattlesnakes. She keeps a small herd of sheep, lives each day pretty simply, and feels blessed that she has.....enough, just as those people I've known on the road, or in boats, or in the woods did. In fact, I think many of them-Aldred's grandmother, the Huichols and Tarahumara, the cruisers on their sailboats-would laugh at the idea that they were in poverty, though most of them will never see $10,000 a year, let a lone $40,000.Because they have enough.

    So, is poverty noble? Not so much-I'm rather glad I don't have to worry too much about living at that economic level. There is something, though, to the idea of knowing when you have "enough," and there is something noble in how so many of the poor share what they have, when they have so little.

    Can "Wealth" be evil? Money itself, of course, is completely amoral-it is neither evil, nor good. What a person does with it can be, as well as they accquire it.

    I've posted elsewhere about how many of the founders of our nation felt that inherited wealth was a great evil-they saw it as a potential instrument of oppression: that's what their experience with it in and from England, Ireland and Scotland had been. Many wealthy men and families will put controls on their legacy, so that their children won't inherit too much, or their wealth can go on doing good work without their children's control. This is what Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have publicly stated that they intend to do.

    My family made their initial fortune in whaling and shipping. Neither my father, nor my grandfather-who did no whaling-thought that whaling was evil. Not many people of their generation did. I do. It was an evil thing, and, for the most part, still is-an evil way to accquire wealth-though one could argue that they knew no better, and so my great grandfather and all the Cuffee men back to 1795 were not "evil" men, merely ignorant. On the other hand, one can argue that the decisions made that led to the BP Gulf oil spill, or the pursuit of natural gas with fracking(if it does, in fact, contaminate groundwater and the people who do it are aware that it does) could be seen as evil. And, I'm not even going to get into the whole drug lord thing-clearly, one can accquire wealth in evil ways.

    My family's wealth is controlled by a trust-I'm the chief trustee and executor, for as long as I'm alive-my mother is a coexecutor for as long as I have her. There are pretty strict controls set in place as to how and when I can access the fund, and some interesting traditions and obligations. For about a hundred years now, though, it's been a rule that during economic times such as we're experiencing now, part of the fund should be used for the accquisition of real estate. Thus it was that my grandfather bought property in Fairlfield, Conn., and my father grew up next door to a mansion, and the house that was built for the chauffeur of the owner of that mansion-she was land rich, but cash poor, and my grandfather-who appeared rather Asian to most-was able to buy land from her, in 1930, as well as our summer home in Sag Harbor, NY-the port Cuffees sailed from. He bought that house in foreclosure, or for back taxes-it had owned to some antique dealers who were sisters. Since 2008, I've bought a few properties-an apartment complex that was foreclosed on in the last stage of construction, a smaller complex, and a few houses-all the produce of someone else's misfortune. Is that evil? I don't think so, but I also don't always feel good about it.

    Corporate wealth, though? Large banks? I'm not talking about what their CEOs make here, but the entities themselves? If corporations are "persons," they're generally evil persons, because that's what an amoral person is. While those protesters can rail against the faces and real flesh and blood people that make up that corporation-and, I think, wrongly-and against how much they make (again, wrongly) they are quite right to protest against the corporations themselves as the very engines of the economic crisis that so many are now burdened with, and the evil of their engineering a bailout, and placing the burden for it squarely upon the shoulders of all of us, and our children, and our children's children (though, in some cases, those bailouts have been paid back well enough) that fits the very definition of evil.

    BTW-in spite of sharing some of the details of my relative fortune, I should say that I'm probably smack dab in the middle of the 90th percentile of that 99% they're talking about.
     
  9. JohnEdward

    JohnEdward 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I disagree. You basically saying only the rich can have a college opportunity. But being rich has nothing to with being the best and the brightest. Parental income has nothing to do with intelligence. Now, money does offer benefits of affording more opportunity and quality of education, tis true. It give an advantage over those with less income to afford "the best." Going to an Ivy League because your family is tied into certain circles or has influence will get you on the fast track. But it doesn't equate intelligence. Look at our last Pres. Bush for example. He had the best of everything and his I.Q. is questionable. Money provides you opportunities, and freedoms. It is a means of power.

