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The greedy rich


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There is a common line of thinking today that the economy is like a pie. If someone is wealthy, it's because they took part of someone else's slice of that pie.

I believe thee is more pie being made every day, and how much pie you have has no bearing on my pie. If I could make some wealthy person suddenly destitute, it would not change my lot in life whatsoever.

If many people who spend their life despising successful people, and making excuses for their own failure would put some of that energy and drive into a productive pursuit, they'd soon become successful themselves, but it's easier to hate and make excuses than to jump in there and take a chance or two for one's self.

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23 minutes ago, MP5_Rizzo said:

I'm really trying to figure this one out.  I sense some anger or jealousy.  Are people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates but not limited to these two only, greedy rich or are they brilliant businessmen?

I see the difference as how many people they trampled to get where they are. Also a good indicator is if they feel themselves above the rules we are obliged to follow.

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1 hour ago, gregintenn said:

I've gone about it from a totally different direction from MacGyver. I took the path of least resistance. A slow , but more sure path to financial independence if you will.  Although I am not averse to risk, my wife is. We've both worked hard and advanced in our jobs to the point where we make a very comfortable living, and are on track to retire at a very early age. Perhaps then, I can talk her into taking a more adventurous path.

As always, MacGyver has many good points to ponder in his post. A stable family, and I'll add, a family that promotes a good work ethic and the importance of education, gives a young person a huge leg up on the competition.

About the only thing I disagree with him on is the white privilege part. There's no reason, real or perceived, that a minority cannot achieve success with hard work and ambition. In many ways, current government regulations stack the odds in their favor. I will say that far too many minorities aren't raised in the a fore mentioned stable, two parent household.

I've tried, and hope and pray, that we've done a decent job raising our children with the necessary tools to become successful.

I have mixed feelings on this white privilege. I think the idea is that if you are born into a successful or wealthy family you are more likely to also become wealthy.

I do think that being born into a poor family may make your path harder but not impossible. I agree that this is often used as an excuse. I've seen it go both ways. I've known kids that were born into solid middle class families turn out to be completely worthless due to their own choices.

...deleted my last paragraph, came across different than I intended.

 

 

Edited by Erik88
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57 minutes ago, Ronald_55 said:

I see the difference as how many people they trampled to get where they are. Also a good indicator is if they feel themselves above the rules we are obliged to follow.

It's entirely possible at this point  that Bill Gates will be remembered for his charity more than his role at Microsoft.  His obituary will at the very least have two distinctive parts.  

I've worked for Microsoft, and one thing you will not hear from their employees is that their management team has gotten rich by stepping on their employees' backs. Microsoft has made a few billionaires and thousands of millionaires. 

Warren Buffett is probably a bit of an anomaly. At the very least he's a mathematical savant was also in the right place at the right time. Fun fact about Buffett, though.  He basically gave his entire fortune to Bill and Melinda Gates a few years ago on one condition - that the entire fortune be spent on charitable work in their lifetimes. 

 

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13 minutes ago, MacGyver said:

It's entirely possible at this point  that Bill Gates will be remembered for his charity more than his role at Microsoft.  His obituary will at the very least have two distinctive parts.  

I've worked for Microsoft, and one thing you will not hear from their employees is that their management team has gotten rich by stepping on their employees' backs. Microsoft has made a few billionaires and thousands of millionaires. 

Warren Buffett is probably a bit of an anomaly. At the very least he's a mathematical savant was also in the right place at the right time. Fun fact about Buffett, though.  He basically gave his entire fortune to Bill and Melinda Gates a few years ago on one condition - that the entire fortune be spent on charitable work in their lifetimes. 

 

Rich people giving away their riches didn't impress Jesus.

Mark 12:41-44

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,[j] which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

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22 hours ago, monkeylizard said:

The simple answer is scarcity. Rare things are worth more than plentiful things. Ditch diggers are plentiful. CEOs with financial sense, leadership skills, and political connections are rare.

The complete answer is far more nuanced than that, but in general, the principal holds true.

Sure, but what I am talking about is the CEOs who, apparently, don't have financial sense, leadership skills and so on.  If the CEO had those things then chances are that the company would be doing well enough to provide raises to its employees.  Instead, the CEO gets let go (finally) because he or she has done a piss-poor job and the company has done poorly as a result yet that CEO gets more money for failing (golden parachute) than the people who are successfully doing their jobs for the company will ever see while the company pleads poverty and says they can't afford to give raises to the people who are actually doing their jobs successfully and correctly.  Then, after doing a piss-poor job at that company said CEO will land another high level job at another company and just might be replaced at his old company by someone who did a piss poor job at their previous place of employment - yet received hundreds of millions of dollars for doing so.  As I said, these people - who did such a piss poor job that their companies needed bailing out with taxpayer dollars - still got their bonuses when the bailout money came through. 

