Monday, November 5, 2012

Do we want to be wealthy, or hate wealth?

I will preface this by thanking the Alabama football team for giving us four quarters of hard fought  football. They could have given up, they didn’t and I greatly appreciate it. I really hope the fans show up for the Texas A&M game. Alabama players commented on how loud the LSU fans were for four quarters, and it occurred to me that Alabama players haven’t had that all year. Yes, they have blown everyone out at home, but I would love to see the fans not only fill up the stadium and make a lot of noise when the game is in doubt, but give the players four quarters of support. They deserve it.

If you've had enough of political discussion, by all means stop reading now. If your mimagesind is already made up, and nothing I say could possibly change it, you don't need to waste your time reading this. Having said this, I welcome debate and discussion. If you disagree with me, feel free to share your perspective. This is my personal viewpoint and it would be dishonest of me to hide it. It goes without saying this is my personal sentiment and not that of this blog.

This election will likely come down to turnout. If it is like 2008, Obama will win. If it is like 2010, or even 2004, Romney will win. So, we all matter greatly in this. The popular vote is a virtual tie, so even votes in a solid blue or red state will have an impact in terms of perception.

I am not happy with either of my choices for president. Obama and Romney are not that different, and they both believe government is the solution to our problems. I understand not wanting to vote for either, but one of the two is going to win. If you absolutely refuse to vote for either, I would suggest voting for a third-party candidate, so the two political parties are aware of your vote. However, I like many have made a choice.

Most of the differences between Obama and Romney stem from party affiliations. Foreign policy? They have very little disagreement, Romney asserts he will have a firmer tone, but Obama with his drones and execution of American citizens might have the most blood-lust of the two. People want to make a big fuss over the abortion and woman's rights aspects, but what is the real difference? Obama supports abortion, and Romney used to support abortion. Now, Romney says he is against it (with exceptions in the cases of rape, health of the mother, etc..) but that it's not part of his legislative agenda. Both candidates will continue the war on drugs. Obama has Obamacare, Romney has Romneycare. Obama "evolves", Romney "flip-flops". Obama went to Reverend Wright's church, Romney is a Mormon. Both have been executives at the government level for an even number of years. These are two politicians that are trying to convince us that they are so different but they are both Ivy League millionaires. People mock the excesses of Romney, but Obama goes on million dollar dates, had 1.4 billion spent on him and his office last year, and has a full time dog watcher (on the taxpayer's dime of course).

There is one aspect that I do see a stark contrast in, and that is economics. Obama has, for a while now been demonizing wealth. He's been saying how the rich should "pay their fair share" and how we should "spread the wealth around". He's acted as though we can tax our way out of the problems we have. We can't do that. The rich already pay far more income taxes than the rest of us. They not only pay a higher percentage, but they also pay a far larger amount than most of us. A large percentage of the population pays no income tax, while a small percentage of the top earners pay most of the taxes. There is no tax rate that can make them shoulder the excesses of our government. Increasing rates will only serve to discourage them from participating. George Lucas sold almost everything he owned before higher tax rates could kick in. He's now on the sidelines. You might consider that a good thing but there are many like him who would simply opt out of participating in an economy with higher taxes. The problem is that Obama has almost no free market experience. His administration is not full of experts on business, it is full of academics.

The last unemployment numbers showed a rise to 7.9%. Obama would have us believe that the economy is on the right track, just moving there slowly. Unemployment doesn't go up when things are headed in the right direction. To give an analogy, the economy broke its leg (I would argue due in large part to government policy and backing of bad loans). This happened while Obama was in a Democratic majority congress by the way. A broken leg will heal, eventually. The question is how it heals. If you don't have a doctor, you might end up with a horrible, disfiguring limp. That's what this looks like to me. Obama is not a doctor, and our economy is not healing well.

Romney on the other hand has a lengthy track record. There is a reason non-Republican businessmen like Lee Iacocca, and Ross Perot endorsed him. He found success in private business, he managed a state well financially, and he even did a great job of running the Olympics. Obama promised to cut the deficit in half, but instead we have a larger deficit. I can't blame Obama, he just doesn't know economics, he doesn't know budgets. Romney clearly does. He knows how to generate wealth, he knows how to manage finances, and he has an understanding that Obama lacks. This is one reason Romney is not demonizing the wealthy. He understands how wealth in our economy is created.

