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If I had to pick one mantra from the left that is the most annoying of them all, it’s the "rich getting richer, poor getting poorer" schtick. Of course, it’s true. We WANT our society to get richer and richer. But if someone who’s poor is getting poorer, it’s their own damn fault.

But we need to define our terms here. The "rich" aren’t getting richer. It’s the "productive" that are getting richer in America. Our "poor" people are victims of our country’s own runaway success. Our "poorest" people earn more money than 75% of the rest of the world’s population. (Give or take.) The baseline for our idea of being poor is so much higher than the rest of the world that we’ve created an endemic unwillingness to make the choices one needs to be even mildly more successful. Because unless I’m motivated to be as productive as I need to be to raise my living condition, sitting in my comfy easy chair, inside my air conditioned house, eating chips and drinking diet pepsi, watching cable tv, smoking cigarettes that cost me $5 a pack… isn’t such a bad living, on the whole.

So, unless I start making decisions in my life that move me in the direction of success and which motivate me to being more productive than my current situation demands, I’m not going to get much richer and I’m more likely than not, going to get poorer over time. My kids will probably follow suit, statistically speaking.

Case in point. Let’s take Alice, a 41 year old waitress, mother of 4, in Mosquito Spit, Alabama. (Names have been changed to protect the poor.) She was raised in a family that made bad choices in life so she didn’t start off all that good to begin with. (Again, bad decisions tend to be passed down from generation to generation.) Alice MADE A DECISION to drop out of High School to attend a trade school. Now she’s limited her options in life. Okay… not an altogether disatrous choice by itself. Let’s move on… Alice MADE A CHOICE to have unprotected sex with her high school boyfriend and got pregnant. Now her options in life have narrowed yet again, in the absense of any other mitigating circumstances. (Like winning the lottery, for instance.) Alice MADE A CHOICE to marry a man who wasn’t particularly ambitious in life. Alice MADE A CHOICE to buy that brand new car because it sure was nice. She can handle the payments as long as nothing else in life happens. She’ll worry about investing for her retirement later. Alice MADE A CHOICE to run up some credit card debt and pay the minimum balances from now until the end of time. Alice MADE A CHOICE to just work at the diner and then come home and watch TV or go out with her friends and/or husband and not look for ways to improve her situation like going to school or starting a side business or SOMETHING. Alice MADE A CHOICE to have yet another kid when paying the car payment was a huge strain at this point in life already. Alice MADE A CHOICE to have yet another kid. Alice MADE A CHOICE to have yet ANOTHER kid… putting her husband and herself permanently in the category of what we call poor.

Starting with that first choice and following her choices throughout her life, is it any wonder she’s poor and without health insurance? Sure, if you look at just today, a 41 year old woman with 4 kinds and barely making it from month to month, we can have pity and wonder "what’s happened to our country that we can let this 41 year old woman and her family make so little and not have health insurance?… etc."

But, here’s the kicker, folks… she CHOSE her station in life. Plain and simple. So why should I be the one that foots the bill for her to raise her situation? Unless she’s been horribly handicapped and cannot take care of herself or her kids, it’s HER choice to be where she’s at. Period! Here’s where the rubber meets the road and what you absolutely NEED to understand. This ability to choose is the GOOD thing about America. Not the bad thing. We have a choice in this country to either make decisions that lead us to success and relative comfort or the other way.

So, back to the stupid saying, "the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer." What’s assinine about this statement is it assumes that if I am a "rich" person and I’m making $1,000,000 a year, that same amount of money is being removed from circulation and no one else can make that same serial numbered quantity of currency because it’s being made by me, the rich guy.

It helps to put this in context by removing the money terminology. All money is is a physical manifestation of productivity. If I am productive for 1 hour, I earn $X of dollars in exchange for my productivity. So, money = productivity. Another example of this is direct money productivity. If I put $100 into an investment, that money is producing a unit of productivity for the company I invested it in. It gets money in return for its productivity called interest. So, no matter how you parse it, money = productivity.

