Monday, June 06, 2005

Class in America: The very rich leave the plain rich behind

Here goes the age-old "class struggle" ploy in the headlines again. The New York Times (the rest of the media will follow along puppy-dog style, I'm sure) must be gearing up for the battle against Bush's permanent tax cuts or in defeating his plan for putting some of your retirement responsibility (and reward!) in your own hands. Or some other political reason. Watch the news. You'll spot it.

So they dust off and update old 'haves vs. have not' stories like these:

Class in America: The very rich leave the plain rich behind

New rich again jostle blue bloods


Howlin' Howard Dean, head of the DNC said the other day that Republicans "have never made an honest living in their lives."

Oh really. Wouldn't it be interesting to know the political make-up of the top .1 percent of income earners? Isn't it curious that in naming a few of the super wealthy in the articles above, they only came up with liberals and big Democrats like Warren Buffet, Ted Turner and George Soros? Of course, THEY went out and made their fortune the good old-fashioned American way. According to Howard, it's only Republicans that stole it out of the mouths of poor babies.

What about John Kerry-Heinz, whose only claim to wealth is marrying well? Twice, no less. Or of Ted Kennedy, who was born into wealth he didn't have a thing to do with creating? And the list goes on, and on, and on... of the wealthy who "have never made an honest living in their lives."

But there are many more hard working Americans who do make honest livings, and more. They make fortunes. They create wealth. They see a need in the marketplace and they find a way to fill it, as one very wealthy acquaintance once told me was The Secret to financial success.

What is it with liberals and Democrats that they have this mantra of hate for those who are successful in America?

Isn't that what the American Dream is supposed to be all about? To have the freedom to work, to create, build and become successful, and then to enjoy the fruits of that labor?

Apparently due to being indoctrinated, er educated, in a liberal Public School, they are unaware that our Founding Fathers were not the poor of their time. They weren't the social workers and the welfare cases. They were the movers and shakers. They owned land, ships, businesses. They were the wealthy. They created wealth. And they created the opportunity for others to create wealth.

The Carnegie's, the Mellon's, Vanderbilt's, Rockefeller’s, Getty's and on and on also created wealth. I'm not talking about their silly, spoiled offspring who merely inherited these fortunes. I mean the originals, who saw a need and filled it.

I do not resent the wealthy. My hat's off to anyone who goes out there and makes millions. It's a beautiful thing to see. People buy lottery tickets not just because they hope to win, but because they saw someone else win, and it makes them think maybe the same could happen to them.

That's why we need the wealthy out there blazing the trails to success! We need to see that the American Dream still flourishes, despite the politically correct mantra of liberals and Democrats. Because if we -- and our children -- can see that someone really did it, that it's really out there for the taking, then we can aspire to achieve more ourselves.

John Edwards' tiresome "Two Americas" theme pits the poor against the wealthy. But his theory is nonsense. There is not 'two Americas' (Abraham Lincoln saw to that). There is one America. And it is the land of opportunity. You don't see people breaking out of America. You only see them breaking in. Little Johnny does amuse me though. He went out and made millions as a trial lawyer 'for the little guy'. I'll bet you my house not one of his clients became a millionaire because of him.

Rich People do not make poor people poor. In fact many rich people were born poor, or came from very modest means (just ask little Johnny. He'll tell you, ad nauseum). The notion that the wealthy are somehow sucking up all the money, leaving behind poverty and desperation in their wake is absolutely laughable. Yet they use that argument over and over.

I don't care how rich the richest man gets, or how many men and women get rich. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with HOW RICH YOU GET. Your financial success is not being hindered because the next guy got rich. He's not holding you back or keeping you from success, or with today's talking point 'leaving you behind'.

In fact the more rich people there are, the better chance you're likely to have a job so you can start creating your own wealth.

Every singe one of you with a job works for a rich guy, or at least a guy with more money than you have.

Rich people do not live in a vacuum. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft became a billionaire. But not all by himself. Microsoft has created several billionaires, many, many millionaires and thousands and thousands of sub-millionaires, many of whom will likely become millionaires in their lifetime (especially if Bush's Social Security and tax-cut plans are put into action so they can keep and invest their money!)

There are literally THOUSANDS of stories in America like Microsoft's. Maybe not as huge, but the stories are similar. I've met and listened to hundreds of wealthy individuals who found a need and filled it. And along the way they created opportunities for millions of Americans to strive for their dreams. And as a result, literally thousands and thousands of people became millionaires themselves.

The catch is, not everyone will become rich. Many people do not even aspire to become rich. They may achieve their American Dream by other means, which is fine. I'm not addressing them. The other catch is, you do not have a RIGHT to become rich. "Opportunity" does not mean "Right". You still have to go get it. You have to do the work in order to enjoy the results. There are no shortcuts to wealth.

My Dad, God love him, is 82 and lives on his tiny Social Security check. It's tiny (the minimum, about $400) because he ran his own little repair shop business most of his whole working life and paid in virtually no employee taxes (FICA taxes) over the years. But now he complains because when the annual Social Security increase kicked in, the state reduced his food stamps by that amount. How dare they!

He lived his life like he chose to. He was free to make the choices he made. But now he denigrates Bush and "the rich" because they've got it all and he's got nothing. As if they stole into his place at night and took away his share of the American Dream. (BTW, when I was a kid he was a strong Republican. My Mom was a Democrat.)

Bill Gates did not make my father poor. George Bush did not make my father poor.

Do we have a social responsibility to take care of the aged and disabled that find themselves in this situation at the end of their working lives? Yes I believe we do, to some degree. But even my Dad, who was born in 1922, recognizes that the original plan for Social Security was to prevent the mass poverty that occurred during the depression. Those with no means who were too old or unable to work were placed in institutional 'poor farms'. Social Security was meant to allow people in that situation to keep their dignity, prevent mass soup lines and live out their lives in their homes.

So which end of the spectrum do you aspire to? Do you want to go out and earn your piece of the American Dream, maybe even become wealthy in the process? Or do just want to 'do your thing' and hope that someone else's efforts (through taxes) will support you in your old age?

That's what America offers. The choice is yours.

It's all about choice. America is about having choices. It's about having opportunity. America is about having the freedom to pursue your dreams and to reap the rewards for your efforts, and to enjoy those rewards.

Yes, my friends, despite what the big media and the liberal weenies would have you believe, the American Dream is alive and well!

Just axe my man Rush Limbaugh (New Class Envy Term: The Hyper-Rich), he'll tell you!

Larry

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