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Past Twilight the back story

The rich: how rich should we let them become.

"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."   F Scott Fitzgerald

Spring 2011 

Twitter Point: The rich are always going to do better than the rest of us. But if this country doesn't curtail the greed of the rich, most of us won't be able to afford those made in China bargains from Walmart.

  The main villains of my novel Past Twilight aren't as rich as the very rich F Scott Fitzgerald is talking about. However, in the town they control, they are the very rich in that town. They have the greed to become the upper tier rich. They are just not sharp enough to figure out how to do it. 

   Certainly, I am not an expert. My opinions are based on a lifetime of observing how things work or don't work in our society. I have the same knowledge that most of my fellow Americans should be getting. I'm not going to dish out a lot of facts, because most of the facts a lot of people already know about. The people in this country are given enough facts. They are not taking the time to interpret the facts. To many people in this country can't get past political talking points. Maybe someday Apple will invent an app for their iphones that decodes what pundits and politicians are really saying and which group really benefits from the nonsense they are spewing over the various medias. Until then you the reader need to find the truth on your own. 

   I believe the most crucial thing this country needs to do, before they can try to solve other problems, is to curb the excesses of the rich. I would even go further and state that most of the problems of the human race stem from a small group of people who try to have most of the wealth and power and will do whatever they can get away with to make sure things stay that way. The names may change but the concept is as old as the human race.

   The rich are like that mystical 800-pound gorilla in the room. They are taking up all the oxygen in the room and everybody is afraid to complain for fear of what that gorilla might do. Other people are so stupid or grossly not paying attention that they don't even know a gorilla is in the room. Ridiculous you say, well keep reading and try to give it some thought.

   I remember a time when we had a large and prosperous middle class in this country. We were the envy of the world and number-one  in all manufacturing. The rich who owned manufacturing plant(s) were making a good living, but they weren't making enough profits to satisfy the greed of some of the owners.  The workers in their plants were being paid too much.  Especially in the union plants where the workers had too many health care and pension benefits.  Most of these plants were in the industrial north(the same north whose plants helped our military win world war II).  So several plant owners started moving their plants down south. Here, they would find workers so desperate for a job that they wouldn't even think about forming a union to get the same pay and benefits of the northern workers.  That certainly worked for a while, until some of the rich started building manufacturing plants in other countries where they could get their new non-union workers for pennies a day. Some may say the rich moved to other countries because they couldn't compete with other countries like Japan and China whose governments not only would subsidize their companies but also made sure it was difficult for America to sell products in those countries but not for American companies to get rich importing their products into our country.  Why can't we tell a country like China that from now on if we buy x amount of products from your country, we expect to sell the same amount of products to your country?  Hah, hah, bye now you must think I'm on drugs to make such a suggestion. Especially since we borrowed so much from China to make possible the war against Iraq that the same Chinese wouldn't support in the UN. Some may think that the Chinese are a lot smarter than us. I don't. I think the rich multi-national American companies made deals that worked for them at the expense of their fellow Americans. This they never could have done without the help of our politicians. Have you ever wondered why our country hasn't done the same thing and why only our unions have been in the forefront of trying to create tariffs for goods coming from those countries? Yes, I know a tariff is like a tax on goods and that the consumer ends up paying that tax. But what if we used that money to help increase the manufacturing jobs in this country.  What is more important in the long run - cheap goods or better jobs? The rich and their political lackeys, mostly Republicans but also some Democrats, have labeled tariffs as 'Protectionism'. Protectionism for who? One thing is certain. Something smells.
   Of course if you take away the manufacturing jobs that pay a good salary, who was going to buy their products. That's when companies like Walmart came along that brought products from countries who had a plentiful supply of slave labor workers. Now low pay service workers could  buy low cost goods from foreign companies that the rich used to destroy our manufacturing jobs.   And that is how we stopped being a nation of producers and became a nation of consumers. If you don't believe me, check all the products like electronics, clothes and all the other essentials you need to live on. How many are made in the USA?  Even our declining auto industry, has a lot of their automobile parts made elsewhere. Eventually, all the foreign products are going to cost a lot more as the living standards in those counties improve. The real question is what is going to happen when a nation of Walmart employees tries to buy stuff that they no longer can afford to buy? But you say, we are on our way to becoming a nation of high-tech jobs. Yes, but how many of our citizens are prepared academically or financially to get the education needed to get one of those high-tech jobs. What kind of country will we have when we have two classes of citizens: the rich and educated versus the rest of the country.  I don't know the answer to that question, but I bet a lot rich people have the answer.
   I'm not saying that everybody should lock and load their 2nd amendment shooting arms and go out hunting the rich. Further, I'm not saying that all the rich are parasites. Some even have a social conscience, but I doubt that they are the top tier of the rich. Somebody has to have more money than most of us. Every year million of Americans buy their lotto tickets in the hope of becoming rich. Money may not solve all our problems, but it is much better to be rich with problems than to be poor with problems. Would we like a country where everybody  gets the same as everybody else? Of course not, such a country would be totally dysfunctional, because nobody would have an incentive to do anything. People would look around and see some perceived lazy no-good  parasite getting the same as they do, and they would go nuts.  The communist system tried to promote that sort of junk idea and in the end communism was pretty much destroyed. Even in communism you still had rich people who are living good off of the backs of the people. The only difference between communism and capitalism is that in communism the rich didn't get rich enough to satisfy the rich in those countries. I'm sure there are many reasons for the death of communism, but that would be my favorite reason.