Now, let’s go over this saying again, in context. The rich (productive) are getting richer (more and more productive.) The poor (relatively less productive) are getting poorer (less and less productive.) The bottom line is, you need to make choices in life that get you in a position to become more and more productive. This will create wealth in your lifetime. Bad choices will hamper you from being more and more productive over time and you will become poorer and poorer as you spiral downwards. Now, of course, there are varying levels of success and "rich". But you get my point. Life is a series of little choices. All of them lead somewhere. Make the right choices and America is where you want to be because the sky is the limit. Ironically, America is where you want to be also, if you’ve made piss poor choices all your life. But the point is, it’s YOUR CHOICE as to what end of that scale you end up finding yourself. Next post, I’m going to tell you my story of choices.

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  1. […] iness Ideas Blogging Myterious Life Recent Posts Rich Get Richer – Part 2 Rich Ge […]

  2. […] bout in one of my previous posts about the rich getting richer and the poor getting lazier here and here. The poor in this country are so well off compare […]

  3. […] bout in one of my previous posts about the rich getting richer and the poor getting lazier here and here. The poor in this country are so well off compare […]

  4. Hi Kenny,

    I can appreciate your wanting to lash out at me. But please know who I am before passing judgement on me. I’m sad that people want to speak with such hatred and personal condemnation towards me when they don’t even know me.

    First, if you’ll read my follow up post to the one you commented on, you’ll find that I open it with the following:

    “In my previous post, I wrote that the poor in this country aren’t getting poorer because of anyone but themselves, for the most part. I would like to qualify that statement by saying that those who are handicapped or cannot fend for themselves are by definition, not the people I am talking about. If the government should help anyone in need, it’s the indigent and helpless. Actually, I think people who can’t make the choices we make because of physical impairment should live a relatively well off life, financially, with the help of the government (us.)”

    I am probably more emphathetic and caring than many that you would consider to be “democrats.”

    I wasn’t chiding those that are dealt a bad hand in life. I was talking about those that make bad decisions (decisions are by their very definition, things that you DO have control over otherwise they wouldn’t be called “decisions”) and then expect the government (us) to pay their way through life.

    I think you completely misunderstood the entire point of the article. If you can read it again, with what I’ve just stated, in mind… perhaps you’ll come away with a different attitude towards me.

    Kenny… I’m sure you can agree with me that attacking me personally without knowin me isn’t the best way to have a discussion. I’d love to have a discussion with you, but I’d prefer that it be civil without name calling and an underlying stream of hatred to it.

    Best Wishes,
    Dan Sherman

    P.S. I was “dealt” a fairly rotten life in childhood but I made choices later that allowed me to succeed. My mother can’t leave her house because her health is so poor. But, yet again, it’s becaue of the choices she made to smoke early on in life. I think you’ll find that many things that appear to be “dealt” are actually brought upon ourselves. (I’m not talking about being born with medical deficiencies. As I said earlier, those that CAN’T fend for themselves should actually be helped by the public in spades.)

  5. Hi there,
    I not writing to make judgment on you, I’m just curious to how the other half thinks. You could very well be a member of my family by the way you are talking about the rich and the poor….how it all comes about as choices.
    Your right, choice is what can difine a person’s quality of life in this country. However, I do believe one has to be healthy to make the right choices, to be well informed and guided by responsible adults. This is what gives children the skills to live a happy healthy life and enables them to grow up and live fulfilling lives according to the American dream. Many children in this country get off on the wrong foot as a result of bad parenting….or lack of good early education.
    To make this story short, I will tell you that I’m an early education teacher and I earn very little for the service I give this society. My job is to provide a service that will raise socially responsible children that will feel good enough about themselves that they can create the life of their choice. To give back and care about the quality of life for all people and hopefully think of others as well as themselves when searching for their own happiness. I receive very little pay for this service. I have a degree in Early childhood education but I earn only $11.00 an hour for this absolute necessary skill I provide society. I’m in absolute poverty, which I didn’t expect when I embarked upon this journey. I made a choice and followed my heart and gift for teaching, but failed in other aspects such as the wisdom of finance. Yes, I agree this was a choice but how does one fix bad choices or change a system that isn’t working for the working poor [as the poor all love to say ” the rich get ritcher and the poor get poorer”]?
    By the way I live in Washingtion state.
    You sound like an intelligent person so I made the choice to pry a little wisdom from you.
    If your not born a capitalist, yet live in this system how do you make ends meet?
    Please share your ideas.
    I’m sure if you have children you may put them in early childhood programs … so please think about their teachers when you have to pay out maybe $700. or more a month and then realize that the money goes to maintain the program that houses the school, but very little goes into the pockets of the teachers that need to live.
    Those of us that make choices to do wonderful things for children and families still need to be thought of in terms of the whole money making scheme.
    I’m not wanting to make this email to you a soup box speech for early education teachers, but want to let you know that without low wages for such a service then the rich wouldn’t be able to get richer. What if we charged a sliding scale for our service, charge the rich with a percentage of their earnings and the poor the same. I would love this choice to make society responsible for it’s future generation on equitable terms.
    I’m always open to ideas and leaning.
    Thankyou Lynn

  6. Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. In particular, thanks for being civil in your discourse. It’s refreshing.

