Tag Archives: wealthy

Hyppo and Critter: Mike Ditka’s Redskins


What Does The Rich Say?

If wealthy enough you start believing your own hype and thinking shit like this is a good idea.

Get wealthy enough and you start believing your own hype and thinking shit like this is a good idea.

Earlier I espoused my pet theory (my precious!) that the odds of being an asshole increase exponentially with the acquisition of wealth. For example, if someone is in the top one percent there’s an asshole threshold (AT) of 99 percent. For the top .01 percent that grows to 99.99 percent.

I said at the time I said that I thought extreme wealth was a function of “lie, cheat and steal (LCS).”

Is it a chicken and egg kind of thing? Are people in the top .01 percent because they were born with LCS? Or was LCS something they had to learn to get there? Chicken and egg.

Thinking about this, I thought to myself, “If only there was some way to know.”

Then I realized that an existing data study might be useful. But what existing data is available? How about words taken right out of their own mouths? Perhaps that might provide some insight into their character and world view.

Case Study – Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc was a “restauranteur” and founder of McDonalds Corporation and included in Time: The 100 Most Important People of the Century. Perhaps not in the .01 percent Kroc was still considerably wealthy, worth about $500 million when he died in 1984. The Kroc family now has an estimated worth of $1.7 billion.

Suffice it say he’s sold a few “hamburgers” and made a few bucks. Let’s see what he has to say.

If any of my competitors were drowning, I’d stick a hose in their mouth and turn on the water. It is ridiculous to call this an industry. This is not. This is rat eat rat, dog eat dog. I’ll kill ’em, and I’m going to kill ’em before they kill me. You’re talking about the American way – of survival of fittest.

–Ray Kroc

Source: Bloomsbury Business Library – Business Thinkers & Management Giants (2007)

Wow. He truly sounds like a great guy. I think we’re ready for the peer review process to begin.

I’m updating my hypothesis. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that wealthy people say all sorts of the darnedest things. Like upside-down Weebles, they have an overly-inflated sense of self and think they can’t fall down. That’s when they’re at their quotable best. (See: Sterling, Donald.) It’s almost like they get off on exposing themselves. As if to say, “See what I can do? I don’t just have all the money. I can also do this. What are you going to do about it? Ha ha ha.”

Can you find other compelling examples of what the rich say?

Maximum Rage

monopolyThis week’s Saturday Reblog touched briefly on the minimum wage issue. In light of current events and the passing of Labor Day (that sounds about right) I wish to expound on this topic a bit more. My goal is to make a couple of points that I think are patently obvious that I haven’t quite seen before, not that I’ve looked very hard. –Ed.

The Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. This minimum rate of pay became effective way back on July 24, 2009, as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  That was over four years ago.

Like practically all business laws in this country, the FLSA law provides plenty of exceptions and loopholes in favor of business. The standard practice is to make laws that appease the mindless masses by rendering them toothless. If the law was a ravenous tiger it wouldn’t even be able to gum anyone to death.
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Hyppo and Critter: Million vs 25k

Overvalued: Oh oligarchy, oh obligations!

The Redistribution of WealthHang on, kiddies. Here we go an yet another rambling, non-cohesive post that travels all over hill and dell and even has a little Octomom thrown in for good measure, if you read all the way to the end…

For three decades, the United States has seen the movement of wealth from the bottom to the top. Thus, this question has to be asked: Is this a good thing?

Not surprisingly, I’m sure most of the wealthy would answer, “Oh yeah. So good. Oh yeah, that’s it. Don’t stop. Uh huh, uh huh.”

That’s just ducky for them!

Those giving up the wealth, however, might not be that eager to agree.

On second thought, the needs of the many can bite me right now.

In my humble opinion, though, the question, “Is this a good thing?” needs to be couched in a broader context. To properly answer a question like that, I suggest that we must consider it on a societal level, not on a per individual basis.

What good is accomplished by shifting wealth from the many to the few? Does it make America stronger? Does it create more jobs? Does it reduce the crime rate? Does it lessen the amount of pain and suffering? Does it put more food in the bellies of undernourished children? Does it improve or hurt the standard of living for the most members of our society?

Wikipedia says an oligarchy is “a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, corporate, or military control.” I suggest that the last three decades have decidedly moved us in that direction.

Even with the last three decades under our belt there is still much debate about the tax rates paid by the wealthy. Earlier today on CBS Sunday Morning I saw someone claiming that multimillionaires in the United States pay about 17% percent in taxes. Down near the bottom of the barrel, I make a few bucks an hour more than minimum wage and can barely afford a new pair of sneakers. Yet my tax rate is double than that. How can that be? How can my rate be double compared to people who own mansions, boats and multiple cars just for fun? That is fucked up.

How about we say, “Fuck higher tax rates for the wealthy? How about they simply pay that same rate as those who have much less wealth?”

