Have the rich deserved what they have earned?
You've probably heard some variation of the above. Some statements and my answers derived from conversations with conservatives and other right-wingers:
If it wasn't for that person starting a business for us to work at, we wouldn't have anything.
Molly: First of all, let me make it clear that I am a capitalist through and through. I firmly believe that people who start businesses
and provide a quality product or service are the backbone of our country.
I've been involved with small businesses and I've also been blessed with a close friend who is a great example of a good businessman. His parents started the business many decades ago. The business has done well over the years, and they now employ 50 people.
Good Capitalists and Bad Capitalists
My friend and other family members who are owners in the business were willing to take salary cuts before they laid off anybody two years ago when the recession hit. They developed contingency plans and met with their staff and went over those plans. Everybody was willing to take an hours or salary cut to avoid laying anybody off. My friend realizes something that most businesses these days don't: Their business is not going to be successful without a good cadre of workers, even down to the lowest levels. He values his employees and knows that good, committed employees are hard to find, even in this economy.
As a whole, employees are no longer seen as "assets" as they might have been several decades ago; now they are just an expense bucket on a spreadsheet.
Today's Big Corporation CEO
Now, the CEO's who are laying off and off-shoring these days are generally not the founders, the guiding lights, and the idea men. It's not uncommon that a retail business will have as its CEO a person who has never waited on customers. They are often accountants, finance, and marketing people. They often add nothing to the companies; in fact, many of these large companies are worse off after these accountants cut and slash than they were before. But they walk away with multi-million dollar bonuses.
A good portion of the population have been brainwashed into thinking the top guys "deserved" those millions while the poor chumps who work for them (or did until they were laid off) are worth a minimal fraction of what the big guys get.
Back in the hey day of unions, in the 50's and 60's, the ratio between the pay of the CEO and the average worker was much, much less than it is now, and those CEO's more often than not came up through the ranks and knew what the company was all about.
"If you really think that the guy who has amassed a mansion, a few vacation homes, a garage of collector cars, a boat and a plane deserved that while that guy's average worker here in the States can barely pay his/her bills, while the average worker that the big guy laid off is in foreclosure and bankruptcy, while the guy's average worker overseas gets a buck a day, we have nothing to talk about, sir, as our values are at completely different ends of the spectrum."
Why do you feel you are entitled to someone's wealth?
Molly: Why does the fat cat feel that he is entitled to earn such a huge percentage of his worker's salaries? Divide the profits of the corporation by the number of hours worked by everybody in the corporation. I'd love to know the disparity. So... of course, the CEO should get more than Joe Blow down in Marketing... but how much more? Why is that CEO entitled to so much of Joe Blow's contribution to the company?
It's Communist to Control Somebody's Wages
Molly: First of all, look up the definition of "Communist". Now, tell us why CEO's in Europe and many other places in the world do not get millions of dollars in compensation and bonuses. Are our companies here that much better than theirs? Europe is looking pretty good these days compared to the good old U. S. of A.
People with money have always lived large.
Molly: Just like the robber barons of old while conditions in mines and steel factories were horrendous. Does the fact that "people with money have always lived large" make these disparities o.k., especially if the disparities are exacerbated by corporate welfare from our government?
Just wish I could have been dropped on my head to come up with some of the Ideas out there. But , just like you we were not.
Molly: As I said, most of today's robber barons are not the founders and the idea men. I resent Bill Gates much less than many of the other CEO's out there. And Bill Gates is giving half of his fortune away.
So, I head to work each day and enjoy what I have earned my with own 2 hands. Keep it for myself and pay my bills.
Molly: I'm sure you had a lot of help along the way. If you are bright, you can thank your parents for that. If you have initiative and good work habits, you probably got them from somebody.. maybe a good teacher? Or hard-working parents?
If you went to public schools, you can thank the local, state, and federal governments for that, and don't forget to thank those who funded the teacher's colleges that trained your teachers.
If you are healthy so that you can work every day,well, that's somewhat the luck of the draw as well. I've been blessed with exceptional health, and I know it is a blessing, even though I do try to keep myself healthy. But if you drink clean water, breathe clean air, and eat good quality food, you can thank the EPA and the FDA for keeping those things safe for you.
If you drive to work each days in a car that won't blow up, and if you put gas in that car that doesn't gum up the works, if you use public roads to get to and from work, you can thank the government for the various laws, regulations, and funds that are in place to assure that kind of safety and convenience.
Imagine if you really did have to rely only on your two hands, as in the pioneer days? You probably wouldn't have the time or energy to do much of anything other than plant a few vegetables and tend a few chickens.
Unlike a lot of people out there who expect me to hand out my earnings so they can get by. If it is a shack you live in then so be it. That's how the cards fall.
Molly: None of us got where we are today just by our own strivings. We are all dependent on somebody, and we are all interdependent on everybody else.
Right now, I don't have the misfortune of living in the northeast section of Japan. I have lived through a natural disaster, though a minor one compared to what the Japanese are going through, and it is extremely destructive to one's soul and spirit: You can't understand unless you've gone through something similar.
One more thing, Here in NY welfare recipients get a free cell phone. You and I pay for that. I dont know about you, but the phone I have I pay for myself.
Molly: First of all, be thankful that you have enough resources so that you can pay for your own cell phone.
But, to address your comment, you are talking about the Lifeline and Link-Up programs.
I did a bit of research on this, and, of course, the Heritage Organization completely misrepresents the program, which is not surprising. So it's not surprising that someone who has been drinking conservative Koolaid is not going to the get the story straight.
The program has been around for years, since the 90's. It was not started by the Obama administration, and it is funded not by the taxpayers, but by the phone companies.
People can qualify for these phones if they are so poor that they qualify for food stamps, heating assistance, or section 8 vouchers, and free school lunches. Those who qualify get approximately one hour's worth of time a month. The specific program that is pilloried by the right is the Safe Link program, started by the Bush II generation, but it has its roots in many programs over the decades that have provided rural and poor areas with phone access. Look it up yourself .. and don't just rely on right-wing rags for your information. The right wing rags, usually financed by the fat cats, have a vested interest in keeping one group of middle class and working class people divided from another.
Why should we all be equal? Earn it.
Molly: Right now you are convinced that you have gotten what you deserved, and those poor people are in their situation due to their own laziness, lack of initiative, etc. You believe that is true even in this recession when up to and over 30 million people can't find jobs.
If that's what you feel, there is not much more I can say.