Skip to comments.In Defense of the Rich
Posted on 05/31/2006 12:28:22 AM PDT by Aussie Dasher
Were the party that wants to see an America in which people can still get rich. Ronald Reagan
Behind every great fortune there is a crime.
Honore de Balzac
The two quotes youve just read do a great job of representing how most liberals and conservatives view the rich. Conservatives believe that America is a land of opportunity, a place where a person can go from rags to riches if hes clever and willing to work hard.
On the other hand, liberals believe that in and of itself, wealth is evidence of wrongdoing. Either the rich are, winners of lifes lottery, who didnt earn the money they have or it was somehow swindled from the poor. Even if somehow, some way, neither of those conditions are present, then how can any decent person stand to be so rich when so many other people are so poorwell, unless youre a trial lawyer, celebrity, or someone who contributes vast sums to the Democratic Party as penance, in which case all is forgiven.
These two attitudes explain why liberals often engage in class warfare and accuse conservatives of being, in the pocket of the rich. When your starting point is that, rich people are bad people because theyre rich, then simply refusing to display knee-jerk hostility towards the wealthy is taken as a sign of unscrupulousness.
But, what so many liberals fail to see is how much the rich contribute to our society. Just to name one example, lets take a look at a man whose name is practically synonymous with limitless wealth: Bill Gates.
Would this country be better off if Bill Gates had never been born? My guess is that Microsofts 61,000 plus employees wouldnt think so. What about the recipients of the $28.8 billion that Bill Gates has given away to charities and causes? What about the people who built his mansions and his cars? Heck, what about you? Do you have any Microsoft products on your computer?
The reality is that when you take down a rich man, legions of poorer men suffer as a result of his misfortune. Of course, there are some people who did inherit their money or become rich by leeching off society (like John Edwards), but most Americans who have become wealthy made their fortunes by doing an exceptional job of serving their fellow man in some capacity.
Take Derek Jeter, Mel Gibson, or Barbra Streisand. Is it fair that theyre able to make such incredible sums playing sports, acting, or singing? Of course, its fair! They have very rare talents and people are willing to pay and pay well to see them perform. And if the public is willing to shell out vast fortunes to watch them work, why shouldnt they benefit from it? Who are we to decide that they dont deserve the money that they earned by entertaining millions of people?
Similarly, consider CEOs like Lee Raymond from Exxon. How many other people on earth could run a huge company like Exxon? Percentage wise, very few. Now, of those people? How many could have run the company as well as Raymond? Almost none. He was a Michael-Jordan-quality performer in his profession. So, given that Raymond ran a company that grossed $371 billion worldwide in 2005 and made $36 billion in profit that same year, is a $400 million retirement and salary package for 12 years worth of work out of line? When put in its proper perspective, that money was a drop in the bucket for a corporation like Exxonand if anything, given how well the company performed under Raymond, he was probably underpaid.
But, that doesnt sit well with a lot of people because they believe that the pie is only so big and if some Americans get a bigger piece of it, then that means the rest of us have to make do with less. However, thats not true. If you think about it, its very obvious that the pie keeps expanding.
If it didnt, wed all still be living in caves, bonking each other on the head with clubs and trying to figure out how to steal some rocks from the guy hoarding them across town. Moreover, that expanding pie explains why the richest and most privileged Americans 100 years ago had a lifestyle that was markedly inferior in most ways to that of Americans with modest means today. Most poor Americans have television sets, radios, air conditioners, microwaves, and other gadgets and gizmos that would have been considered priceless a century ago.
So as you can see, if we have a strong, thriving economy, then over time our entire society will benefit from it in a myriad of different waysand allowing people to create tremendous wealth for themselves is a necessary part of building a strong, thriving economy.
This may come as a shock to some peoplelike liberalsbut the rich dont sit around in their mansions all day and pass the time by swimming in pools full of their own money like Scrooge McDuck. Theyre creating jobs with their companies, investing in the stock market, and loaning entrepreneurs the money they need to start businesses. Also, did I mention taxes? The top 5% of wage earners in this country pay more than half of all Federal Income Taxes.