    The value of a degree marks learnedness. More qualified people in the pool, less training, less training equates money saved. The purpose of Universities are to train those going into professional fields. The more in the pool the better shopping.

    Universities despite their purpose have another, it is to make money. More students accepted the more money for the University, the bigger the budget. The less students, the less money, the smaller the budget. It wouldn't make sense to reduce the number of students only to the wealthy. A smaller wealth pool expects 7 figure salaries after graduation.

    The real facts are more students, more money for the Universities, and a large flooded employment and unemployed pool willing to work for less, etc. reduces business costs. It's good for business.
     
  10. JohnEdward

    JohnEdward 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Also when you have less educated public, governments/corporations get away with more, see third world dictatorship, and see uneducated consumers and lack of rights. It is dangerous to those with your Twin Fist "every jackass can get [degree]" view to have everyone educated. When I said what I said, I meant those who do the work in college, rather than sucking off the tit of the government, should not be faced with unemployment after graduation, or viewed as a disposable and dispensable workforce.
     
  11. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,185
    Likes Received:
    210
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Nacogdoches, Tx
    did you not pay attention to what i actually wrote?

    re-read what i actually wrote

    it used to be, even in my day, only two types went to college:
    the brains who got the grants and what not cuz they were. well, BRAINS

    and the rich kids

    NOWHERE DID I SAY ONLY THE RICH SHOULD GO TO COLLEGE

    learn to read



     
  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    17,936
    Likes Received:
    3,674
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    I'm not quite following the conversation. It seems like some are suggesting that college degrees are worth less (not worthless) than they once were. And this is so because more people are getting them. But I also get the impression that everyone who's said this has a college degree, or in Twin Fist's case, is actively working on one.

    Couldn't the ready access to advanced education be considered a good thing? I mean, that college is attainable for so many is good. Right?

    I actually think that one of the great things about our country is that a college degree is within just about everyone's reach. I practically flunked out of high school. Got the GI Bill, went to a community college, got good grades, transferred to a four year college and got a BA. I don't know if I'm part of the 53%'ers or not. While I worked the entire time, I took every dollar of financial aid I could get.

    The biggest barrier to improving one's station in life is debt. Kids or even adults without a lot of debt can afford to do the college thing. It's the people who get saddled with debt and can't afford to quit the crappy job they have who end up stuck.
     
  13. Darksoul

    Darksoul Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Englewood, CO
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/12/1025555/-Open-Letter-to-that-53-Guy

    -I'd like to offer a different perspective that ties into this conversation. And this link is simply one person's thoughts, not necessarily representative of all who fall into the 99% or into the OWS movement. I think Bill pointed out something very important earlier, that for quite some time the system has been engineered to benefit certain individuals or groups. What I mean by that is, we the people have elected politicians, who get into power, make changes to the gov't, to regulations, to finance and so forth, influenced by non-gov't forces, like lobbyists, and so on till you get to what we have today. The issue is that it has been, for the most part, legal. Want to see change, change the system. Elect different people, who will make different choices...

    ...easier said than done...I think we all feel the system is broken in some way, whether its the regulations, the way we vote and elect people, the way we spend tax dollars...I think at this point, the system is corrupted enough that simply voting in new people will not actually change much. Rich people, corporations, they have money, money that can influence above and beyond what the majority can hope to. How do you change something against such awesome odds, barring a revolution? I can't imagine they'll allow changes to loop holes and tax breaks if they can avoid it. (And that isn't directed at all who are rich and powerful.)

