Monday, November 5, 2012

money...keep your hands off my stash

One of the contentions in this election is the 'redistribution' of wealth in this country. According to the conventional wisdom the wealthy take that to mean that the poor want to gather the town folk with torches and pitchforks and storm the bank accounts of the rich, although the rich didn't seem to mind so much the redistribution of wealth from the hands of the middle class to theirs.

Personally, I don't know anybody in the working poor, the working class, or the struggling middle class that feels that way. We don't really resent the rich for having money but we don't like the well being of the rest of the population being held down by the unrestrained greed for profit at any cost because that cost is born by the lower classes.

So, yeah, everyone wants to be rich, to not have to worry or struggle but regardless of whatever myth you grew up with, there is no such thing as a level playing field in this country. The kid who is born in the barrio or slum to a mother addicted to drugs with an absent father, who very likely is a gang member, has so much more to overcome than the kid born into a wealthy family that never knows what it means to go to bed hungry night after night and while they both have access to public education, the poor neighborhoods have poor schools while the rich neighborhoods have rich schools. It doesn't really matter how brilliant the poor kid is if he or she is hungry and abused, if the schools he or she has access to aren't well funded. There is no escape when these children have to drop out of school to take care of their younger siblings.

But, back to being rich. How much is enough? At what point does wealth stop being sought after or acquired for ease of living and start being greed? If, as conservatives say, the government can't just manufacture money, then there must be a finite amount of money in the economy.

If there is a finite amount of money in the economy, what purpose does it serve to hoard millions and billions of dollars? Obviously, if you are making 10 or 20 million dollars a year you left need behind long ago. You've bought your mansions around the globe, you've got a private jet and a yacht or two and still you are making more money every year than you can possibly spend.

So the hoarding begins. It's money for money's sake and it seems the more a person has, the more fearful they are that someone wants to take it away from them so they hide it in off-shore accounts. How is that being patriotic?

If there is a finite amount of money in the economy, how does the hoarding of great wealth, the removal of that money from circulation, benefit the country as a whole? If the people who have the money aren't spending it, then there is less in circulation and less that is available to the rest of the population.

This country saw a massive movement of money in the last decade from the hands of the people in the population that spend it into the hands of the 1 or 2 percent of the population that don't spend it. This hoarding of money by the very few has impoverished the nation.

I think there does need to be a redistribution of wealth in this country but not by robbing the rich. The rich need to put that money back into circulation instead of continuing to accumulate it for no other reason than that.

A billionaire who thinks nothing of donating millions to some charity balks at donating the same money to the government, money that could go to funding our schools or to rebuilding our infrastructure. Instead they see it as a virtue to avoid paying the taxes they legally owe, taxes that would not impact their standard of living one bit if they actually paid them.

I read an article today that talked about how all those billions sitting unused is preventing entrepreneurs and small businesses that want to expand from getting financing. The capitalists seem uninterested in capitalism. The people who have the money to invest in the country and the economy aren't doing it, perhaps because they are personally unaffected by the recession.

I read another article recently about a study on compassion. The conclusion was that the more you have the less compassionate you seem to be. People with little will willingly share whatever they have with other people who have less but the ones with more than they can possibly use, hoard it and live in fear that someone is trying to take it away from them.

What the working poor want, what the struggling middle class wants are not free handouts but jobs and decent wages for the work they do and some sense of security that the investments they make in their retirement funds won't be lost by Wall Street, sucked into the hoard of money some billionaire already has. What the country needs is some investment in its infrastructure which is crumbling.

I don't think that's too much to ask for from the people who gained so much from this country.


  1. Excellent post. For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone but about fifteen incredibly, profanely rich guys would vote for Romney.
    As my husband said to someone once, "You're not rich enough to be a Republican."

  2. a very interesting post. i had not considered the slant of the non-investment going on by the wealthy.

  3. Interesting to see what happens, we need something to happen

  4. I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

    "Money is too important to be left to the rich"

  5. As usual you make a ton of sense. It's too bad that "sense" isn't really valued by the people who can effect real change.

  6. Way to go, Ellen.

    The wealthy who argue against capital gains taxes make the argument that their investments fuel the economy, but it seems way more like hoarding.

    As for compassion, I wonder why that so conveniently disappears with added wealth? I thought my mother-in-law was draconian when she said "money is the root of all evil" but maybe she was right.

  7. I also believe all that capital will be withheld another four years if those who hold it are not pleased with the outcome of this election.

  8. In my childhood family- we had a share the wealth for the betterment of all. We pooled our cash and decided where it would best be spent. There was never any greed, or so I thought...My brother broke the rules, robbed my piggie bank and became a bit of a shark. I didn't mind because I thought he was more needy than I, and I loved him. I guess it is a matter of spiritual maturity.
    I love this post, Ms. Ellen! I am voting for YOU!!!

  9. People always say rich people are happier. I don't think so. I do think people become more cynical, shallower, greedy, and phony when they make more money than they need to live on.

    This is a great post Ellen. Thank you!

  10. I know this is on a small scale but my husband's family had a rich person who merely used her money to dangle in front of family. A women with many promises and little truth. The preacher at a defunct church received the same allotment of her neices and nephews. The grand balance was sent to the Baptist Convention to "buy" her way into heaven. This same amount of money divided among the young people she overlooked would have made a major difference in their lives.

  11. Agreed! And it's interesting that the people who "have" always want more. And more, and more. There is never enough.

    I don't make much, but I also don't spend much. I'm happy with that arrangement!

  12. "But, back to being rich. How much is enough? At what point does wealth stop being sought after or acquired for ease of living and start being greed?" Substitute greed for power and you have my thoughts exactly when I first thought them in college. It was then that I realized that I am a socialist. Or at least so sort of hybrid one.

  13. the stats on compassion are so true
    in this storm aftermath I am seeing those with the least resources sharing them the most


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.