    I don’t consider making $1700 a month poverty. If you’ve made the right choices, that is.

    But let me address how the underlying issue here. The career path you’ve chosen is low paid because too many people are willing to do it. It’s the laws of supply and demand. No matter how valiant a job is, we choose to either do it or not, after learning what the pay is. You said this:

    Those of us that make choices to do wonderful things for children and families still need to be thought of in terms of the whole money making scheme.

    You have to understand that pay is never associated with the intrinsic “good” the performer is doing for society. Pay is a function of supply and demand. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s what drives our economy and the economy of the world. It is only by understanding this that we can make informed decisions.

    If you applied for the job of picking berries and the pay was $1 an hour and you didn’t want to live on that much, you’d go to another job. If you’re entire life’s dream has been to pick berries, then you’d have to choose between the dream or the reality of living off $1 an hour. There’s NOTHING that can change this dynamic.

    The fact that you’re paid $11 an hour is a direct result of too many people willing to work at your job for $11 or less an hour. Period. If the place you are working at couldn’t find anyone to work for that much, they’d have to raise the salary and pass it on to the parent’s tuition.

    The fact that it’s such a needed and vitally important job is totally separate from the fact that there are so many people willing to do it for $11 an hour. If you’re choosing to do this career, you’re choosing to earn that money. There’s no other way to look at it.

    Now, back to assigning the term “poverty” to $1700 a month. Again, only if you’ve made choices that place you in a financially compromising position. (Again, my caveat is in place here… if you were born with medical conditions that require a lot of money to take care of, that is NOT a choice and the government should be helping.) Did you buy a car and take on a hefty payment? New cars require more insurance. Did you choose to have children which require a lot of time and money? Do you eat out when it could cost you a lot less to eat in? Do you drink coffee from expensive coffee houses? The list goes on. If you make the right choices, given the circumstances you are in, you could live find on $1700 a month and actually save at the same time.

    To improve your salary, you simply must choose another occupation. Period. If there is no upward mobility in your position, with no chance of higher and higher salaries, and you WANT to make more money, it would be foolish to stay where you are.

    Then, if more people think like that and migrate to higher paying positions, perhaps the early education field will become higher paying because they won’t be able to find people to work at $11 an hour anymore. In a way, you’re perpetuating the salary levels by staying there, at that salary.

    Also, I’m sure you have skills in other areas or interests at least. Think of ways to make money off duty. Devote every waking moment to furthering yourself financially. Do it while you’re young. Then you’ll be in position to have a family, comfortably, later on.

    The bottom line is, every single decision you make, whether it be where to go on vacation or whether to have a tall latte… think of how that decision affects your future. Because today’s decision can be looked back on 5 years from now as a decision that wasn’t supportive of your oveall goal. Whatever that might be.

  7. Dan,

    I do not think that humanity on whole benefits from people “spending all their waking time thinking about how to make themselves better financially”. I would agree that efforts people take to educate themselves, develop skills and remain productive are all positive – but, I would not assume that people who focus their lives around the “bottom-line” will be better off necessarily or that we can assume that “poor choices leads to poor life outcomes” is any more sophisticated an observation than “wealth redistribution will answer lifes problems”.

    Jeremy Rifkin, is one economist who recognizes that the global marketplace and availability of automation will create oversupply of labour. It is not that people will cease to want things but they will not have the ability to buy them. Even the current buying power of the American dollar is being supported by external economies who need the US marketplace to act as a buyer of last resort eg. US dollar overvalued and Chinese Juan undervalued.

    Consider how many things that exist in the world are not really new but are modifications of pre-existing needs and how this suggests that there may indeed be a limit on what people actually want materially. Today, the biggest global need is for basic necessities – and in the industrial world, the biggest need is for jobs to support basic needs.

