The Reality of Being Rich

To begin this, the most obvious fact needs to get out of the way. Think of Syndrome from The Incredibles when he said, “When everybody’s super, no one will be.” The same thing would happen if everybody was rich. If we were all millionaires, no one would be. Having millions would be inherently worthless if we all had it. That’s not how money works. The way money works is: the value of something is based on how much of it there is. If there were only 5 Mountain Dew beverages left in all the world, do you think they would still only cost $2 each? Of course not, they’d be worth millions. But since Mountain Dew is everywhere, it’s still being produced daily, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to make it, you can buy some for just $2.

Not everyone can be rich. That’s how money works. Only a few can be rich. That’s not the sign of a corrupt system, that’s science.

Not to mention, if somehow everybody could be millionaires, and being a millionaire still made you rich in such a scenario, it would bring the economy to a screeching halt. Even if everybody could have millions to their name, and still maintained their ‘rich’ status somehow, how many people would still be motivated to go to work tomorrow? What are the odds that people would continue working at their fast food job, or their road-maintenance job, or their restaurant waiting job? The obvious answer is: very, very few people would continue these jobs. Very few people would make a conscious effort to wake up early, suffer through complaining customers, suffer through either blazing heat or freezing cold, or suffer through sore legs and being out of breath from running around so much. Nobody does that because it’s their dream… Okay, maybe a small few. Nowhere near everybody, though. And when nobody’s working, when nobody shows up to work because they’re suddenly rich and don’t have to work anymore, and they choose to just stay home and watch TV all day, or paint, or go swimming… we wouldn’t have an economy anymore. The money would be worthless this way as well.

Look, I’m a strong believer that the rich should pay their societal dues just like everyone else. I’m not a sympathizer of billionaires. I’m not a fan of these people. Most, if not all, spend their money and resources to rig elections as much as they can, silence whistleblowers, and of course, to just get even richer. Trust me, I’m not a fan of the super-rich. But that doesn’t mean simply being rich makes you a bad person. Nor does it mean you owe the less-fortunate anything.

Taxation itself fixes nothing. Just because the government takes money from someone, rich or poor, that doesn’t mean anything good will come of it. If Jeff Bezos, who at the moment of writing this is worth $161 billion, paid literally all of his money to the government because of some hypothetical law that taxes the rich at 100%, what makes anyone think, for even one second, that everyone’s life would improve? Do people really think taxing the rich at 100% would fix all the pot holes in the road immediately, and apartment rent would be free for everyone, and college would be free, and nobody would be impoverished anymore? What’s the logic here? How does anyone think that would fix a damn thing?

Now, I do believe in taxation. I’m not a liberterian, who thinks all taxation is theft and that it never accomplishes anything. Of course taxes are necessary, and of course they accomplish things, but they have limits. Taxing the wealthy, no matter how much or how little you do it, can only fix so much. And ‘only so much’ is not very much at all. We’ll still have poverty, we’ll still have pointless wars, we’ll still have disease…. We’ll still have every problem we have right now. Money itself cannot fix everything. Some things can only be fixed by society itself and the people in it. How we treat our neighbors, how hard we work, what we choose to work on, etc., etc.

Try getting stuck in Death Valley with no clothes, no food, no supplies, no devices, and no other person around for 100 miles in every direction…. but you do have a million dollars. That’s literally all you have: 1 million. What are you going to do? Pay the heat to not be so intense? You going to pay the dirt to turn into water?

Most people don’t seem to have a damn clue what it takes to run a successful business. Just think of what it takes to run something small, like, say, a donut shop. To run a donut shop, you first need to know how to make donuts. Then, you need to rent out a place from which to sell donuts. Then you need to hire people to help you make and sell the donuts. Oh, and the place from which you sell donuts has things like an electric bill, a property tax, a heating/cooling bill, maintenance costs, cleaning costs to keep the place looking nice……. Oh, and there’s other costs, like transporting the materials and supplies to the shop to make the donuts. What if there’s a blizzard and nobody can make it to work that day, or for 5 straight days, which means you lost 5 days worth of money. What if somebody quits their job unexpectedly, and now you have to train a whole new person on how to do that job, which will slow down your business?

Oh, and all this is assuming your donuts are any good in the first place. If people find them good enough to buy at all.

This is just for running a donut shop, people. A pretty simple, straightforward small business. Now, use that as a mere glimpse to imagine how complicated and difficult it must be to operate an insurance firm, a construction company, or some kind of manufacturing plant. Imagine having to suffer lawsuits from people getting killed on the job, or seriously injured. Imagine having to suffer lawsuits even when you didn’t do anything wrong.

So, really, to all the socialists or straight-up communists out there who think there can be no financial disparity between anybody… You don’t live in reality. Not living in reality has dangerous consequences. Economies are hard. Running businesses is hard. And most businesses fail (interesting fact of the day). Socialism makes everybody poor, while capitalism raises the floor for everybody, even the poor. Today’s poor live better than the rich did 100 years ago. I could write an entire post on that fact alone.

With all that being said, I actually am someone who believes there is a such thing as having too much money, but in this day and age, that pretty much only applies to corporations, not individual people. John D. Rockefeller owned up to 2% of the entire US’ economy, which in today’s money would equal around $418 billion. The richest person currently alive is worth only 38% that much, which is less than half. Is that still too much money for one person to have? Yeah, probably. But Rockefeller completely owned his company (Standard Oil), which had a monopoly on the oil industry, and Jeff Bezos only owns about 16% of his company, which doesn’t have a monopoly on anything ….. yet.

In my opinion, Amazon has become too big, and so has Google (Alphabet Inc., technically), and so has Facebook. Each in their respective industries, of course. Amazon is purposefully making it nearly impossible for consumers to not use their company to buy products, while Google (Alphabet) is making it nearly impossible to use the internet at all without them, and Facebook is making it nearly impossible to use social media for business or personal use without them. That is too powerful. But the solution is not to go after their money, even though that would technically help in the short term. In the long term, it wouldn’t stop another entity like them from rising and becoming too powerful again. The solution is not taxation, people. Not on the companies themselves, and not on their owners.

Admire those who make it, whether they earn only a few million, or even a few billion. Being rich should be a goal, not a crime. Not everyone can be rich, so instead of hating the rich, try to join them. Is there a way to get rich without cheating in some way, or doing something illegal, or doing something outright evil? I don’t know. I’ve never been a billionaire, so don’t ask me. But I know I’m not poor, and I didn’t have to compromise my principles to become not-poor.

Lastly, I’ll say: Just in principle, if you earn money, complete strangers who did nothing to deserve any of it have no right to it.

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