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In Defense of the Rich
Human Events Online ^ | 31 May 2006 | John Hawkins

Posted on 05/31/2006 12:28:22 AM PDT by Aussie Dasher

“We’re 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 you’ve 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 he’s 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 life’s lottery,” who didn’t 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 poor—well, unless you’re 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 they’re 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, let’s 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 Microsoft’s 61,000 plus employees wouldn’t 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 they’re able to make such incredible sums playing sports, acting, or singing? Of course, it’s 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 shouldn’t they benefit from it? Who are we to decide that they don’t deserve the money that they earned by entertaining millions of people?

Similarly, consider CEO’s 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 Exxon—and if anything, given how well the company performed under Raymond, he was probably underpaid.

But, that doesn’t 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, that’s not true. If you think about it, it’s very obvious that the “pie” keeps expanding.

If it didn’t, we’d 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 ways—and 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 people—like liberals—but the rich don’t sit around in their mansions all day and pass the time by swimming in pools full of their own money like Scrooge McDuck. They’re 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.

That’s why we need to try to make it easier for Americans to get rich. It’s because the rich aren’t the enemy in a capitalistic country like America; they’re the geese that lay the golden eggs.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: conservatives; finance; liberals; thegreatronaldreagan; wealth
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Nothing wrong with wealth - I just wish I had a bit more of it!!!
1 posted on 05/31/2006 12:28:25 AM PDT by Aussie Dasher
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To: Aussie Dasher
The left uses all kind of divisiveness for their agendas and power.

Race card.
Class card.
Victim card.
2 posted on 05/31/2006 12:34:30 AM PDT by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: Aussie Dasher
“Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”

He met the Kennedys.

3 posted on 05/31/2006 12:40:00 AM PDT by leadhead (Itís a duty and a responsibility to defeat them. But it's also a pleasure)
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To: leadhead

Met them? He worked for the Kennedys!!!!


4 posted on 05/31/2006 12:41:08 AM PDT by Aussie Dasher (The Great Ronald Reagan & John Paul II - Heaven's Dream Team!)
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To: Aussie Dasher
"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?"

Well, maybe it is out of line. Given the recent rise in oil prices, it would be hard to imagine an oil company not increasing its profits dramatically.

CEOs are employees -- the owners (shareholders) need to get a handle on CEO compensation, which is spiraling out of control. CEO pay has increased many times faster than the pay for ordinary workers -- Boards of Directors seem to be letting the shareholders down. If the pay of all CEOs were cut in half, very few would quit, because they'd still be making more money than they could by doing just about anything else.
5 posted on 05/31/2006 12:46:55 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Aussie Dasher
Balzac lived in a time and place where wealth was frequently gotten by acts of conquest or by royal decree. There weren't many people working themselves to wealth in France in 1820.

Besides, he was French.

L

6 posted on 05/31/2006 12:49:57 AM PDT by Lurker (Real conservatives oppose the Presidents amnesty proposal. Help make sure it dies in the House.)
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To: Lurker

SCREW THE FROGS!!!!


7 posted on 05/31/2006 1:01:31 AM PDT by Aussie Dasher (The Great Ronald Reagan & John Paul II - Heaven's Dream Team!)
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
Allow me to interject a 'bullshi**' in response to your comments.

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.

L

8 posted on 05/31/2006 1:22:52 AM PDT by Lurker (Real conservatives oppose the Presidents amnesty proposal. Help make sure it dies in the House.)
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To: Lurker

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.


9 posted on 05/31/2006 1:46:06 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

"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.


10 posted on 05/31/2006 1:49:30 AM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
So they made 27 billion last year...oh woe to the Exxon stockholder.

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.

L

11 posted on 05/31/2006 2:06:23 AM PDT by Lurker (Real conservatives oppose the Presidents amnesty proposal. Help make sure it dies in the House.)
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To: napscoordinator; Lurker
George Bush makes $400,000/yr plus expenses for presiding over an organization with a budget of $2.5 trillion (with a "T") and a country with a $12.5 trillion economy growing at over 5%/year (that's about $600 billion growth).

Is Bush's job any less complicated or important than any corporate CEO's?
12 posted on 05/31/2006 2:06:58 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Lurker

"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.


13 posted on 05/31/2006 2:08:49 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: napscoordinator
I don't mean to seem brusque here, but how about it's no ones business but the stockholders of the company in question?

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.

L

14 posted on 05/31/2006 2:10:07 AM PDT by Lurker (Real conservatives oppose the Presidents amnesty proposal. Help make sure it dies in the House.)
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
There's a big difference between Exxon and the US Government.

Exxon makes a profit.

L

15 posted on 05/31/2006 2:14:17 AM PDT by Lurker (Real conservatives oppose the Presidents amnesty proposal. Help make sure it dies in the House.)
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To: Aussie Dasher

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.


16 posted on 05/31/2006 2:20:38 AM PDT by ajolympian2004
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

"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


17 posted on 05/31/2006 2:31:00 AM PDT by Darteaus94025
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
"George Bush makes $400,000/yr plus expenses for presiding over an organization with a budget of $2.5 trillion (with a "T") and a country with a $12.5 trillion economy growing at over 5%/year (that's about $600 billion growth)."

Is Bush's job any less complicated or important than any corporate CEO's?

Dude! You've NAILED it!! Bush should get a couple $B! Just like BJ & the PIAPS.
19 posted on 05/31/2006 2:40:56 AM PDT by Darteaus94025
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To: jk4hc4

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.


20 posted on 05/31/2006 2:44:18 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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