Friday, March 9, 2012
THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT
Now I’m not a part of the top 1% of the wealthy in the United States, but I’ve earned a couple of bucks with my business, Palmer Realty. People have often said to me “Connie you look like a million”, and I’ve taken the compliment in stride—who wouldn’t—but having a couple of million bucks and looking like you have it are two different things. I’d rather have it and so would most people I know. However, I’ll venture to say that the truly rich don’t have to flaunt their wealth, because its what’s in their bank account and not what’s on that backs that really matters.
You see, the rich are different, and we can stand around debating that statement until the end of time, but it’s a fact. The United State of America has never been without class divisions, and if you think that it ever has then I’ve got a gold mine in Manhattan that I’d like to sell to you. Shoot, the Founding Fathers weren’t a bunch of dirt farmers scratching to make a living. They were the nation’s elite. The vast majority had money and money means power. If I’m lying then somebody has got to prove it to me.
It doesn’t make sense that truly rich people would think the way that average income or poor people think. If you’re rich you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, or how to pay the light bill or how to keep the heat on in your house. You see, money gives you a freedom and independence that poverty does not, and with freedom comes privilege. You’re going to be treated different in society if you’re privileged. The rules that apply to those with money aren’t always the same as those that apply to those without it. If you’re rich and you steal some money that doesn’t belong to you then it's called “misappropriation of funds”. If you’re poor and you swipe the same money from the same people then it’s called “stealing” or "robbery". The rich can afford high priced lawyers who can get them off with a hand slap—a suspended sentence, maybe home detention or a fine. The poor get a public defender assigned to them and more often than not they will serve some jail time.
I even read an article on line with the following headline: Wealthy More Likely to Lie or Cheat. The headline implied that we were supposed to be surprised. The article reported that researchers had conducted experiments with hundreds of wealthy people, defined by the study as the “upper class”, and it was found that this class was “more likely to break the law while driving, take candy from children, lie in negotiations, cheat to increase their odds of winning a prize and endorse unethical behavior at work.” Okay, and?
It went on to say that with a few exceptions (i.e. Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates) “upper class individuals are more self-focused, they privilege themselves over others, and they engage in self-interested patterns of behavior.” That’s a lot of hot air simply to say that rich folks know that they’ve got it like that and they mean to keep it that way. I have no doubt that they will fight like hell if anybody tries to interfere.
Well, all of this doesn’t make rich folks look too good in general, but of course it’s not all bad. The wealthy contribute to a lot of good causes in this country. Their generosity can change a lot of lives. Money does make a difference and there’s no sense in denying it.
I don’t remember who said it but the quote went something like this: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and rich is much better.” So we can all muse on that!