Rich People

The latest thing everyone is supposed to be mad about is billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins comparing the demonization of the 1% to the that of the Jews in Nazi Germany. In the last week everyone on the internet has been freaking out about this.

People who lean left (which are most people on the internet) are furious that he would compare the persecution of rich people to Hitler’s gas chambers. People defending Perkins (what few there are) are upset, stating that he’s not talking about gas chambers but a rising tide of hatred against the rich (citing examples such as Occupy Wall Street and the outrage at the Google buses in the San Francisco area).

The problem with this Evil Rich People™ stuff is that there are two very different types of “rich” people, and everyone on both sides of this issue tend to lump them together into one group, which they are not.

The first group are the hard-working, self-made “rich”. This is the guy who started with nothing, opened a small business, busted his ass, worked 70 and 80 hour weeks for years on end, then finally in his 50s he’s got a thriving small or medium business, he makes a six-figure income, and he has a net worth of two or three million dollars.

This guy is “rich” compared to most people, but he’s no where near the “one percent”. He has never stolen anything in his life, never received bailout money from the government of any kind, pays huge amounts of money in taxes, donates another huge hunk of money to charity on a regular basis, and helps the economy by creating jobs and products/services the market wants. He’s a good guy, and everyone, including poor and middle-class people, would be better off if there were more people like him.

The second group of rich people is very different. These are the super rich. These are men and women who make millions and millions of dollars a year (or month!), control vast resources, pay very little taxes as compared to their incomes and net worths, have all kinds of crony connections with big government, and sometimes get assistance from government in the form of no-bid contracts, bailouts, zero interest loans, legal restrictions against their competitors, and all kinds of other fun things you and I pay for. Some of them were self made, but most were born into wealthy families and had a very easy path to success.

If you “hate” the people in the second category, I have no big problem with that. Hate all you like. The problem is when you lump people in the first category in with your hatred and resentment. America, and the world, needs more people like those in the first category. By your anger, and not separating the two kinds of “rich” people, you’re making it very difficult for more people like that to separate from the masses and help the economy. “Economy” meaning you.

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  • Jimbo
    Posted at 03:03 pm, 3rd February 2014

    It would be nice to see an in-depth look at the 1%. Not the 1% like a Jordan Belfort but the 1% that stays there generation after generation. Know any books or maybe you can do a post?

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 02:51 pm, 6th February 2014

    I made a post here about the financial numbers behind the one percent. But that doesn’t describe the behaviors of rich folks who inherit all their money.

    Yeah, I should make a post.

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