We have fiat dollars. This means that we can print them, but they have no inherent value. Thus far, Obama's main economic solution has been to print more money. Most people view wealth as they would a bar of gold. As though we are just making more gold, and all we really have to do is take a piece of someone's gold and we suddenly have a portion of their wealth. Since our money has no real value, it only holds value as long as there is something behind it. It is our productivity that lends value to our money. The strength of our economy strengthens our money and in turn that is what gives us our wealth. We can create wealth, but we can destroy it as well.

Let me give an example based on what has happened in some countries. If a wealthy man has a productive farm, we decide this is not fair, and we give half of his farm to others, what might happen? Well, for one he might say to hell with it, and stop farming. As to the other half of his farm, it is highly unlikely that it would be farmed as productively. The logic is simple, they are not going to give the other half to wealthy farmers, so they will give them to poor farmers (if they are actually farmers at all). The productivity of the farm drops, and in other countries this practice has caused famine and destruction of a their currency. A wealthy person is wealthy because somewhere along the line there was productivity (hypothetically, there are people who came by their wealth through government and the like) and they by the merit of their wealth have proven to be good stewards of wealth. A poor person, is by definition a poor steward of wealth. If they come by money, not through the fruit of their efforts, but the theft of property it is not likely they will be nearly as productive with it as the person from whom it was taken. There is ample evidence of this playing out. Another example would be a car. I understand why we might all want a piece of a Rolls Royce, but if each of us strip part of it, all we have is parts. No one has a running vehicle.

Our wealth can be produced or destroyed. We are wealthy, even our poor have what would be considered above average wealth in Europe. We, as an American people are the 1% of the world. The reason for this is that we have been better stewards of what we have. We produced, we invented, and it gave us wealth. While relatively speaking we might still be unhappy, there is no mistaking how entitled we are. Our "poor" people expect to have cell phones, cable TV, air conditioning, and video games. These are luxuries to most parts of the world. This can be destroyed if we erode what powers our wealth, if we strike out against business and the wealthy there will be negative repercussions.

I say this not as a member of the 1%. I am a high school drop out, I know what it's like to be destitute. My parents died and left me no inheritance, I've gone without food, I've feared for how I was going to pay rent, or where I was going to live. However, I learned. My house is paid for, my cars are paid for. I am not wealthy, and I might never be, but I understand what it means to be responsible. I was poor, I had the cards stacked against me, but I knew that I was not going to climb out of my hole by stealing. I never once took a government handout. I have been responsible with what I have, but I would not have been if not for the fact that I knew exactly what effort brought it forth.

Now that I have something, the thought of it being taken from me is a great concern. I have a house that's over 2000 square feet. There are only two of us living here. Surely we don't need all that space? We rented one bedroom for years as we saved up. We pinched our pennies, and no one else is entitled to our house. I am sure this his how wealthy businessmen feel about their wealth, and they have more capacity to act on that feeling. They can fire people if we force their hands, they can retire, they can move to other countries. We should not bleed them, and make them pay for their success as a means to overcome our own shortcomings.

I could go on, but we are at a crossroad here. Do we hate the rich? Do we want to punish them, do we want to destroy wealth? Or, do we want to be rich? Do we want a country in which all of us can succeed if we make the right choices? That is the choice as I see it. Obama tells me I should hate the rich, his words are dripping with class warfare. Romney knows what it takes to become wealthy. I'd rather strive to be wealthy, than hate wealth.


Andrew said...

Stopped reading at word 8. Any political argument that includes the word "hate" in the headline is not going to be written or read by anyone without an agenda.

Lwall said...

You forgot one other.. Once stands with Israel (so he says).. the other has already thrown Netenyahu & Israel under the bus!

13thBama said...

Show me someone "without" an agenda. If you have no agenda, you have no purpose.

Philip Shirley said...

Perhaps I should have borrowed from Obama and used the term "revenge". You know, something about revenge on the wealthy. In either case, I'm not kidding myself. I live in a red state, I no longer have access to that many people. I'm not going to have any real influence.

Furthermore, I know people who haven't made up their minds are extremely unlikely to read through that much rhetoric. I said it because I felt it had to be said. Not everyone is voting for Obama to get a handout, not everyone is voting for Obama because they hate rich people. However, if Obama wins that will be the deciding factor.