Thats why we need to try to make it easier for Americans to get rich. Its because the rich arent the enemy in a capitalistic country like America; theyre the geese that lay the golden eggs.
He met the Kennedys.
Met them? He worked for the Kennedys!!!!
Besides, he was French.
SCREW THE FROGS!!!!
Let's do some math, shall we?
Exxon made 37 Billion (with a B) dollars in one year. Raymond got a package that works out to about 33 million a year. That's less than 1/10th of one percent of one years profits for the company he ran. That's a pittance in percentage terms.
If he had agreed to work for just 1 percent of the annual gross profits he would have made 360 million dollars in a single year.
Mr. Raymond should be kicking himself in the ass for negotiating such a lousy deal for himself.
It does make a big difference that Exxon was profitable; and the pay package does seem small compared to the total profits of Exxon.
However, your math isn't quite right. The money in question wasn't his total pay -- just the severance package. And you're comparing it to Exxon's best year (up more than 25% from last year) rather than the average during Raymond's reign. Raymond also presided over several years of declining Exxon stock prices.
This is a shareholders' rights issue. Boards of Directors aren't doing their jobs if they're paying anyone more than they have to.
"So, given that Raymond ran a company that grossed $371 billion worldwide in 2005 and made $36 billion in profit that same year, is a $400 million retirement and salary package for 12 years worth of work out of line?"
Why don't we just give them 1 million dollars per year. That seems to be more than enough. lol. Actually, it is too difficult to argue this. I mean to me 400 million is a ton of money, but for someone who has lived with this their entire life, I guess it is a normal thing.
This is a shareholders' rights issue
Shareholders get to vote on the B of D, including the Chairman. If they don't like his performance he'll be shown the door soon enough.
This whole 'overpaid CEO' thing is a load of hooey IMO. When I ran a company, I kept 100% of the profits. I guess that makes me a bad guy as well.
"When I ran a company, I kept 100% of the profits. I guess that makes me a bad guy as well."
I presume you were the owner -- so, no.
Unless one is a stockholder of Exxon, it's really none of anyones business how much the company pays their Chief Exec. This is another 'look how unfair capitalism is' whine from the usual leftist scum. Don't fall for it.
If the government can tell Exxon how much to pay their Board of Directors, it's just one small step to them telling you how much any business can pay anyone.
That's the real agenda here.
Exxon makes a profit.
Always substitute the word "successful" for "rich" any time you hear a liberal using the word "rich". The liberals, democRats and leftists use it to promote their divide and conquer strategy when trying to make potential voters jealous of people in this country who have earned their wealth through hard work, innovation, etc.
Think about it... all democRats have to do to win elections is make 50.1% of the people jealous of the other 49.9%. By tagging successful people with the word "rich" they come close to achieving their goal each election cycle. Thank goodness that enough of the people in this country who vote understand that many of those "rich" people democRats talk about are the "successful" small business owners who make this country what it is today.
"When I ran a company, I kept 100% of the profits. I guess that makes me a bad guy as well."
I presume you were the owner -- so, no.
He could be Castro
Would it make any difference if the President were paid $400 million/yr.? It seems to me that the competition for the office of President couldn't possibly get any more competitive.
Actually, I think the rich can afford to defend themselves.
Speaking as someone who held a fairly large chunk of Exxon during Raymond's tenure I was tickled pink at his stewardship of the company and the resulting return I enjoyed. I'd of given him twice as much.
How many shares did you own during that time?
I'm betting that a large percentage of those posting on and reading this thread, are XOM stockholders, through mutual funds.
Especially when all conservatives are branded racists ?
I think we should cut your pay in half...I wouldn't notice a bit....
It wouldn't save anyone very much either. ;-)
Once they drove out the Huguenots, it was all down hill.
Give the poster a cigar.