 

   As far as I can tell we have always had rich people on earth. Even with cavemen someone or someone's were always doing better than the other cavemen. From time to time, you hear about people protesting in the streets. Doesn't matter what country's people are protesting, it is always about the haves and the have nots. It's about people who don't have much in life and they want a little of some of the stuff the rich have in abundance - they want to become middle class. Naturally, the rich are not going to give anything without a fight. They have spent a lifetime accumulating power and money off of the backs of 'the little people'. And now 'the little people' have the nerve to want some of that money back.

   I believe at some point a person looking to be rich reaches the point where they have enough money to satisfy all of their wants - even their big time fantasy wants.  At that point, they are only in it to accumulate more money. I believe the term is greed. I believe greed is an additive disease similar to gambling, drugs or alcohol. Usually most rich people as they get into their senior years get off this addition.  Some become benefactors and proclaim they are now going to help 'the little people'(of course they never say little people -but clearly, the people who they give the money to are not on their level, or so they think). Usually, you will see their name on some medical or college building. The new rich like to do good deeds in those countries around the world that are much poorer than our own. But, and here is my point, what about all the people in this country who they have screwed or have helped them become rich. They get nothing because there isn't great PR in helping the people you have screwed or used. And their only friends, fellow rich people, would call them a traitor and stupid.

   So we are always going to have rich people, the only real question is. How rich should we let the rich become? Without  some sort of restraint put on the rich they will keep getting rich until 'the little people' have no more to give and our country becomes one of those banana republics that you hear about on TV. Maybe our arm forces will invade us for a regime change.  We 'the little people' either work for the rich or buy the products of the rich. We 'the little people' are the essential  ingredients to becoming rich.  Of course, some of us work in the public sector and therefore don't work directly for the rich, but we do buy the products of the rich.  If you pay attention to the news, you can see that the rich want few public employees. Especially, the rich who made  their fortune selling private contractor services to our local, state and federal agencies. When your local or state politician talks about less government that is what they are really talking about.  Love those no-bid contracts. Cost overruns, no problem.

   Some reform is needed, if only to protect the rich against themselves. Greed is an addiction and we as a society need to treat it with tough love. If it is true that the rich don't pay their fair share of taxes because of various loopholes(unlike the rest of us rich people can get our political reps to change the tax laws in their favor), then we need to eliminate the loopholes. In 2010 the rich conglomerate GE paid not one cent of tax. While I don't know how they did it, I'm willing to bet $10 that it was all legal. Imagine you as a private citizen made what GE made in 2010 and you decided not to pay taxes?   One thing the rich would oppose is a flat tax system where depending on how much you make you pay a percentage of all your earnings(every single way you have made money) in taxes.  No deductions of any kind allowed. One way to find out how a flat tax would work would be to compare how much taxes are currently paid by the rich compared to a flat tax. The rich, especially those who hide behind their big corporations will always find ways to get around their obligations to society, but at least some of their excesses, especially the ones that corrupt our political system will be curved somewhat.

  The rich and the politicians who front for them are always talking about privatizing(read big profits for wall street) social security to save social security.  My idea is different from their idea. If the rich become rich off of the backs of 'little people', then social security can be a vehicle for giving some of that money back. I believe that there shouldn't be a limit of how much money that social security takes from the rich.  If us 'little people' pay a fixed rate on our wage earnings than so should the rich.  I believe that there should be a limit on how much social security pays back in payments to the rich. Yes, that's right the rich will help pay for some of the social security payments of us 'little people'. Some people may call that communism. I just call it justice for 'the little people'. The rich and their political reps will say if you do this, we are not going to create great products like the iPad. I say let us call their bluff.

   We 'the little people' control how rich we should allow the rich to become. Unfortunately, we have allowed the rich to operate in a fog, the same fog that criminals use to cover up their criminal activities. Only the rich have their battalions of lawyers and political lackeys to make everything seem okey dokey and to shine the light elsewhere. In the ninety's, we had cheating wellfare mothers and today we have lazy no-good  union workers. Both groups in their wildest fantasies couldn't begin to screw us like the rich have done and will continue to do.

   We have been given an overload of information except for what the rich are doing. We know the names of every bimbo Starlet strung out on drugs, but how much do we really know about who gets what and why. Until enough American start paying attention, the rich will always be one step(make that a giant step) ahead of us.  Until we lift that fog we will always be the 'little people' with our hands out expecting something and getting nothing.


 Please let your elected officials know how you feel. Copy and paste your Comments on to their web pages. 

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

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The Brave New World
Jack from Ocean Beach
Thanks to the Supreme Court in the 'Citizens United'' case the rich can throw plenty of money toward the candidate who is their type of guy. Some rich people are even running for office themselves and are no longer content to be the power behind the power. This is called getting rid of the middle man.
Eventually, this will benefit us all when as taxpayers we don't have to pay for the salary of the politicians and their staff that we elect. No, this will be paid by private contributions. Eventually all out government buildings will be sponsored by corporate donations. The White House might be called the Exon Mobile House. The Lincoln bedroom might be called the GE bedroom with imagination. Even Mitt Rommey might get a toilet seat named after him. This might be his only real chance to get into the White House.
Posted at 11:23:am 02/28/12
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