By Chuck Muth
I’m trying to figure out who is more revolting in their disdain for America’s success stories – the President of the United States or the president of the Nevada teachers union.
Barack Obama spent the first four years of his presidency hunting down, Ahab-like, “the wealthiest among us” and finally got his pound of flesh at the conclusion of the fiscal cliff-hanger last month. He’s now back in his boat, harpoon at the ready, looking for a sequel.
For her part, Lynn Warne and her unionized public school teachers are attacking Nevada’s largest employers and targeting them with a new business tax, not only claiming “the rich” aren’t paying their “fair share,” but are screwing our kids in the process.
Warne should be ashamed of herself. But she’s not. She believes she’s entitled to money earned by others.
To hear such green-with-envy liberals tell it, “the rich” have somehow unfairly benefited from the opportunities this country makes available to ALL Americans, including those who don’t have, like Obama, an Ivy League education.
It’s pure, unadulterated horse manure. Here’s the untold story these class warfare warriors won’t tell you.
In his book Marketing to the Affluent, author Dan Kennedy took a look at the Forbes 400 list and discovered that 80% of them got on the list “through ambition, initiative, drive, grit, ingenuity, hard work, and entrepreneurship,” further noting that only 74 of them inherited their wealth.
Interestingly, Kennedy discovered that those “with a college degree were worth less on average than those without a college degree.” Not that educations isn’t important; it is. But there are all kinds of ways to learn if you want to be financially successful.
Taking a more personal look at “the wealthiest among us,” Kennedy noted that our own Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands “is the son of a cab driver and a college dropout.”
Larry Ellison of Oracle Software “is also a college dropout.”
The guys who started Google dropped out of Stanford.
Kirk Kerkorian, no stranger to Las Vegas, “is the son of an Armenian immigrant fruit farmer” and “an eighth-grade dropout.”
Ross Perot is the son or a Texas cotton broker.
Leslie Wexner of Victoria’s Secret is an Ohio State dropout who launched his first women’s clothing store “with $5,000 borrowed from his aunt.”
Our own Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta of Stations Casinos “started out dealing cards at the Stardust.”
Ralph Loren is “the son of Russian immigrants” who got his start as a salesman in a Brooks Brothers store in the Bronx.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com fame “started out simply selling books from his garage via the Internet.
Chick-Fil-A’s S. Truett Cathy “started out selling chicken sandwiches to factory and airport workers.”
Fred DeLuca “turned one sub sandwich shop into 28,000 Subway restaurants.”
Michael Illitch “opened his Little Caesar’s pizza shop in 1959, after an injury ended his pro baseball career.”
Ty Warner dropped out of college to follow his father’s footsteps and be “an on-the-road sales rep for a plush toy company.” He went on to earn his wealth by creating the wildly popular Beanie Babies in 1986.
Rich DeVos, “after several business failures,” started a company in his garage with one product, “an all-purpose liquid cleaner.” You may have heard of this company; it’s called Amway.
And yes, every one of those great American success stories, and millions of others at lower levels, absolutely did “build that.” Lynn Warne sure as hell didn’t.
So let’s disabuse this absurd notion, once and for all, that “the rich” and their companies haven’t earned their success and aren’t paying their “fair share” – which in the Left’s mind would apparently be an effective rate of approximately 110%.
To determine how much Wal-Mart, for example, is paying in Nevada, you have to look not just at what taxes the company pays directly, such as property taxes, but how much tax revenue it generates from all the sales of products in their stores.
Without the Wal-Marts of this world, who would sell all those products that rake in all that tax money and pays the salaries of our public school teachers? You Lynn Warne? You Barack Obama? You Lt. Caffey? Puh-lease.
In addition to all the sales tax revenue that Wal-Mart pays through its operations, you also have to take into consideration all the taxes paid by all the people Wal-Mart employs. If not for Wal-Mart, all of those greeters, cashiers and clerks wouldn’t have jobs to pay the taxes on their homes, cars, vacations, etc.
And instead of contributing to the tax base, those unemployed folks would be draining from it.
And what about all the stockholders who profit from corporations like Wal-Mart and then use those profits to buy more “stuff” that is taxed and sent to the government?
This insulting notion that large companies aren’t paying their fair share in society is, to borrow a phrase from Jim Carey, “a worthless steaming pile of cow dung, figuratively speaking.”
And instead of demonizing and denigrating those individuals who have successfully achieved the American dream – to steal a line from Col. Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men – “I would rather you just said ‘Thank you,’ and went on your way.”
Either way, Ms. Warne, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!
Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There
The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.
These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by Rutger Bregman
… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.
Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry
In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.
To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.
But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.
But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…
The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.
Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:
Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:
The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.
Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.
Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.
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