Further, this idea that all anyone has to do is 'work toward' being a CEO is about as realistic as thinking you can flap your arms and fly if you just 'believe' strongly enough.  You might have that one guy who manages to glide to the next rooftop due to a freak combination of prevalent wind, baggy clothing and dumb luck but the general outcome is going to be a big splatter stain on the pavement below.  I am not talking about people who bust their butts as business owners.  I am talking about high-level CEOs who got started on the path to where they are as much as or even more because daddy played golf with the company owner and said owner started junior off as an assistant VP than because of their KSAs or hard work..  In other words, I agree with you on 'connections'.  Unfortunately, often those 'connections' seem to be more important than skill, knowledge or a willingness to work hard.  I am not saying that some CEOs don't have skill, knowledge and a willingness to work hard.  I am simply saying that, without the connections, a person could be just as skilled, just as knowledgeable and just as willing to work hard and could still have no, real chance of attaining such a position in a company.  Should that person's skill, knowledge and willingness to work hard for the company not also be rewarded?  Would not an ethical business want to operate in such a manner that such people would be rewarded rather than taken for granted, used up and tossed away?

Oh, and let's see the CEO get to that important meeting where he can utilize his financial sense, leadership skills and connections when all the roads are closed due to flooding because the "ditch diggers" didn't do their job.  Again, I am not saying that the ditch diggers should be making CEO pay.  I am just saying that, in order for things to work correctly, every job is important.  If the job weren't important in some way then said job would probably be eliminated.

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34 minutes ago, SWJewellTN said:

Rich people giving away their riches didn't impress Jesus.

Mark 12:41-44

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,[j] which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

Yeah, I don't think it lets them cut in line come judgement day - either grace is sufficient or it's not. 

The above was just my personal admiration of two people who have given away their earnings.  Warren Buffett is weird - I don't necessarily agree with much that comes out of his mouth when it comes to politics.  But, I find it interesting that unlike say the Ford Foundation which has outlived the vision of its founder by 70 years, or other "foundations" that are really about passing down wealth, the intent of this foundation is to spend itself out of existence. 

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1 hour ago, SWJewellTN said:

Rich people giving away their riches didn't impress Jesus.

Mark 12:41-44

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,[j] which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

Jesus is impressed with the spirit of the giving rather than the size of the gift.

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1 hour ago, Erik88 said:

I have mixed feelings on this white privilege. I think the idea is that if you are born into a successful or wealthy family you are more likely to also become wealthy.

I do think that being born into a poor family may make your path harder but not impossible. I agree that this is often used as an excuse. I've seen it go both ways. I've known kids that were born into solid middle class families turn out to be completely worthless due to their own choices.

...deleted my last paragraph, came across different than I intended.

 

 

I've also seen many times, a rich, spoiled kid grow up to destroy himself with drugs, gambling, etc., and pizz away the family fortune. You are correct. It can go either way.

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Warren Buffett is probably a bit of an anomaly. At the very least he's a mathematical savant was also in the right place at the right time.


In the HBO special Becoming Warren Buffet, he freely admits that luck had a huge hand in how well he's done. He even gave the odds on his being born a white male in America when he came into the world, basically saying that already started him on the right track if he wanted to work hard to take advantage of it.

Highly recommend that special for anyone to watch.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk. OhShoot very much likes to know when we're using Tapatalk.

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20 hours ago, Erik88 said:

I have mixed feelings on this white privilege.

Not me.  I think it is absolute B.S.  As you said, being born into a wealthy or successful family gives an advantage but there are 'minorities' who are born into wealthy, successful families and there are plenty of white people who are born into families that don't have a pot to piss in.  The wealth, influence or success one is born into is going to trump skin color every time.

I have a lot more in common with the black man who gets up and goes to work every day and works a regular job to pay his bills than either of us has in common with Barack Obama or Donald Trump.  However, as long as the 'powers that be' can keep racial tension stirred up then the general population will never take a look around and see that it is people in the circles in which the Obamas and Trumps of the world operate - regardless of skin color - who are screwing the rest of us - regardless of skin color.  These folks have the money and power and they use that money and power to make sure that they keep the money and power which means keeping most of the rest of us 'in our place' - regardless of skin color.  That 'white privilege' garbage is just another tool used to keep folks from looking behind the curtain.  The only color that really matters is money green.

