Apparently being a billionaire isn’t as popular as it used to be.

There is no doubt that there are a few people in this world who have more money than they or their heirs will ever be able to spend. The question seems to be: Do they have a right to that money or do we?

Claiming that the “laws of equality” entitle us to their billions is just wrong prima fascia. The Constitution provides for equal treatment under the law. It provides for equal opportunity — you have the same opportunity to make billions as they do — but it does not guarantee equal outcome. After all, what’s the difference between someone with an MBA who is a CEO yanking down $100K per year and the MBA who’s working the counter at McDonalds? Equal opportunity, not equal outcome.

I saw another post where one of these supposed billionaires was talking to an audience about how he could never, ever spend all the billions of dollars he had and that it wouldn’t even begin to stimulate the economy or provide jobs. So, was he offering to give it all away? Doubtful.

I am one of those who lives paycheck to paycheck, just making ends meet. I have no plans or desires to become a millionaire or billionaire, yet neither do I think I have a right to their money. If the government wants to tax that money back into circulation with a death tax, fine. If the government wants to tax earnings over a certain threshold with high taxes, fine. Just be aware that to do so creates just the right impetus for the average billionaire to take his money and go elsewhere — like maybe Switzerland. Actually, these guys didn’t get to be billionaires by being stupid. They know how to protect their money or they wouldn’t have it.

Are all billionaires created equal? Lumping all of them into one pot seems a bit like lumping all the welfare takers into one pot. Maybe some billionaires have a net worth of over a billion dollars, but that isn’t in cash. It may be in real estate holdings full of tenants, shares of corporations that provide jobs to people, commercial businesses that provide goods and services and jobs too. Then there is the billionaire that this guy wants us to believe that all billionaires are like — the playboy who never worked a day in his life and jet-sets around the world spending his money — not a fair picture.

If you want to squelch creativity, entrepreneurship and industry, just tax it to death and it will die. On the other hand, if you tax everything over a certain portion of invested earnings, at least offer a dollar for dollar tax credit for charitable contributions to United States based charitable organizations. If they are not going to be allowed to keep their money, at least let them choose how it is going to be spent.

The problem saying billionaires have too much money and shouldn’t be allowed to keep it all is that it is a communist and socialist ideal. First it is the billionaire they want to eliminate. They’re already talking about taxing millionaires out of existence too, but when they talk about “taxing the rich” the “rich” suddenly became anyone with a combined family income over $250,000. Yeah! Jump on the bandwagon! Let’s get those dirty “rich” people! Just wait until they knock on your door and tell you that any family making $50,000 per year or more is “rich”.

midnight gravy

One of my favourite progressive commentators, Thom Hartmann, weighs in on whether the world really needs billionaires…

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2 thoughts on “When is too much too much?

  1. Thanks for reblogging and commenting. Although I don’t agree with your take on this, I appreciate the time you took to put forth your ideas. The concept of tempering greed is not just a communist and socialist ideal. It is also an ideal of just about every religion that ever existed. I ask you: at what point is too much too much? Should one man be allowed to own 99% of a nation’s wealth? 50%? How much is “enough”? With the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision, America’s wealthy were given unprecedented influence over US politics and direction. Is this right? Are your everyday concerns and interests the same as theirs? Do they care?

    • There is obviously a reason for separation of church (religion) and state (government). If the tenets of your religious beliefs state that greed is a sin, by all means do not be greedy, but that has little to do with the government’s “right” to take money away from people “they” define as greedy.

      My religious beliefs also state that “it is easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”, but that is between the rich man and his God. It is not my place to make that judgement.

      In most civilizations and also recognized in most religions throughout the world and history of the world there have been wealthy kings and merchants. They have not been condemned for their wealth, only for their actions.

      I guarantee that most of our Senators and Congressmen, high-paid government officials, Mr. President himself, are quite wealthy. I seriously doubt that they will enact any law that jeopardizes their own wealth, nor will they be likely or willing to give it up.

      I am not willing to condemn the wealth of one set of people to provide wealth and power to another set of people, with whom I do not agree politically or ethically anyway. Are you?

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