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E Pluribus Unum

It’s Friday, and I probably should post something light and happy.  But, I’ve needed to write this for so long, and after getting the all’s clear yesterday that Dad was going to be okay- I felt I could finally write this.  Feel free to post respectful dialogue.  If you disagree- that’s okay, I want to hear your opinion.  I only ask that there be no name calling. 

I understand that people want to make money. I’m just as interested in it as the next person (I’d love to retire on a winery).  But what I don’t understand, and don’t think I can ever  understand is how heartily the middle class will defend the slight possibility that they will become millionaires several times over, rather than fight for a more equal distribution of the profits of the businesses they work for.  I’m not talking about communist Russia of old, taking all money from the wealthy and re-distributing it to the workers (and corrupting that with failed policies).  I am however talking about companies that make billions and pay no taxes- about multibillionaires who pay less in taxes (percentage based) than their secretaries because they have privilege and access to accounting geniuses who can help reduce their contribution to this country to next to nothing, contributing more.

It never fails to make me frustrated.  I understand if you think the American Government mis-manages money.   And that you don’t want to give more of your taxes to this mismanagement. But to claim that a Government funded plan to help build more roads, schools, bridges, high-speed rail, etc. is a waste of money?  I can’t understand.  Unless the politicians are burning the money in a fire place, this is not a waste.  Is it possible people are being paid more?  Maybe.  Is that money still going back to local construction workers, truckers, and service individuals?  YES! Putting money into the hands of the middle class is not a waste of money.

Asking those who are sitting on stockpiles of wealth that they will never spend in their life, and probably even in their children’s lives to create jobs is not asking for a handout. It’s not asking them to be unfair.  It’s saying you benefited from the advantages this country gave you (whether it was the school that educated you- and if you went to a private school, I’m betting your teachers may not have, to the roads you use to get to work, and the internet that you may use to conduct business) to make it easier to create your wealth.  If you want to be the type of person who sits on their money to do more than swim through it like Scrooge McDuck- all the more power to you.

But how does the guilt not eat you alive?  How do you make more than your employees and have your wealth  be so drastically different than that of the people YOU rely on to make your money, keep your house, teach your children, and protect your wealth.  No man is an island and no business makes money on its own.  How do you receive government subsidies and tax breaks and then move your business overseas.  How do you plunder our natural resources and fail to appreciate that those natural resources are making you wealthy and threaten our future?

I guess, I’m just frustrated. Living in a city where Occupy Wall Streeters are being treated like crap and job applications thrown at them, really has made my blood boil.  Why are you defending that one in a 100 million chance that you are going to be ridiculously wealthy?   Why  aren’t you fighting for a better life for your family?  Why aren’t you demanding your business pay you a fair wage and still reward their Executives with a slightly lower golden parachute and a few million as opposed to tens of millions? In the end- all these individuals want is a return to what our country used to be.  A return to some decent and common respect for one another, and the idea that by ourselves we do not prosper.  E Pluribus Unum- “Out of many, One”.  One nation out of many….

I believe that this country would not have become what it is if it wasn’t for the shared community of our earliest settlers.  If it wasn’t for the “pitch in” mentality of the Greatest Generation (that when they went to war were asked to give more not less).  Maybe I’m jaded that there used to be a time that in hard times, rich people didn’t flaunt their money. In the end, I wish things would change.  I wish we could find a legitimate way to ask people to still be capitalists but give a little back.  To understand that investing in their own country is the only way they will keep their business strong for years to come, because people will have money to enjoy your business.

In the end, I still believe E Pluribus Unum.  I believe we can still work together to create a better nation than the one we received.

But we need to have everyone on board – and that includes the 1%  too.

So here’s to the 1%.  I don’t hate you.  But I do ask you to ask yourself if you really need another $10 million sitting in your bank account.  For Christmas this year (if you celebrate) why aren’t you giving your employees a bigger bonus, and reducing yours by a fraction of a percent.  I know $1,000 to you is not a lot, but for some of us, it might as well be a million.




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