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7 hours ago, JAB said:

That 'white privilege' garbage is just another tool used to keep folks from looking behind the curtain.  The only color that really matters is money green.

I think "privilege" may be the wrong term to apply, though it's taken root for repetition if nothing else, so we're stuck with it..   But if all things (education, opportunity, personal drive, connections, ect.) are relatively equal, I find it quite easy to believe that a black individual will have a disadvantage in comparison to a white individual in pursuing the same objectives.  Kind of like starting a race at different starting points along the track, but not adjusting the finish line to compensate. 

If nothing else, they have to overcome all the latent and not so latent prejudices and misconceptions that forces them to prove they're not "that kind" of black person.

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That goes both ways, there are plenty of blacks that get a pass because of the perceived discrimination they may of experienced. There are many "shops" that have a large percentage of blacks, but nobody complains, but let it be the opposite and all hell breaks loose. You remember the big to-do about the grammys, or the academy awards?

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On 5/5/2017 at 6:02 PM, btq96r said:

I think "privilege" may be the wrong term to apply, though it's taken root for repetition if nothing else, so we're stuck with it..   But if all things (education, opportunity, personal drive, connections, ect.) are relatively equal, I find it quite easy to believe that a black individual will have a disadvantage in comparison to a white individual in pursuing the same objectives.  Kind of like starting a race at different starting points along the track, but not adjusting the finish line to compensate. 

If nothing else, they have to overcome all the latent and not so latent prejudices and misconceptions that forces them to prove they're not "that kind" of black person.

But all things are not equal and never are.  People who are from wealthy/privileged families will have an advantage regardless of skin color.  This means that there are some black people, Asian people and so on who are a damn sight more 'priveledged' than the average white person.  Further, you mean to tell me that there aren't a lot more resources, attention and effort devoted to trying to help 'inner city' kids (who are, let's face it, mostly minorities) succeed than there are to making sure that poor, rural (and mostly white) kids succeed?  I am not buying it.  The 'all things being equal' argument is simply not valid, IMO.

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On 5/3/2017 at 3:42 PM, Erik88 said:

I firmly believe the folks that bitch about the rich do it purely out of jealousy. I work with a guy who was complaining about CEO salaries and was stating that by eliminating those salaries it would greatly help the employees. I looked up the Wal-Mart CEO salary, divided it out among the 2.3 million employees and it came out to $8.43 per person.

 

Yep... the people that want to steal from the rich to lift the poor are really bad at math. Envy is a very simple thought process.

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On 5/3/2017 at 3:17 PM, Gotthegoods said:

I have a very liberal friend who is all about your money.

He constantly spouts the greedy rich / exploited worker schtick.

Propaganda at its finest, tell the same story over and over.

I have friends and relatives waaay better off than me financially, I don't covet what they have, what they earn or what they inherited.

I don't think they're greedy because they want to retain what they have or earn more than they have. 

Fair share and the public good.

Who decides what my fair share is, aren't I the public and why am I not asked what is good.

Maybe if my 5 figure tax bill was lower, I would be able to be less greedy and increase my charitable contributions.

you decide your fair share.

 

government complicates this by indoctrinating the masses into the fantasy called social contract granting them the imaginary ability to impose on others for the sake of their subjectively determined good

 

