Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why We Hate the Rich

by Rich Miles

OK, let me get away from that title a bit here - I don't hate the rich. Hell, I don't know enough of them (zero = not enough) to hate them. But I wanted to comment on an article in today's New York Times in which the mayor of New York City feels the need to defend the poor rich people who are currently under attack in the press and the public forum (AIG bonuses, among other issues.)

Now we mustn't overlook the fact that the mayor of NYC is himself a billionaire - yes, that "b" is correct - several times over, and that therefore he has a personal stake in rehabbing the public image of the wealthy man. But let's think this concept through a little: Why are the rich so vilified these days?

I maintain that it's because those of us firmly entrenched in the middle class or below for the past 8 years have seen a lot of this trouble coming - redistribution of wealth upward, overvaluing of stock shares, the total corruption of our unregulated financial systems, and more. I personally saw it coming that unregulated greed was much more powerful than unregulated human generosity. I'm not sure I understand why everyone didn't see it. I mean, has there ever been a period in human history when people could be counted on to conduct themselves with kindness and generosity, without some governmental body forcing them to do so? Haven't there been several somewhat lengthy periods of our history in which exactly the opposite has happened? The Gilded Age, the period just prior to the Great Depression, other less prominent eras?

It's far too obvious to dispute: rich people cannot be counted on to conduct themselves in a way that will not harm other people and the financial systems in which they operate. It simply cannot be done. Greed always - and I mean always - wins out.

And the net result, then, is that rich people must be regulated - history has shown us this, and for us - any of us - to maintain that government regulation is unnecessary or optional is - has been proven to be - foolish and risky.

And the rich, or even the moderately well-off, disagree with this premise, not because they've thought it through and have reasons for it, but because it's to their personal benefit to disagree. Because it's their perception that if they're left alone, with no government interference, they can get ALL the money.

And that kind of attitude - we want it all and we don't want the government telling us we can't have it - is why we hate the rich.

1 comment:

Jack Jodell said...

I dislikie the rich because of their utter lack of caring for anyone but themselves. They lie, cheat, and steal so they can have more, more, more, and they needlessly victimize those they employ and those who do business with them. Their institutions, corporations, are malignant profit-grabbers taking everything they can get their hands on. They deliberately rig the system so they can prosper off the toil of others and neglect and rob from those and the ones they can't prosper off of. The rich are the kids who grew up never learning manners, consideration, cooperation, or sharing. So yes, they must be regulated by government and enforced law, and, once in awhile for good measure, just like misbehaving spoiled little kids, they need their asses beaten.