We know that money often doesn’t make a person happy. In fact, many of the very wealthy (people completely worry free about how much anything costs now or ever) are quite miserable.
What happens when personal wealth is so great that there’s literally nothing out there that we don’t already own several of? What gets us out of bed in the morning when there’s no challenge, no sense of purpose or nothing new to look forward to because we’ve done it all a hundred times?
Sadly, the one thing that truly gets the juices going is to feel the jealousy/resentment/envy from all who covet what they don’t have. Our desire for another or a bigger or a more luxurious anything is only to place it out there for others to see and want. Even more unpalatable, if & when others do try to develop ways to acquire the things we have, our misery manifests itself by manipulating the system to prevent them from getting it.
Recommended Viewing: History Channel – The Men who Built America – a series about the lives of industrial giants and bankers like John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnagie and JP Morgan. Who they were, what they did and why they were driven to do it.
Remember the first GOP debate ahead of the 2012 election? Michelle Bachman accused Gov. Perry of mandating an inoculation program in Texas for female teens as a payback for contributions from his friends at Merck. Perry’s response was to brag that he had raised millions and was insulted that anyone would accuse him of being bought for the poultry sum of $5,000 like what Merck gave to his campaign. My question is; Why wasn’t he insulted that anyone would accuse him capable of being bought on any topic at any price? Then after Perry made this idiotic remark, why wasn’t there a single guffaw from anyone else on stage? Why wasn’t there a single gasp from anyone in the audience? Why didn’t anyone in the left wing media or Democrats in general raise the roof about this? (they’re normally quick to cry foul at the opposition)
This is clear evidence that we are in trouble far beyond current newsworthy economics. We have become so indoctrinated to cronyism that most of us have accepted it as the American Way. It’s not been what we know but who we know for so long that we don’t see it as a failing in our society. No-one was appalled at Governor Perry’s answer, by and large we accepted his response with a nod of approval.
What can we possibly expect of our elected political leaders but to be mirror images of the people who elect them? We are a society largely motivated only by money, sex, power and unwilling to accept personal responsibility for anything. Truly (despite popular opinion) our leaders do represent a large percentage of the people. We are corrupt – they just have the polish and the brass to show us how it’s done.
Our tendency is to define the middle class in terms of wealth. I believe it has little to do with how much money a person has or hasn’t but more about mindset and what’s in the heart. Most middle class americans don’t focus on great wealth because deep down inside they really do believe that outside of winning the lottery or some other mindless windfall, the only way to acquire it is to wrongly take advantage of others. Equally however… they don’t want to be poor for the very the same reason. In short, they don’t want to cheat people and they don’t want to be cheated. All they want from government is to maintain an uncorrupted system of law and uphold it, allowing truly equal opportunities for everyone to participate in a peaceful free market economy to whatever end they desire… great or small.
In January of 2009, Vice President Joe Biden said the middle class was left out of the last economic boom in America and now suffer because of it. That same year, President Obama supposedly initiated a task force to improve the quality of life for the middle class. ** Many similar comments have been made by different administrations over several decades… all useless political rhetoric.
I would ask that government not create programs that work toward more deeply blending the middle class with that part of our society that has to have it all regardless of the ability to pay for it. Instead, reduce spending of every kind and work toward a balanced federal budget. Limit the scope of government’s social involvement to goals & initiatives meant only to help prevent personal catastrophe rather than offer a leg up… and meaningfully punish all who misuse & abuse that generosity. Promote individual responsibility to mortgage only what can be repaid, applaud the ability to recognize the difference, put on a pedestal the integrity to put both in play and ultimately reward those who demonstrate such responsibility with honesty instead of the other way around. In other-words, do the exact opposite of what government has done for nearly 60 years.
Political rhetoric is valueless. Hardly any talk of importance at all but if we really listen, every now and then we’ll hear whispers of things like… there’s a difference between venture and vulture investments – about making a profit in the name of capitalism regardless of ethics isn’t capitalism – that allowing the letter of the law to trump the spirit of the law is to our detriment. These are nuances to be sure but they and others like them distinguish capitalism from cronyism… they help define the line between a free competitive marketplace and a corrupted system that replaces honest individual gain earned through talent and effort with unimaginable contrasts in wealth created through insider (non-market) advantages. It’s in these cultural nuances where we fail ourselves and it’s a large part of government running amok.
All day long we read about & hear people senselessly bashing each other over being Democrat or Republican/Liberal or Conservative. For whatever reasons, our behavior displays hateful expression that serves only to both polarize and paralyze us. It keeps our focus on the nonsense instead of where it needs to be – and it puts the lambs (us) exactly where the wolves want them to be.
We need to see through this nonsense and recognize we have abandoned constitutional practices that helped make us the envy of the world. We can’t be willing to trade what we were (what we could be again) for the mediocrity that stagnates the rest of the planet. Our notion of financial fairness must pertain to opportunities but not results and never demonize success yet mandate that personal gain be tempered with what’s possible via honesty, ethics, morality and uncorrupted law/legislators. When we held to these things (or at least tried to) we led the world by every imaginable measure. As we stray from them (either by ignorance, corruption or just lack of trying) we become the world’s equal.
Today’s workers are re-living failed corporate views of the past. One in particular, that job descriptions should be written in sand with the wind blowing, stands out as particularly offensive and tops the ignorant list. Taken in the right context of course, a little cross training and the widening of one’s horizons aren’t bad things for anyone but with a weak economy placing a little fear in the belly of the rank and file, the culture of the workplace for many is convoluted into a pathetic situation.
Forget being appropriately compensated for your efforts – people aren’t even treated with common respect. I can’t count how many times I’ve witnessed members of management laughing behind an employee’s back as he/she plunges off with a new “to do” list based on a whim or worse, just to see if they’re scared/dumb enough to actually do it.
A lot of today’s management sees taking advantage of employees as a normal function of their job while others (we’ve all met a few) actually enjoy it. In either case the result of such activity is usually a short lived improvement to the bottom line however the long story is always that what’s truly written in the sand is employee loyalty/interest/honesty and eventually the success of the company.
Wind direction has little to do with the daily activity of the typical rank and file. The notion that their job descriptions should change to whatever the boss dreams up when under pressure, is just bad management. It chases all the good employees out the door leaving business with constant turnover, soaring training costs and a work force ever ready to treat their employers in kind by any action they think they can get away with.