I Support the 1%

I am a public school teacher, but I choose not to hate or envy those whose hard work and innovation have brought them greater wealth than I have.  They have taken nothing from me.  My life is the result of my choices.  Each of us is responsible for dealing with and improving our own circumstances.

My house is only worth 1/3 of what I’m paying for it, but I will not scapegoat a small group of people whose work is related to New York’s financial district.  I will not associate the illegal malfeasance of a very few with the wealthy population in general–such prejudiced thinking has always led to atrocities.  Many of our country’s economic problems were caused by the reckless buying and poor preparation among us in the middle class, anyway.  It’s time we grew up and admitted it.

I’ve had difficulty paying bills on time and providing for my family, but I do not feel entitled to demand that wealthier people are obligated to bail me out.  This is a free country, and we believe in private property.

I have had student loans in the five figures.  I paid them off by budgeting and sacrificing.  Nobody forced me to take out those loans, and nobody else was responsible for paying them back.

I pay no income taxes, yet I benefit from public services.  I will not have the gall to impose upon the wealthy a convenient vision of what they “must” provide for others.  There is no such thing as an objective “fair share.”

I am the 99%, but I support the 1%.

A Question for Occupy Sympathizers

Let’s imagine that there are no billionaires.  None of the world’s super rich exist, and no one else has taken their places.

How exactly would people in the American middle class have more wealth if, say, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet or Rupert Murdoch had never been born?

Without the major industrialists , innovators, and, yes, capitalists of modern times, wouldn’t we all in fact be very much poorer?

Current Events Irony

It is wrong to hate minorities and to pick on people who are different from you, unless the minority you’re picking on is the rich.  Then, apparently, it’s an important civic responsibility to publicly harass them.  If you aren’t kind enough to a politically correct group, you’re a bigot and a bully.  If you openly slander and threaten the rich, you’re an activist.

“Their Fair Share”

I took a class in college in African American Literature. An interesting “chicken or the egg” issue came up early on: America didn’t participate in slavery because it was a fundamentally racist society, America developed racism because it embraced slavery. It was in the 18th century, for example, that American seminaries started teaching future ministers that black people didn’t have souls.

Why did such odious ideas arise? Because of cognitive dissonance–people couldn’t stand enslaving others if they were equally human, so they had to start thinking of them as something less than normal to assuage their consciences.

Most of the things I’ve seen about the rich paying “their fair share” are so heavily loaded with harsh language against the rich, like the irrational racial prejudices of the past, that it can only be that we’ve decided to stigmatize their wealth the way we used to stigmatize skin color: so we can assuage our consciences about this virtual slavery.

Just yesterday alone, I read a few columns and political cartoons about the budget that were all soaked in tones of violent anger towards the rich. This isn’t about helping the poor, it’s about hating the rich.

Remember those Washington Mutual ads a few years ago which mockingly showed a couple of dozen older white men in suits acting spoiled, superior, and out of touch? Imagine an ad campaign that made fun of a negative stereotype about anybody other than rich white men. Outrageous.

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