    For a long time, society created work in order to support a viable consumer market. The price paid provided people a wage, enabled them to be consumers and at the same time avoided more costly expenditures related to unemployment such as jails. Today, efficiency being measured by profit has necessitated the end of redundant positions without providing viable alternatives. Certainly, society has to deal with the consequences of the free market decision with more jails, higher crime rates and more police presence. If people are thought of as statistical “costs” then todays jail is more efficient as it enables the creation of a private workforce below min. wage, jobs for correction workers and guaranteed profits paid to jailers from government/tax-payers. By this argument, I mean to say that society bears the costs one way or the other even though some ways are more directly observable and immediate than others.

    If you assume wages are set by the availability of people to perform a job then you must accept that eventually even the most skilled jobs will have many more people able to perform them thus driving their collective wages down. So, even people who make the best decisions, may eventually be forced with earning wages below their desired goal due to oversupply.

    People are beginning to question the skills requirements needed for jobs and have already challenged many professional credentials as being overinflated. In todays market, educators/professional associations/govt are seeking to change jobs that require short-on-the-job-training to ones that need degrees and thus remove unemployed labourers from the marketplace while they are students. Thus, Economists and statisticians are obscuring real market demand for skilled labourers.

    By asking a low skilled labourer (berry-picker) to look for a better wage, you ask him to compete against many skilled labourers who are willing to work unskilled jobs. You are asking someone to fight a losing battle: why would an HR person hire a berry picker over an MBA ex-manager willing to work for the same wage? In the age of downsizing, automation, inflated credentials, labour oversupply and offshoring it is not surprising that there are berry-pickers who work at below subsistance wages and who are entirely dependent on the charity of others for survival. The problem lies in the scarcity of soup kitchens and shelters to sustain the growing lower class.

    I also think that there are some structural barriers that prevent people from making sound financial/career decisions:

    Ethics: some people do not want to gain financially from exploitation (child labour, unsafe working conditions)and therefore do not invest or buy materials based on price alone as a consideration. This puts individuals at a disadvantage when poverty calculations are based on meeting living needs at the lowest possible price.

    Flexible hours: being able to work multiple jobs means that you need a consistent schedule. More and more positions are not 9-5 with the exception of retail.

    Education-credential dominated society: the ability of professional associations to set advanced skill requirements means that many people cannot afford to retrain for higher paying jobs without significant costs that the poor may not be able to afford paying.

    Diluting responsibilities to lower paid professionals: many higher paid professional positions are now in the process of being diluted through lower paid assistantships eg. pharmacists – pharmacy assistants; physical therapists – physical therapist assistants and aides; occupational therapists – occupational therapist assistants. People who seek to gain entry to professional positions may face steep competition due to availability of support workers that reduce demand for professionals.

    Retraining and HR: Older workers or those who re-career to gain access to better paying careers in the market are subject to being overlooked in an employers market. If there are 100 professionals applying for a position, I may decide only to look at those professionals with 10 years or more experience even though the difference between 5 and 10 years is minimal just because I have to weed down the pile somehow. I may also discriminate against older workers who may seem to be more costly as they may not remain for a long time with the company.

    In conclusion, I think we should try and encourage individual responsibility but not neglect how many poor decisions are made because people do not have access to good role models, who get inferior education in overcrowded classrooms or who once having made a mistake, are often penalized in the process of trying to correct for it. What concerns me is the number of people in society who are working and finding it hard to live balanced lives, claim severe stress, depression etc… we cannot lump everyone into the category of “poor decision maker” and hope this will solve societies problems. We cannot also ignore the predictions of Rifkin and others who see labour oversupply as a real condition with real social consequences.

    Further reading:

    http://www.jakeg.co.uk/dissertation/

    one world ready or not: the manic logic of global capitalism
    by william greider

    http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,368155,00.html
    (above is link to end of work discussion by rifkin)

  8. Hi Jean,

    Yowza. I got dizzy just looking at how long your thesis was (and that’s what it was, right? haha) let alone taking each issue and responding to it.

    I think you’re over thinking what I’m saying. You touched on so many issues, but almost all of them have already, throughout time, been proven to be incorrect suppositions.

