“Let me tell you something about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” F. Scott Fitzgerald from “The Rich Boy”
I talk a lot about the Rich and post a lot of articles about the Rich. I think it’s time I defined and clarified my thoughts-even if I speak in generalities.
First of all, I want to differentiate between two categories of wealth.
One, I’ll call simply, The Wealthy. The other, I’ll call The Rich.
I do not have anything against The Wealthy. They really aren’t that different from you and me. This is the social category that we, in the South, used to call “Old Money.”
The Wealthy had enough class and taste that the socio-economic differences are more subtle. They would be horrified to flaunt their wealth or to think it made them “better” than other people. This category of the financially blessed was usually better educated and, thus, aware of their privilege and the obligations that went with it. They understood the concept of “those to whom much is given, much is expected.”
I love the honest Wealthy folks I’ve known or known of in my life. These are people who gave back and made the world a better place.
The Wealthy usually did not involve themselves actively in Politics. If they did, it was usually out of a sense of duty or obligation to try to make things better for those less fortunate. It was kind of like joining the Junior League for them.
They were frequently Democrats.
The Wealthy understood shared responsibility and honor. There was a time when the Partners of Wall Street firms and Investment Banks were personally financially responsible for any losses. That is gone with the wind…
In the past, the Rich would try to emulate the Wealthy. Not today…
The Rich are the ones I can’t stand. We used to call this social group “New Money.”
These are the ones who, as a rule, are taking over our government.
There are exceptions to the “New Money” condition. The Koch Brothers, for example, have had money for several generations, but they are Rich, not Wealthy.
No matter how much money the Koch’s donate to the ballet and museums, they have no class or true sense of societal obligation. They are Rich, not Wealthy because they have no social conscience and only care about money. No matter how hard they try to seem otherwise, they are vulgar.
People recognize this and that’s why David Koch was booed at the American Ballet Theatre performance of “The Nutcracker” last December even when it was pointed out he gave the ABT $2.5 million. Money does not buy class or absolve one of all sins- even in New York….
The Rich build their lives around money. It is all that matters to them. They never have enough, always want more and are more than willing to do anything immoral, unethical or illegal to get it and keep it. They get away with this because they use their money to build a parallel world where the rules-and laws- don’t apply to them, but to everyone else.
As the late Leona Helmsley, who was Rich, not Wealthy, said: “Only the little people pay taxes.”
This is the mantra of the Rich.
The Rich have taken precedence over the Wealthy in today’s world. The Wealthy, being mostly Democrats, didn’t fight back and were over-powered by the Rich on Wall Street and in Washington. The Rich did away with the concept of individual responsibility for actions within financial firms. They only want individual responsibility to apply to the poor and middle classes.
The Wealthy who used to be part of the GOP, who were called “Cloth Coat Republicans” or “Country Club Republicans” are now extinct.
The Rich are the new Wall Street Barons and Hedge Fund Kings who made their money manipulating the system and not creating anything. They turned Wall Street into Las Vegas- both in tone and style. They manipulate numbers. Money is a concept to them, not a reality.
They don’t build factories or create jobs. They never will. That is too much work. They are morally bankrupt. They feel no need to “give back” as they really didn’t work hard to earn anything; they just took it.
The Rich are the top 1% of the population who own about 35% of the total wealth in this country. Of all the wealth created in the last 30 years or so, 47% went to this group. And they don’t want to pay taxes on it. This alone is enough to make me a socialist.
The Rich are the ones who manipulated the system so CEO’s,who in 1960 made an income of 42 times the average worker’s salary, by 2000 made 531 times the average worker’s salary. And now pay the lowest tax rate since the 1950’s.
This is the crowd that runs companies into the ground, brings the entire economy to the brink of disaster, destroys jobs and livelihoods for the middle class, then takes a “golden parachute” of millions of dollars for their efforts. There is no accountability for performance or decision-making within this group.
The New Money crowd, that have become the Rich of Wall Street and the financial powers that drive Washington, focus solely on money. Getting it, keeping it, making more of it. They worship money itself, not what it can do. These people do not drive the economy- or only a small portion of it- as to them money is something to be hoarded and bragged about. Or flashed around with multiple homes, cars, planes, diamonds and wives. They don’t spend it on creating jobs, as they and the GOP would like you to think. That will never be their goal or priority.
Money is their God and they want to honor it.
I hate the nouveau and not so nouveau Rich who are determined to destroy the Middle Class and let the poor starve. I detest the nouveau Rich who want children to grow up in poverty and ignorance and deny Health Care because people can’t afford private insurance. I abhor the Rich who want to take money from Social Security and leave the elderly to eat cat food so they can keep more money in their Cayman Islands or Swiss Bank accounts.
The Wealthy class of yesterday would never behave this way.
And if they tried, the Government would stop them.
At least for the last 80 years.
Hopefully, this clarifies my position.
Footnote: You can check my facts from my main point of reference and learn much more about “the numbers” here: