No - this is not an article from The Onion – so not surprisingly this is what no small number of people really think and believe...
I’m also surprised I had not seen it at all somewhere on the social media traffic on the interwebz. Must have been off the grid for a spell a month or so ago.
Yep – if you read this, that is what the author is proposing. Hard to believe? Lets think about this then.
Now I'm not one who argues the merits one way or the other of the whole 99 vs. 1% thing. It is in my opinion pointless and like most such discussions fails to grasp the many different circumstances people on both sides of that divide find themselves in. But I do unreservedly reject the notion that the 99% in fact owes more to the 1% than the other way around.
It is time to combat the notion that people who have great wealth are somehow smarter or work harder than those who are not. It is certainly true in some instances but equally untrue in many others. In a good number of cases, quite possibly the only difference is the aversion to taking risk, and perhaps built on that, the better understanding of some of how to take risk with other peoples money.
The person who develops a business around an idea rarely works in isolation. In some cases, the transaction of cash and other benefits for labor and the profit gained from that labor are fair, and in other cases they are not. To make teachers for example a poster child for fairness in value received is beyond absurd and only the most brain-dead of right wing conservatives do not know this to be true.
As if for example the Henry Fords, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would have achieved everything they proved ultimately capable of without this key developmental phase of their lives. I’m sure based on their very nature, they would still have been successful, but does at the current average cost per public school pupil of around $10,000 per year (in the USA), I think they have come out significantly on the plus side of the ledger here. And teachers are probably in many cases more like the example of the mother described in this article – who does what she does out of love for her children. It is most certainly not a commercial transaction. If it were we might see teachers paid in royalties from those they helped to fashion. I suppose in the eyes of the author of this article, they are really just other workers who benefit from the wealth their prodigy students will go on to create. They just don’t happen to be on the payroll directly.
Of course I’m biased as you know if you read my last post on teachers -
So onto the proposal of not taxing those who make over a million dollars a year at all as it is immoral? I guess this is the ultimate gambit in trickle down economic theory. I mean, I could get this a little if you were saying let’s do this to further encourage people to achieve greatness and strive to earn over a million dollars a year – except taxes are not the reason the vast majority of people who are not making a million dollars a year are not doing so. But taxing them is immoral? WTF!!!
But coming back to economics, here is the ultimate kicker for me. If in fact there is nothing to give back (by the 1%) because as write says and I quote:
Each particular individual in the community who contributed to a man’s rise to wealth was paid at the time–either materially or, as in the case of parents and friends, spiritually. There is no debt to discharge. There is nothing to give back, because there was nothing taken away.
Then why should the 99% pay and not the 1%? Haven’t they already paid as well? Surely they topo have “no debt to discharge”? Well, although I think Obama was (and generally is) full of BS when he asserted the only reason for a business persons success is the roads and infrastructure built by others, I suppose someone has to pay for this stuff. After all, they aren’t going to just build themselves. And if you are going to just be a user, a worker drone who contributes nothing to society more than the 8 hours you are paid for, then you probably should pay your own way to get to and from work. This after all is why we shouldn’t have public transport in this country as the working poor who use it really are not paying their fair share and should probably be riding bicycles to and from the factory – on bike paths they pay for. Also under the current system, you could argue the difference between a living wage and what a number of corporations pay people is getting paid by the wealthy indirectly through social programs they fund with their taxes – so there is that to consider. Certainly governments waste money so get rid of the middle man I say – the cost of passing through the difference between the minimum wages many subsist on and a living wage will come way down if they just pay it directly to the workers and not pay times to get it to them through taxes and social programs. And that difference my friends, is PROFIT!!!
So on that whole morality thing. I mean, if you come from a mindset that proposes the head of Goldman Sachs has done infinitely more for mankind than Mother Theresa, then clearly you believe the 99% are indeed what the system is being increasingly geared to create – an underclass of working drones, for whom the biggest argument is whether or not the notion of a living wage should be entertained. Maybe we should go back to the days of servitude and indentured servants that Benjamin Franklin (a person possibly highly admired by the author of this piece – although despite being a founding father, he was embarrassingly liberal) found so abhorrent in England he came to firmly believe in the virtues of the movement for American independence.
For a start, reading this article provided me with the name of the head of Goldman Sachs – one Lloyd Blankfein. But to be fair, I am well aware of the entity that is Goldman Sachs. I’ve even indirectly (probably more times than I know) done work for them through their subsidiaries. And seeing as how in the USA a company is in fact a person, then knowing Goldman Sachs is more or less the same as knowing the person who runs it (all on his own do you suppose?). So comparing the value to the world of Goldman Sachs against Mother Theresa – and finding that it is not even close based on the billions of dollars in profits generated by Goldman Sachs, suggests that indeed the people who work for the 1% are indeed nothing more than human capital. What they think, feel or dream, how they change the world to be a better place is indeed of no consequence, and they should presumably just be grateful that they have 401K plans gaining wealth courtesy of Mr Blankfein.
Certain other inspiring people who have left an indelible mark on the world – indeed have left it a better place are not mentioned. Probably could have been used to make the authors point. I mean let’s see, people like Harriet Tubman and so many others who were part of the movement away from slavery. Hard to argue profits would not have been better if we could have kept this long standing practice in place – in fact given it goes on more or less in many other countries now, all we have done is placed ourselves at a disadvantage. Or folk like Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. I mean look at the troubles those countries have struggled to overcome. Surely this could all have been avoided had the British ruling class kept running India, or minority rule stayed on in South Africa. Despite their troubles, I wonder if the people there feel better off because of those folk. And let’s not get started on the whole mess left by Martin Luther King and others through the civil rights movement.
OK – rant over. I think I’ve answered my own questions here – hope it was helpful to you.
Now to read or not to read another post by the same author… “Insider Trading Is A Right: Don't Shackle The Knowledge-Seekers”. I think the only reason he has Al Capone or Bernie Madoff on his shit list is there were SO MANY ways they could have got rich just working the system, within the law that is…
The article shared lest the self-proclaimed philosopher who wrote it feels I am somehow gaining wealth from his efforts was authored by Mr. Harry Binswanger, and published in Forbes Magazine, September 17, 2013.