    The one thing I have to clarify is that I didn’t encourage everyone to spend every waking moment of their life thinking about how to get ahead. I said that’s what I do, and I can’t help it. If you believe someone can be BORN to have a prediliction towards creating businesses, that’s me. But by the same token, if you’re spending 9 to 5 at a job that’s not satisfying you either emotionally or financially and you COMPLAIN about that, and you’re not actively doing something in your off time to fix it, don’t ask me (the government) for any handouts. The biggest handout on earth is the access to opportunity we have in this country. People die in boats to come here for just that handout.

    I’ll address a few other things here:

    Jeremy Rifkin, is one economist who recognizes that the global marketplace and availability of automation will create oversupply of labour. It is not that people will cease to want things but they will not have the ability to buy them. Even the current buying power of the American dollar is being supported by external economies who need the US marketplace to act as a buyer of last resort eg. US dollar overvalued and Chinese Juan undervalued.

    Since the beginning of time, things have become increasingly automated and our population has exponentially grown as well. Yet, we seem to keep people employed. There will ALWAYS be enough employment in a vibrant, capitalist society as long as the market is allowed to run unfettered by regulatory hurtles that tend to cripple it and we keep taxes on the low side. Yes, the value of the dollar is lower against the Chinese currency. This is just a cyclical thing. China is definitely on a growth spurt but they will hit a wall because their governing class will not allow the natural progression of capitalism, which will choke it at some point.

    Consider how many things that exist in the world are not really new but are modifications of pre-existing needs and how this suggests that there may indeed be a limit on what people actually want materially. Today, the biggest global need is for basic necessities – and in the industrial world, the biggest need is for jobs to support basic needs.

    Jean, please don’t be offended… but that paragraph is just nothing but nonesense. You are looking at things from the supply side. It’s the demand side that drives economies. As long as their is a demand for something, it will be met because industrious people want to make great livings and the best way to make a great living is to provide people what they want (not what they need, necessarily.) Yes, there are all kinds of things that have evolved. Take the car. It’s essentially the same thing it was 100 years ago. We are always going to “want” that until something else comes around to supplant it. You’re putting the cart before the horse when you say that the biggest need in the industrial world is jobs to support those basic needs. It’s actually those needs (at first) that create the jobs. And it starts with the wealthy class (trickle down… I know you hate that, probably, but it’s a very accurate theory.)

    I don’t have the energy to address all the other things you said. Bottom line is this, Jean. There are ALWAYS going to be a need for the bottom tier jobs, that are low paying. But this is not to say that person has to sit at that level all their lives. If they endeavor to improve their lives and not make decisions that hamper their progress (like having 3 kids by the time you’re 23), then you WILL make it in this country. The poverty rate among people who graduate high school, get married after they are 28 and don’t have children until after they’re married, is almost non existent. (Less than 5%.)

    Thanks for commenting. If I have time, I’ll address your other posts. You’re too prolific for my replying time schedule. Ha!

    Cheers!
    Dan

  9. Hi Dan!

    Thanks for the response. I did not take offense to anything in your last post. I post on blogs merely to clarify/develop opinions and test the soundness of my arguments against those with different perspectives. You have many worthwhile discussions going here and it is nice to see such diversity of opinions.

    You mentioned that many of my points have “proven to be incorrect suppositions”. This broad statement deserves more clarification.
    Here is an itemized list of the suppositions I made, please feel free to critique them directly:

    1. There is a global oversupply of labor – as evidenced by: a) Professional/Educational credentials are inflated compared to actual job responsibilities and educational programs are lengthening for most professions. b) Jobs require local experience and downplay equivalency of foreign credentials even if standards are similar c) Networking as opposed to job ads are touted as best way to acquire positions – this would not happen if there was a shortage of candidates available for positions. d) Educational institutions fail to keep detailed statistics on the placement of their graduates and do not release how many individuals retrain after an initial career e) Industrialized societies (OECD) are lying about labor shortage predictions.

    2) Free markets will lead to greater income inequality within nations and reduce inequality between nations: a) Greater income inequality within nations leads to more crime b) More crime leads to more prisons and jailers c) Open markets encourages migration of skilled workers to those areas that have expanding markets – this trend decreases incentive for companies to invest in local training initiatives and creates a socio-economic divide in local communities based on ability to afford and remain in long education programs.

