reply to post by LogicalExplanation
Successful people like to think they deserve their wealth because of superior ability and hard work. While these may be factors in their success, the
reality is: success depends on a host of factors, outside the control of any one individual. In large part, success comes down to good fortune or
luck. There are plenty of brilliant, hard working people in this world that don't achieve great success.
E.g., if you had a small business that needed a bank loan in the recession of 91-92 or in the past few months, your company would have gone out of
business. The same business started a few years ago however, would have found capital readily available and might have grown rapidly--everything else
being the same. Success often comes down to who you know, or what industry you decided go into as a young person (e.g., Wall Street vs Technology vs
Medicine). In many organizations, success depends hugely on whether your boss takes a liking to you. If you went to Harvard or Yale, your
opportunities will be higher than those who could only afford a public university. You also might have been successful but for the presence of one
other individual, who otherwise bested you. His or her persence might have changed your fortunes from superstar to nobody (as in Sports where 1/100th
of a second can make all the difference between storied Gold and Silver nobody). A Tech business started in the '90s and sold for $100s of millions
might fetch nothing today. Success is determined by so many unpredictable factors outside of one's control.
When people do find success and make great wealth, their good fortune is rarely replicated in their offspring. Their offspring might get big jobs
with big titles by virtue of their wealth and power--and they might even do well at those jobs, but it is unlikely they would ever have risen to those
positions were they not born to wealth. They certainly don't 'deserve' it (e.g., Paris Hilton).
So the argument that successful people deserve it only goes so far. Sure you deserve to win the lottery--if you are lucky enough to do so--and we'd
like you to try.
Society however should give everyone the opportunity to succeed. It must prevent wealth from concentrating into a few families that control
everything and pull all the strings. To maintain a healthy competition, it needs to take estates apart over a few generations.
Certain basics are essential to ensure competition, e.g., everyone should have the right to healthcare, an education, protection from crime...
The tax system must be fair. The current system is not. The middle class pays a greater share of their income in taxes than the wealthy. Even with
a 39% tax rate, they will continue to do so (because of tax shelters and capital gains which are taxed at a much lower rate). Warren Buffett pointed
out that he paid only 17% tax on his $46million income, while the secretaries in his office pool were paying as much as 30% tax on their incomes. The
current tax system is basicly welfare for the rich.
This nation has a lot of self-deluded people who are so unbelievably greedy that they would deny healthcare to small children so they can concentrate
more of the wealth for themselves. The Canadian, French, English or Denmark systems are much appealing to me than our own.
The middle class today is drowning in debt, with next to no savings. This situation is bad for them but is not good for the rich either, because it
is inherently unstable. I doubt the American people will permit the complete transformation of society into a wealthy nobility that rules a poor
uneducated peasant class.
We do need a change. We need leadership that creates a more level playing field and minimally provides the basics to people so they can thrive and
aspire to the proverbial brass ring.