Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Wealth Envy

I found this while browsing some of my morning news sites today and decided to share it. I would love your feedback on this subject.

From Neil Boortz at


Lately I've been collecting examples of wealth envy from various sources; mainly newspapers. The topic interests me for a number of reasons:

Wealth envy is usually an excuse-making or defensive mechanism for those who have failed to become what they would consider to be "rich." These people can't understand why this is so. After all, they're good people aren't they? And they work just as hard as anyone else does! Yet they're not wealthy! It can't be them! It must be the other guy! So, they take comfort in believing that wealthy people must have acquired their wealth through dishonest means. By cheating people, exploiting people, and by using crooked lawyers. The real problem with this, other than the fact that it simply isn't true, is that the person who develops this wealth-hatred is really programming himself or herself to remain in their present economic situation. If you have convinced yourself that to become wealthy is a bad thing, then why in the world would your subconscious mind ever allow you to make the decisions or take the actions that would lead to wealth?

It's no secret that I'm a general aviation nut. I love to fly, and I celebrate the fact that I live in a country where people are free to get into an airplane and fly almost anywhere they want; just so long as they follow the rules set down by the FAA. As an advocate of general aviation I've been following anti-airport and anti-general aviation activities for literally 20 years. Two areas of specific interest to me are the two airports where I base my airplane; Atlanta's Dekalb-Peachtree airport and the Naples (Florida) Municipal Airport. Both airports have active anti-airport groups. In both groups there has been ample evidence of wealth envy. In Atlanta we have complaints from people who don't like "those rich people from Dunwoody flying their airplanes over our houses." In Naples they have a new city councilman who, in a previous campaign, supported closing the Naples airport, saying that moving the airport out of the city would give those people in their limousines a chance to sip more wine on the way to the airport. In the Sunday Naples newspaper another anti-airport resident referred to the people who use the Naples airport as "a few wealthy commuters."

Wealth envy is an emotion that is eagerly exploited by politicians for power. We can thank wealth envy for our present tax code. The 16th Amendment would never have been ratified if it had not been presented to the people of this country as a way to punish the rich. Like it or not, our economy is powered by people who take chances. If they couple their risk-taking with good choices they will likely become wealthy. In the process they create hundreds of thousands of jobs and produce tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue for government. You doubt this? The next time you need a job, ask a poor person; and why don't you tell us of all of the wonderful government programs like roads, libraries, health clinics and public safety departments that have been funded with taxes on the poor.

And then I found this posted on some Internet site yesterday relating to the vice-president's shooting accident:

"This may be an opportunity to open a new Global Free market: Shoot the Rich. They are vermin regardless which country they live in. Of course we should take advantage of the "trickle down economy" by issuing hunting licenses and stamps as we do for ducks. There are enough of them to have a year round open season - no bag limit bur must measure at least $1 million. .... For those of you who object that this suggestion may be illegal, just remember that the Rich do not follow rules or laws, so why should we?"

There we have a posting by someone who just can't understand why they are not wealthy. After all, they've followed the rules, right? So why aren't they rich? The only excuse this person can come up with is that rich people "do not follow rules or laws."

Wealth envy is irrational and damaging, both to the individual and to our society.

Good one Neil!

Back to JD. I read this and thought about it a bit. I must agree with Neil. I think wealth envy is a favorite tool of the politicians to play the haves against the have nots. I have been saying for a long time that in America you can achieve whatever you want to. All you have to do is be willing to work hard, sacrifice, and be semi-smart. Sometimes folks who do not make it have to blame it on someone else. Other times perhaps it is just bad luck but there are so many success stories in America of people who tried and failed then tried again over and over until they got it right then BAM! They struck gold! I would still be working for someone, making 30K or less had I not got off my butt and decided to do better. I have a long way to go but if I had gotten my act together in my 20's instead of waiting so late in life who knows what I might have accomplished by now.

I always go back to the Col. Sanders story from the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. He supposedly tried to sell his chicken recipe to 1,000 restaurants before he found a buyer but he never gave up until he struck gold. There are thousands of stories like that one, all true. The kicker is you do not have to be dirty or cheat anyone to make it in America. It can be done honestly and lawfully.

Carpe Diem!

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