In a sense it is a lot less complicated in that he doesn't have to worry about making a profit or pleasing his customers.
This could be said of any sports team couldn't it? Why do teams pay so much to a Michael Jordan? The fans want a winner!!! So it is with companies, the shareholders, employees, suppliers and customers all want them to flourish and make decisions accordingly.
Shareholders like voters ultimately are responsible for choosing their representatives. In both cases, apathy is the rule of the day.
Not once he's elected. Currently he's not pleasing too many people - especially about his program to give amnesty to 25 million illegal Mexicans. With an approval rating of approximately 33% I'd say there were a lot more displeased than pleased.
He who pays the piper calls the tune.
There are over 6 billion shares of XOM outstanding.
99.8% of these shares are free trading.
54% of these shares are held by 1958 institutions (pension funds, Mutual funds etc)
This corporation is very widely held. Ony 0.2% of the shares are owned by insiders.
The shareholders always have options if they don't like management.
They can sell there shares or use proxies to change the directors.
Socialism does not allow for wealth creation, which is one of several reasons why socialism doesn't work. It's also the reason why Democrats so strongly wish to limit and control it. 'Course, envy comes into the picture too, which is probably why some conservatives jump on board.
There's crime in everything. I got to work early today, at the risk of speeding and cutting off this woman who tailgated me earlier.
Not the same thing. A consumer has a CHOICE if he goes to Exxon, BP etc. US citizens don't have a choice, and don't have any option to not pay taxes if they're unhappy. Comparing government to private commerce is just too disparate for meaningful comparisons.
(although he should at least please the segment of voters in his own party
You'd think so wouldn't you, but Bush apparently doesn't agree. Poll on boortz.com the other day gave 99% DISSAPPROVE on Bush's amnesty plan. Frankly I'm puzzled as to just who he's is trying to please.
Liberals are such liars about wealth, they are every bit greedy and glutenous in accumulating their own personal wealth as they accuse conservatives of being, how many poor elected liberals are there in the Senate?
"Comparing government to private commerce is just too disparate for meaningful comparisons."
Maybe that sums it up.
Regarding corporate severence policies, I guess customers always have the option of not buying from corporations whose policies don't meet with their approval. OTOH, that idea may not get much traction here on FR, where I have seen it argued that employess *have* to work for a given corporation, meaning that because a given job is one they want, the corporation must adopt corporate policy to suit them).
That's my take on it too. When I hear of someone being "over paid", I think of Michael Jordan and the statements I used to hear from fellow Bulls fans, that he was over paid. He was paid exactly right, which is to say that his employer paid him the least he could get him for and Michael got the most he could.
It's the way the free market works, if the Bulls didn't want to pay him what he asked for there were other N.B.A. teams that were willing to.
I wonder how many people on this forum think that they personally are "over paid"? If they think it then they can always give money back to their employers (or customers)
I think John Snow is a good example of the above.
Why do you think the wealthiest men in the world tend to lean left, with some even being socialists? I have my own ideas on that, but would like to hear someone else's.
I like rich people - I've never had a job from a poor person...
Always consider that it is not the rich who are necessarily Republican; neither Gates nor Buffet are Republicans - or if they are, they're RINO types. Buffet is a hitaxer. The Democratic Party is the party of the poor voter and the rich contributor/influential pol. The Republican Party is the party of the middle class - those who have ambition and fear. Republicans aspire toward the rich and Republicans fear declining into poverty.
The Democratic Party is a pincer movement of the rich who want seperation from the middle class and the poor who want equality with the middle class, without the self-discipline.
Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was fabulously wealthy. But she lived before the advent of electrical appliances, most significant medical treatment, automobiles, airplanes, and consumer electronics. A modern American secretary today would not blythely trade circumstances with her. And if not with her, would she trade places with the antebellum plantation owner?
The "poor" of America have a standard of living equivalent to that of the middle class of fifty years ago. That's a lot of progress for "progressives" to oppose . . .
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