So the debate rages on. Those on the right say we need to cut government spending (but hold steady or increase defense) while reducing taxes on the wealthiest among us as a way to reduce the deficit. Those on the left say than an increase in the tax rate on the wealthy is needed.

In the past the top marginal tax rate on the wealthy was high, at or above 90% in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. But it has declined ever since. By the time of Nixon it was down to 70%. Under Reagan it dropped to about 50%. The George W. Bush tax cuts kept it around 35%.

The results of the last 30 years are now known. The rich are richer and the poor are poorer. Is this a good thing? I think the results speak for themselves. The U.S. unemployment rate is too damn high. Too many American jobs have been outsourced. We’ve had the recession, the mortgage crisis, and the bailouts. And the debt is out of control. Things are clearly not working as they should.

I don’t know a lot about money. I find economics too abstract and confusing beyond a very simple level. When I was in the first or second grade, I remember wanting a book called “Money.” My teacher told me if I read enough books I’d earn the book I wanted. I read those books, and I remember winning my prize. Unfortunately, I no longer remember what was in it.

What I know about money is that it is paper. Beyond our belief that it has value, money is basically meaningless. I’m reasonably certain, however, if you give me $4 U.S. dollars, there is a very high probability I can take those four pieces of paper to my nearby Carl’s Jr. and trade them for a delicious turkey hamburger. That is, if they are dumb enough, like me, to believe those pieces of paper have actual value. They will agree to that trade, and give me the hamburger, if they expect to trade the pieces of paper for something they want, and so on and so forth.

I’ve heard that money used to be backed by gold, something known as the gold standard. But I’ve heard that money is no longer backed by gold. I know that a dollar bill used to say “United States Note” but now it says “Federal Reserve Notes” but I’m too fucking stupid to know what that really means. I’ve been told that means each dollar bill I receive is actually a debt (or liability) that I now owe to the Federal Reserve. I think. But I don’t even really know what that means. One of my favorite movies is Zeitgeist and a portion of the film is dedicated to this sort of thing. They sure make it sound ominous as shit, and I feel bad I don’t really know what it all means.

It’s a lot like The Debt. I know, as a country, that we have debt. And I know it is large. I’m not economist, but I know what happens when people have too much debt. They declare bankruptcy and the creditors generally take it on the chin. I can’t help but wonder: What will happen if our country does that, too? It seems to me that if you have a system that is unsustainable, eventually it will fail.

Will we all have to speak a foreign language? Will we be herded into camps? Will there be war on United States soil? Perhaps Americans will be the latest people to work for a few dollars a day while people in other countries specialize in drinking Starbucks and buying expensive toys? Maybe the United States will someday become the trendy country to outsource jobs? At this point, there is probably literally nothing that would surprise me. Let’s just say that these are confusing times and I, for one, am glad to be on the backside of 30. I’m not so sure I want to hear how the story ends.

I do know this: I’ve worked all of my life since the day I was 16. During that time, I have been forced, by the terrible power of government, to pay, against my will, into a program known as Social Security. My understanding of this program is that I pay in to help other people retire, and on the day I retire, the program will automatically end and I’ll get absolutely nothing back. When that happens, I will feel … irritated. To say the least. My situation will no doubt be bone-chilling compared to someone like Ida May Fuller, the first ever recipient of a Social Security check back on January 31, 1940. She shrewdly paid $24.75 into the system but took back out $22,888.92 in monthly benefits. Now that is one whopper of an investment!


Apparently Octomom makes a great Halloween costume

In other news, for all you sadistic get-to-the-bottom readers out there…

Octomom. Gone but not forgotten. At least by me, and certainly not on the day of the “O” post. What’s she been up to?

By the way, did you know she had six children before giving birth to octuplets? Words fail me. That’s a lot of poop!

Anywho, I hear that Octmom is facing the possibility of being evicted from her $585,000 California home. Apparently she needs money. A couple of web sites have reported that she’s considering using a dating service that will pay her $5,000 t0 $10,000 for each “first date” that she goes on.

So listen up, people! If you’ve been saving up your money for a rainy day, this could be it. Blow it all on a first date with a woman who has 14 children.

I can see the personal ad now. “Must love octoforms.”

This is my “O” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”

Hyppo and Critter: Obama raises taxes

If health care was a boat named Titanic …

Titanic health careI had a thought today. “What if health care in the United States was a little boat known as the Titanic?”

The first thing I realized is that rich old white men would probably be the owners of all the lifeboats so they’d be tasked with determining the order of loading those lifeboats. I’m sure they’d be completely fair and unbiased about it.

Rich old white men safely loaded onto lifeboats. Check!

After that, though, what then? I’d assume pregnant women and young children would still get some consideration regardless of their scrilla status.

After that, the remaining folks would be prioritized by wealth and in an indirect way, pretty much by race as well. That’s an excellent way to do it, right?