    3) There are limits to what a human needs/wants in order to be satisfied. a) Economic theories assume people have unlimited wants and needs but many of those needs were merely transfers of responsibility for tasks to outlets outside of the household or creation of time saving devices eg. dishwasher. If you consider the categories of work that there are, you can see that there are many that have always existed but rather than being a service to buy, these activities were performed in the family. Eg) in person communication -> letter writing -> telegraph -> phone -> computer -> PDA. b) People may adopt new technologies but some improvements are not seen as immediately beneficial or even better than previous modes. c) The availability of resources sets a clear limit on how much people should consume in order to have sustainable growth.

    Here is an itemized list of the suppositions you made in your response (My response is next to the R for rebuttal:

    1) You assume that a berry-picker will not remain in a job that provides a less than subsistence living because it is not in his best interest to do so.
    R: Assumes that the berry-picker can learn new skills while performing his job of berry-picking. Most training programs seek to move people into jobs as quickly as possible without emphasizing skill development. You see many low skilled workers shifting between different forms of low skill work. There is also the hurdle of competing against more skilled workers who are entering the job market or who are willing to take lower skilled positions after their companies have downsized.

    2) You assume that trickle-down theory will create jobs to improve the local economy.
    R: Many industries are essentially monopolies or oligarchies. A few companies hold all the bargaining chips and can set prices because competition is not readily available as large companies can purchase items en masse at prices no competitor can match.
    These trans-national companies take offense at being considered “US companies” and do not have any loyalty to America. Often a company bargains with state governments for subsidies in exchange for job creation initiatives and may even locate somewhere for a short time then move again – often overseas. The past few years have not shown substantial job creation in the private sector and most new jobs are being developed in the public sector. So, in many instances, governments subsidize businesses’ efforts to develop plants overseas and a local trickle-down effect is not seen.
    Businesses operate on profit driven principles and thus will always seek cheap labor and avoid environmental taxes or safety regulations unless they can’t avoid them by relocating. The only business that is interested in remaining in America is retail in order to access individuals who are conditioned to consume.
    The service sector economy has not created enough positions to absorb workers displaced from the manufacturing sector and thus no level of trickle-down will create enough jobs to displace the ones lost.

    3) The existence of needs -creates a demand for ways to meet these needs – and thus creates new jobs.
    R: If there is a limit to what people need, then their needs can be met without employing the whole labor ready population. Efficiency, technology and resource availability all constrain the amount of demand that can be met. Automation allows needs to be met without employing individuals.

    4) Displaced workers will always be able to retrain/re-skill for the new knowledge economy.
    R: If a cardboard box assembler worked 20 years in a manufacturing plant that downsized then he will not find it incredibly difficult retraining for a career that pays well enough to lead him into retirement (age 67). If he seeks a professional position, he may have to train for 6 years in addition to regaining some mental agility. Not only does this displaced worker have to adapt (at an age when adaptation is more difficult) but also has to compete against youth and skilled migrant workers. Workers retraining at 40+ will find it difficult to enter trade professions if they are not in shape and may have short-lived careers as work injuries place them on disability.

    5) “If people endeavor to improve their lives and not make decisions that hamper their progress then you will make it. The poverty rate for people who get married after 28 is almost non-existent.”
    R: You make repeated statements in your blog about choosing to save, limit expenses and endeavoring to train for well-paying careers. All this is well and good. But imagine what the economy would be like if all people opted not to buy a café-latte each day on weekdays: the local coffee shop would disappear because people would identify their need to save as a higher priority than spending. This attitude would effect all burgeoning entrepreneurs as they would have markets wanting their products but who would not be willing to spend money to buy their innovations.
    Didn’t Keynes suggest that in a cycle of spiral type saving governments would need to step in and spend in order to relieve market contraction? The free-market brought in the first Great Depression – what makes us any more prepared to fend off a Second depression?
    Again, with the number of private colleges emerging to allow workers to retrain for positions; the existence of cashier positions persisting in spite of technology designed to replace them – makes a person wonder if demand-side economics will ever be able to be met without enough people earning enough to feel comfortable spending money on discretionary items???

    Cheers! Jean

  10. I am inspired. thanks

  11. Cudos to both Dan and Jean. Jean has it down pretty good. And the rich are getting richer. The poor are getting poorer. The middle class are slipping. Both my wife and I have good jobs, family earnings 100K+. And even though we get something of raise, what we can buy each year is less and less. Fuel/heating/electricity costs are increase faster than wages. General cost of other items keeps rising. So now when I need to replace the car, I have to consider not getting new, but used (and possibly get a lemon, which is not the bad choice like Dan is talking about).