unpopular opinion: you own you

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I have a lot of thoughts about this, but I'll stick to a few for right now - because truthfully at 2200CDT on a Wednesday evening I own and run a small business - and I'm still here, today.  I haven't had a guaranteed payday on Friday in a long, long time.  So, here I am.
Both of our political parties have their hands in our pockets. This isn't a "conservative"/"liberal" thing.  It's an American political thing.  Find more than a handful of our 536 elected representatives in Washington that actually understand what it takes to actually create and sustain a job.  You'll be hard pressed. And, I say that as a small business owner who knows the extraordinary effort it takes to go from zero to one employee.
I am successful.  Truthfully, I am rich.  Maybe not by every metric, but certainly by most. I've been all over the world and I know what poverty looks like.  I don't have to worry about much.  Every time I open the refrigerator, it's like I've won the freaking lottery.  There's good food in there, and I don't have to worry about whether or not it's going to make me sick, or whether there's still going to be some in there tomorrow.
Success is a funny thing, though.  I work hard.  I work really hard.  But, as it turns out, that's not the single biggest indicator of success.  In America today, the single biggest indicator of success is the level at which you can tolerate risk.  And, as it turns out, I can tolerate a fair bit.  Some of that is the product of decisions I made earlier in my life, but a lot of that is also luck and privilege.  You can discount it, but sitting where I sit today as the managing director of one company and the CEO of a new company, those last two factors are significant.  What plays into those?  
A non-exhaustive list off top of my head:
  • I come from a two-parent home
  • I never once worried about my safety at home or whether or not I would have food to eat in the morning
  • I went to good schools where teachers knew my name, cared if I did well, and by and large actually knew something about the subject they were teaching
  • I graduated from high school
  • I graduated from college with no debt - scholarships and the fact that my parents were able to fund the rest of my education
  • I went to graduate school
  • I started a little business with a couple of friends in the 90's that was in the right place at the right time
  • We met some people who took a liking to us who happened to worth a whole lot of money - and they mentored us
  • I waited until I was married to have kids
  • My wife worked while I got my first company off the ground - and she had good benefits
  • I'm white - discount that if you want - but I walked into a bank that I've never been into in my life today and the bank president walked me out when I left
  • On the rare occasion that the police come into my neighborhood, they always address me as sir.
  • I've always had reliable transportation - or lived in a place that had public transportation so good you didn't need it
  • My family has not gotten any serious illness or disease
  • My wife is able to parent with me so that I don't have to worry about childcare so I can go to work - it doesn't even cross my mind - if my schedule changes, it's not a huge deal.
Can you take away one or more of those things and still be successful? Sure.  But, you're going to have to work a lot harder at it than I do - and probably for a lot longer.  The fact of the matter is that now, at 42, I can start a brand new company, and it's likely that it'll be successful.  I'm good at what I do, but the only reason I'm starting it is because I have both an opportunity AND the ability at this point in my life to take advantage of it.
As to a CEO having a huge compensation plan while stepping on the backs of employees, there are some giant problems in America today.  Frankly, the economy is being looted by financiers.  So many CEO's today aren't adding much value - they're just in a position to be able to extract as many assets of value from the companies they're heading as they can.  See Sears, JC Penney, Radio Shack, Kmart, et al right now if you need examples.
I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you how I see it.  I'm pretty generous with my employees. I look at it in two ways.  First, you can have a large piece of a small pie, or a smaller piece of a much larger pie.  I try pretty hard to bring more people to the table and give equity away generously.  In doing so, yes, I own a smaller percentage of the company.  But, there are a lot of people who suddenly have an equity stake in it doing well.  What do you think they're going to do with that?  My experience shows that they work a lot harder to create value.  And, having been through it a couple of times, instead of having 80% of something that's not worth that much, I have maybe 25% of something that's worth 10 times as much.  In my experience, it works out better for everyone.  
I also look at it from a Biblical perspective - actually an ancient Jewish perspective.  In the 23rd Psalm, there's the idea of the Lord filling a cup until it overflows.  In the ancient Jewish tradition, there was no idea of individual blessing/salvation - it was all community based.  So, when your cup overflows it's not wasted - instead it flows out into the community around you.  And, everyone is better off because of it.
Sure, I don't much care for having the government tell me what to do with my money.  I would just assume they left me the heck alone.  But, that is coming from a position of privilege.
The truth of the matter is that while I'd love it if our churches, communities and civic organizations took care of our local communities - we suck at it.  And as we embrace the politics of 'the other' over the gospel, it's getting worse.  I can think back to the flood in 2010.  We have a major church in Nashville that was built with the intention of being a disaster relief shelter.  But, when the time came to put it to use, they didn't - because it would be disruptive to services, and liability, and insurance, and safety, and our kids, and whatever...
Every last one of us depends on the government for way too much.  And, that's unlikely to change anytime soon.  I grumble and moan every time I write a big check to the government for taxes.  But, as individuals we've become way too dependent.  And it's not like our churches are going to step up.  Western individualism has run completely amok in American christianity.  
So, it's a question that doesn't have a discrete answer that fits into a neat little partisan box.  Do I "deserve" more because I work hard for it? Maybe?  I probably deserve more than the Instagram starlets.  But there are plenty of single moms that work every bit as hard as I do every day as vet techs or as medical assistants or teachers or at Target for that matter.  There are women at the Target up the street that I know for a fact are there from open until close most days.  
I am in a position by luck, privilege and effort that allows me to tolerate a lot of risk - and that will more often than not lead to success.  That's the easy part.  It gets a lot harder from there.
 

This is the kind of citizen we need more of!


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