    -One last thought, about what Elder and someone else posted, and that is concerning the accumulation of wealth. Some of these corporations look like hoarders. Now when I think of hoarders, I think of the t.v. series, showing often poor people, with a mental disease that compels them to acquire and keep things. Isn't that what has happened within that 1%? Are they not hoarders? Just speaking personally, it seems that if I somehow make a fortune in business, supported by a gov't that provides tax breaks and loopholes, then surely I must reinvest into the economy somehow. To me, that is the moral thing to do. The gov't is, in part, charged with looking out for the welfare of the people. Is it just the rich they're looking out for? I think the gov't should close down those loopholes. I'm sure for those corporations and whoever, if their product or services is good enough, they don't need to stand on the shoulders of gov't to succeed.

    -And I think it is important to share, to lift up our fellow Americans. But no one should be compelled to, they should want to. When the middle class is strong, I believe it is so much more benficial to the rich and that kind of cycle leads to prosperity for the majority, and to a stronger nation.


    Just an opinion, love this thread!


    Andrew
     
  14. JohnEdward

    JohnEdward 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    18


    I was just furthering my point of needed a health middle class. That when you make education available only to the rich there is a greater opportunity for quality education at the primary and secondary levels, kids get into the best schools at these levels that are tied to top universities and all the perks that go with it. That doesn't When you make quality education available to those willing to take the opportunity, you are broadening the scope of education to all the best and brightest at ever economic level. Education was a status symbol, and opportunity only for the rich. Someone with a brain said, to be a world leading country to find the future movers and shakers, the best and the brightest you must tap every the level of economic level, race, creed or color. And just not limit education to a the privileged. This helped create a middle class.

    Now you missed what I was saying. That creating a large labor pool of educated unemployed professionals diminishes their worth, their education. This makes degrees worthless. And when those who do get jobs have to take one for less pay, below their qualification level this too diminishes a degree to say the least. It is all to the advantage of corporations; more for less. A corporation would rather by a second yacht a 4th summer mansion, and into bragging rights, than see the importance of their impact on society and the benefit to the country. Not what you said.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  15. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,185
    Likes Received:
    210
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Nacogdoches, Tx
    you said you wanted degree's to mean something

    i pointed out, correctly that degrees mean less now becasue more people have them

    lets put it in martial arts terms

    40 years ago a blackbelt meant "he can kill you"

    NOW a black belt means "the 5 yr olds parents wrote a check that cleared"

    the black belt means LESS when ANYONE can get one.

    so do college degrees

    you want them to mean something again, you will need to make it so that fewer people have one
     
  16. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Messages:
    9,875
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Where the hills have eyes.,and it's HOT!

    I don't agree, dude. I'm not that much older than you-what, a year?

    When I was a kid, college was a lot more accessible than it is now-there was no such thing as a "student loan" until I was about 15, because no one really needed such a thing, if they really wanted to go. There were colleges for people at every level of scholastic ability-still are-and many of them were nearly free. It only cost $350 a semester for an out of state student to attend a California university, and they were free for in state students. It wasn't much more for SUNY schools-even when I attended one in the 80's, it only cost something like $650 a semester.

    College degrees still depend upon what institution is conferring them for how much they mean.
     
  17. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    17,936
    Likes Received:
    3,674
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    The quality of a black belt has nothing to do with how many people have them. It has to do with a reduction in standards.

    I see your point, and agree that if standards are being lowered, they mean less, and this may be happening. But access to education is not the same thing.

    If everyone who had a black belt was a competent black belt, exclusivity wouldn't matter.
     
  18. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,185
    Likes Received:
    210
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Nacogdoches, Tx
    totally different experience here in texas.

    the people i went to school with, the ones that went to college, either thier parents had money, OR they were the brains that got the scholarships

     
  19. JohnEdward

    JohnEdward 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    18
    You didn't read what I said did you? The devaluation of a degree isn't equated to the number of people attending a university or those who attend, standards etc. It is how those who hire the holder that makes a value determination. Respectfully your black belt analogy doesn't apply. Your views are archaic and prejudicial to all except those privileged who you see add value to degrees.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  20. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,551
    Likes Received:
    188
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Sanger CA

Share This Page