|On Monday, January 13, 2003 at 06:59:36 (-0800) Devine, James writes:
>By Larry Paquette
>However, I feel no need to defend my position. Over the years I have worked
>hard and earned every dollar of the obscene wealth I am accused of hoarding.
This is where he goes right off the rails. $100,000 per year does not
an obscene amount of wealth make. Try $65,000,000 per year and you
are closer to the target.
Of course the rest of this is selfish, whining nonsense. I worked
just as hard as he did and make an "obscene" amount of money as well.
But I care whether or not the kid across town can go to a good school,
whether she has access to health care, whether she has a park to play
in, and whether she has job opportunities to allow her to be a
productive member of society (at the very least). The "ethic" that
has been corrupted is the one that, e.g., Christ tried to teach
yesterday's morally deaf religious hypocrites about *unconditionally*
loving others and extending help to those who don't have opportunity
--- and the one that is ignored today by people like Mr. Paquette.
He also deludes himself when he says he has "earned every dollar". He
has indeed "worked hard", though I'm sure not as hard as some welfare
mothers do when they work two jobs and still don't have enough to keep
the family afloat. But has *he* earned the money, or has he AND
society earned the money he takes home? How much of his paycheck is
thanks to the opportunities built up by others for whom he declines to
care or even mention?
The other delusions are just as rich: those who need help from the
rest of us are just lazy, no doubt of darker hue, who "refuse" to be
"productive"; we have changed our system of taxation so that those who
are wealthy pay more than they "used to", presumably in the golden
1950s when the tax burden, counting all taxes and loopholes for the
rich, was more progressive than it is today; that the money taken from
him in taxes doesn't go to anything that benefits him --- his earnings
are merely "devoured" and disgorged elsewhere, and not used for
subsidies for home mortgages, roads for him to drive on, police to
protect his family, research to produce better medicines, etc. ad
fucking nauseum; that "reward" is commensurate with "risk" and "hard
work" (ask how much the welfare mother risks to work two jobs so her
family can eat, how hard she works and still cannot afford day-care
for her kids who are left alone to fend for themselves with no parks
or libraries in sight because selfish, short-sighted morons have
forced government to shrivel and to ignore these needs, how despite
her sweat and heroic sacrifice cannot ever earn enough money to pull
her to prosperity; ask what her reward, measured in crumb units, is
for all of this and ask how much today's CEOs who rake in hundreds of
millions risk when they go to their subsidized companies and fire
thousands of workers so they can have just one more jet or palace).
This is a perfect piece of propaganda with Paquette, apparently
unwittingly, serving as a proxy for the truly rich --- how they must
be applauding him.
> Don't Hate Me Because I'm Rich
> By Larry Paquette
> Larry Paquette is a sourcing manager for a manufacturing company in Fresno.
> January 9 2003
> I am a member of a small, elite group widely vilified by the press and in
> letters to the editor. I am an easy target.
> My sin is that I am in the financial top 10% of the country -- those making
> $100,000 or more -- the 35% tax bracket, a member of the so-called rich. So
> it is much easier to paint a picture of me with black heart and ice in my
> veins; cake crumbs all about, as I grow fat on the backs of the downtrodden.
> However, I feel no need to defend my position. Over the years I have worked
> hard and earned every dollar of the obscene wealth I am accused of hoarding.
> What is different about my life and how I came to be here compared with
> those liberals so willing and anxious to separate me from my compensation?
> I worked two jobs to put myself through college. While many my age were off
> to sporting events or dating or cooling off at swim parties on muggy August
> nights, I was working in a sweltering factory, assembling bicycles until 2
> in the morning. I can't say for sure where the bleeding hearts were then,
> but they were not standing next to me night after night, sweating over that
> endless assembly line.
> I look back over the years of struggle and sacrifice and can't count the
> number of birthday parties, special events and family gatherings missed
> because I had to work or finish a special project. I can't begin to tally
> the number of empty nights or lonely weekends when, instead of spending time
> with family and friends, I was on a business trip halfway around the world.
> There is no loneliness like being in a strange country for months,
> struggling with an unfamiliar language while losing contact with those
> closest to you.
> I wonder at how the mind-set of the country has changed, how the work ethic
> has been corrupted. When I was growing up, the only rule was that success
> and achievements resulted from, and were directly related to, hard work. You
> got back in proportion to the effort you put forth. That's the way it has
> worked for me.
> How have we changed, then, to an ethic of redistributing the wealth from
> those who are economically productive to those who refuse to be?
> Few will acknowledge it, but the message is clear. Reading between the lines
> of editorials and letters in the newspapers, I can almost hear the chant,
> "You have it, I want it, and you owe me."
> I believe in extending a helping hand whenever possible, but I don't believe
> in lifelong support for those capable but unmotivated.
> I look at my bimonthly check stub and occasionally can't help but question
> myself as to why I am working so hard, when federal and local taxes and
> deductions for Social Security and Medicare devour 50% of my earnings. Is it
> worth the 50-hour weeks, the personal responsibility, the stress?
> The irrefutable fact is that money withheld and spent on welfare by a
> confiscatory and inefficient government does not create new jobs. Jobs are
> created from the dividends and investments made by myself and those far
> wealthier than me. They result from money put at risk, with a chance for an
> equitable return commensurate with the risk. New companies, new ventures,
> new products and new jobs are a direct result of investment exposure. That
> is the heart of capitalism.
> I make no apologies for my financial position. I have worked very hard,
> earned every dollar and hope to continue earning long into the future. Can
> the same be said for those standing at the intersection of Hard Work and
> Success, looking for a handout?
> Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times