Americans don’t hate rich people. Many Americans actually admire rich people. As a matter of fact most Americans (you know who you are) would really, really like to become rich people! For the majority of Americans; money itself is not a bad thing. What Americans hate is; people doing bad things to get their money.
An honest successful person who makes a bundle of bucks is something lots of Americans enjoy seeing. We don’t resent a talented athlete who makes millions for playing a game and millions more from endorsements. We understand athletes can only make that kind of money because the public voluntarily goes to the stadium or watches on TV because they enjoy the athlete’s performance. We don’t have to support them, but we want to; because they entertain us. The same applies to movie stars, country singers, pro-wrestlers, rappers and anyone else in the broad range of what we call entertainment here in America. We chose to pay them big money; not because we have to. The voluntary way in which we make people rich in this country can also be found in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The many variations on the computer, cell phone and other personal electronic devices have made some people grandly wealthy. But their acquisition of riches has been mostly based on our appetite for the newest, fastest, feature rich device or system they come up with. If we just wanted a cell phone we could do very nicely with the technology available years ago. But since we chose to have a device that does everything from telling us where on earth we are to telling us in excruciating detail what every single person we know is doing or thinking at the moment, we keep buying smaller and better things. And in so indulging ourselves; make the communications entrepreneurs very wealthy indeed.
We don’t mind spending our money, and in the process making rich the people and companies we feel provide us with what we want. That goes for high end homes, expensive cars, designer clothes, special vacation spots and a whole host of other optional spending choices. As long as we feel the choice to buy or not to buy, for whatever reason, is ours; we don’t resent or hate the people getting rich by virtue of our spending. If any of the entities we patronize stop pleasing or entertaining us; we can and do just stop buying what they are selling and transfer our purchases to other entity, or not.
However when we feel that people or corporations are taking advantage of us by ever increasing the price for things that are necessities ‘” the things we don’t have any choice about buying; that is when we begin to resent their getting rich from the money we have to give to them. We get angry and even hate who ever we blame for things like; the price of gasoline at the pump going up 25-30% in a few months. And whether we blame OPEC, Big Oil & Gas or some un-named cabal of international power players, we feel; since we have no choice but to use their product or stay home – they are taking advantage of any number of world circumstances as an excuse to raise the price of their product. When people acquire great wealth because they have us literally and figuratively over a barrel; we correctly think they are cheating and thus stealing from us ‘” and we justifiably hate it and them.
When the Gangsters of Wall Street set-up bad mortgages, then bundled and sold them with disclosing the garbage the bundles contains, and then insured even bigger profits by betting against the bundles they sold others; the American people knew they were being cheated and robbed. When the U.S. government used unimaginable amounts of taxpayer money to bail out the thieves of Wall Street; the American people were rightly outraged at everyone involved. Washington said they had no choice but to help the Gangsters not to fail; but most of us knew that Washington should have been watching the crooks all along to make sure things didn’t get out of hand they way they did. We also saw that both the party of big business ‘” the Republicans and the party supposedly of the working people of this country ‘” the Democrats, were both equally sharing in taking care of the unjustly wealthy and not doing anything to protect the working people’s pensions and life savings. Washington let them keep their enormous salaries and even more enormous bonuses even though they did a whole bunch of wrong and criminal things. Not a single Wall Street Gangster has gone to jail and not a single penny they stole was returned. Americans were again rightfully angry at all involved and resentful that our money was used to help out the crooks of the financial and insurance industry by their friends in Washington in exchange for contributions and future jobs.
When Big Energy doesn’t pay any U.S. income tax due to tricky off shore accounting and yet still gets allowances, credits and other tax breaks; we resent their wealth. We resent it because it’s stolen from the rest of us who have to pay a higher share of our income in taxes to make up for the corporate taxes the wealthy don’t pay. It also feels like our money is being stolen by the wealthy when Washington allows our money to be used to pay multi-billionaire landowners to grow subsidized corn and then pay them even more to turn $4 of corn into $3 of bad automobile fuel. The same thoughts about corporate thievery by the wealthy apply to all of the subsidies, boondoggles, mark-ups and various other special interest deals that come down the pike. And in each and every case, we the people, hate the fact that all this great wealth is being acquired at our expense. We hate the fact that this money is literally being taken from our pockets by undeserving rich people through their corruption of our government.
So American’s hatred is not of the rich themselves, just because they are rich. It is how they got rich that earns some of the wealth our justifiable enmity. It is the fact they didn’t really earn the wealth honestly; but rather that they used unscrupulous, illegal and immoral means to take it from their fellow citizens. We hate only the rich who stole their wealth from the honest hard working citizens of this country. We rightly feel these people didn’t work hard or smart for their money, but broke faith and the social contract they had with the rest of us by using the people’s elected officials in Washington and other places to do their dirty work for them; to steal and redistribute our wealth to this handful of corrupt and corrupting individuals.
The warfare that exists in today’s America is not class warfare of the rich against the poor. It is warfare of the dishonest against the honest citizens of this country. In fact the poor and the rich can be found as allies in both camps. The vast majority of Americans both rich and poor are honest people. They are willing, in fact eager for the chance to work hard and gain some wealth by creating it with their hands and their minds. A small number of Americans, both rich and poor are dishonest. They will steal a little or a lot from their neighbors or from strangers alike, depending on the opportunity. The poor thieves among us create personal problems and tragedies for the individuals whom they pray upon. The rich thieves do the same harm, but on a much larger scale. The number of victims hurt and the volume of money they take is exponentially greater and the damage they do to our system of democracy is infinitely more substantial.
The warfare we are involved in is, in reality, that of the criminals against the honest citizens of this country. Although it looks at the present time as if the criminals are winning; Americans have faced, fought and won wars against criminals before. The Robber Barons of the turn of the 20th Century were as proportionately wealthy and connected to governmental power as any of the Corporate Gangsters of the present; but smart, brave leadership from people like Teddy Roosevelt and his administration, busted the Trusts and saved this country from them. Al Capone and the many other gangsters of the Roaring Twenties were as evil and predatory as any drug cartel around today; but a thoughtful, enlightened approach to decriminalizing the production and sale of alcohol by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration turned the tide and quickly ended that war. President Dwight D. Eisenhower ended the useless bloodshed of the Korean War and kept the feared Communist menace in check by the measured, judicious use of the threat of America’s military power; not by actually sending hundreds of thousands on boots onto another country’s ground. President Richard Nixon gave the EPA the important responsibility and significant power to protect this country’s air, water and environment from the excesses of corporate interests, and business still thrived. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all raised taxes and in turn the better balance in our nation’s economy returned and our economy grew substantially.
Each and every time America has faced warfare or opposition from the rapaciously atavistic very rich; we have overcome them despite their greed and power. We have beaten them back, restored our commitment to the core values of this country, and the country has prospered all the more and been better in every way. The criminal over reaching by a few of the power hungry and greedy uber-wealthy in this country and around the world is nothing new and nothing we haven’t prevailed against before. We have prevailed because American civilization is not based on economic class or pitting the rich against the poor, but on all Americans being of equal rights and citizenship. Both the honest rich and the honest poor and all honest Americans in between have everything to gain by defending our country from the dishonest, rich or poor. It is a war as old as our country; but many times the inherent strength of our democratic, citizen based, civilization has beaten this enemy. Now it appears we have to do so again ‘” and we will.