Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Obnoxious Wealth - and arrogance.

Where to start??  This letter surfaced today. The CEO of a large vacation company is basically telling his employees that they might not have a job if Obama is elected for another term.  It is illegal to try and tell someone how to vote.  And he made it very clear in his letter that he can't do that.  But he's using fear and emotional blackmail to try and get his employees to vote Republican.  And he makes an interesting argument.  But he's dead wrong.

Basically, here's his argument:  He's rich.  And that's not a sin.  He's worked hard and he's earned his money.  And he employs lots of people.  He's one of the good guys, right?  I'm sure he's a decent guy to sit down and have a chat with.  I spent some time at yacht clubs 20 years ago, and I drank a lot of beer bought by such guys.  Generous, "successful" guys who get a lot of their self-worth by having money.  Nothing particularly wrong with these types of people.  I find them interesting.  And he feels he should be rewarded with his lavish lifestyle because he's missed out on weekends and holidays and extra pay in the past and put all of his effort and money into his business.  He's been poor, but he's worked hard and now he deserves to be rich.  It's his right.  So he's being ripped off by the government just so that the government can pay off the debt that they've incurred.  Right?  Well, that doesn't sound fair, does it?

But wait a minute.  In the past decade there have been 2 wars - not well-supported by the American population.  There has been a lot of opposition to them, but the Republicans bullied their way into those wars to get energy and to support some dicey foreign policies and support some of their friends' corporations.  Deregulation of the banking sector by a mostly Republican Congress put everyone in danger financially.  The worst financial crisis in 70 years hit the country and the world and it was started by that action.  The government has created this problem.  It has been building for decades really, and both official parties are somewhat to blame, although I do believe the Republicans have done the most damage.  And what was the driver behind the governments?  Wealthy corporations (and businesses).

But ... the rich company owner, the one trying to build the largest house in the United States - well, he's not responsible for the irresponsible actions of his government - even if it was the party he voted for that caused most of the problems.  That has nothing to do with him - he's just a business owner employing lots of people.  That's all.  He's not responsible for what the government does.  Except that he and other people like him elected said government. 

Well, let me tell you something.  This is the part that sucks about democracy.  We are all part of the system.  And when the chips are down, we all have to pull together to fix things - just the same as if a family is in financial crisis - if a family is in trouble, then the one with the most money helps out the most.  That's just what happens.  Doesn't matter who you voted for.  The government is everyone's government once it's elected. 

But if the asshole who helped vote in the party who spent so much money on irresponsible wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who can afford to build the biggest fucking house in North America, is so self-centered that he doesn't think he should pay a larger share of taxes, then maybe he doesn't deserve to live in a democracy that supports such a business as his.  Because without the system that needs his support, he would have no company.

If he is catering to the wealthy, then he can charge a little more for his service, and help his government to pay for their irresponsible wars and banking practices.  His clients have made enough money to go to exotic locales because of past government loopholes and generous tax rates.  And without those banking practices and the extreme wealth they created for the 1%, well, he wouldn't have a business serving that 1%, would he?

He cries a good line, but he's just plain wrong.  When you live in a country with roads that allow you and your employees to get to your office, schools that educate your employees, hospitals that keep you and your employees in working condition, an electrical grid that feeds your computers, a sewer system that takes away your shit, an industrial complex that allows an outrageously large vacation company to even exist, along with all the other public services that allow you to run your business .... and an army and a space program and public television .... well, guess what??  You have to pay your share.  And if your share of the pie is outrageously large, then you pay an outrageously large amount of tax on it.  Because that's how it works.  The other way - where the rich get to be rich and the money will trickle down to the poorer people in the form of jobs ... well, that is NOT how it works.  That theory doesn't work in practice at all.

And if the rich can't suck it up and maybe not build that 90,000 square foot house (which, the poor lad has had to put on hold because his finances just aren't what they should be right now - WAH!), then it will be the middle class, the poor, and the elderly who end up carrying the burden.  And that is not a way for a country to thrive - that is a way for the elite to thrive - which is the point this man is trying to cling so desperately to.

None of it seems fair.  But life ain't fair.  Grow up and live with it.  That's part of living in a democracy.  Government actions need to be paid for - and since the government didn't pay for those wars before they got into them, well ... they have to find some way to pay for them now.

Oh - and I cry crocodile tears for this incredibly wealthy man who sacrificed so much of his life for his business.  Sorry, Sweetheart ... life is a choice.  He made every one of those choices that he's complaining about.  He gets the good along with the bad from those choices he made.  

Just like we all do with our own choices.

After writing all of that, I found this trailer.  It just makes this whole thing even more ridiculous.

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