    Now Dan has a good point as well. However, we have to realize that bad choices can be unintentional. The family that decides they have to replace the family vehicle (because they are doing well enough) then the major bread-winner is down-sized!

    Going back to an earlier posting, Dan points out about money doing work and earning interest. I’m not an economist, but if I lend you $100 and you give me back $110, my money “worked” and earned me $10. But to what value is the $10 linked to? I think credit/interest can be a useful tool, but will eventually put us back into a depression and we all have to start again.

    Just my 2cents worth folks. Tear it apart as you see fit.

    Cheers,

  12. Loved your article on the rich getting richer and the poor getting to lazy. I agree with you that it is all about choice. My wife has two kids that are the classic dead beats. The daughter got pregnent before quitting school at the age of sixteen. She is now 32 and seperated from the dead beat that she married who is also a dropout. Mamma gave them a home to live in so that they could save some money and try to better themselves. That was four years ago and they have yet to save the first penny. They have provided little or no upkeep on the property and have managed to take a very nice home and turn it into a Ghetto house. Now the daughter has been on drugs and the sorry husband has left and the property is virtually worthless. Now the daughter is living off mamma because its eaiser than getting a real job and supporting herself or making that sorry husband provide some support. Yes, they made the choices that put them in this level of poverty and only they can make the choices to change their lives. It doesn’t help that mamma is enabling this behavoir instead of kicking their ass and makeing them support themselves. As for the son, he’s another fine upstanding high school drop out that can’t keep a job for more than six months. He’s living in mom’s other house and he too has accumulated nothing but a knack for sticking his hand out for anything he needs. Both of these kids are living rent free in an area where average rental costs are close to $1000 per month. I wonder if they will begin to make the right choices when mamma’s money runs out. I hope so because they will get nothing from me but a suggestion that they take care of their sorry ass. I don’t have the means to support them nor would I if I did, after all I made the right choices during my life and achieved what I have without sticking my hand out to take from those who earned it just becuase I’m to damn lazy to do the same.

  13. I don’t mind people being nasty towards my opinions (it’s a free country) but if you do, please be man or woman enough to leave a valid email address so you can be responded to. I will delete your comments if your email address isn’t real.

    Cheers!
    Dan

  14. Hi “Mike”,

    I replied to your last comment and got a bounceback using the email address you are using. So, I have deleted our conversation. I do not allow postings of people who can’t be bothered to reveal who they really are.

    Please do not post again on my blog. Go and hate your country somewhere, please. I will delete all comments from this point forward. You have proven to be untrustworthy.

    Cheers!
    Dan

  15. Nice article. Cuts down to the bare bones. I’m 41 & have always believed that most people are where they are because of poor choices. I do believe that most people can “pick themselves up by their bootstraps”.

    My husband and I are are prime examples. I’m the eldest of 3 chldren. My father was/is a compulsive gambler. By the time I was 18, we had moved over a dozen times. We were poor and disconnected (and everything else that comes with living with a compulsive personality). My dh, is one of 5 sons. His parents were/are druggies & alcoholics. All 5 sons dropped out of school in the 10th grade.

    I met him when I was 15 & he was 17. We were both working at a fast food restaurant to help support our families. After a year or so of being together, we realized we would never succeed in life with the dead weight of our families. So, I encouraged him to get his GED & he started attending a local community college. We got married several years later and he joined the Air Force.

    We chose to not have children until we were in our 30’s.

    We chose a career where dh could progress and make more money. Along the way, he changed course several times in the AF. He started as a jet engine mechanic; then upon re-enlisting found a large bonus for tranferring into avianics. Then, about 10 years into his AF career, we talked it over and felt that computers/networking was the way to go. So he made his final career change.

    I chose to go to college when I was 26 years old. At 30, ended up with a BS at a respectable college. I chose to work while at college and not get student loans (which actually may be necessary nowadays).

    Before retiring from the military, we talked it over and decided that he definately needed to complete his degree (to better our future prospects). So, in addition to working full time and during military exercises, and in addition to helping around the house with 2 new babies, my husband studied into the wee hours of the morning and got his BS degree.

    For the last 10 years, we’ve chosen to live below our means. We have basic (and I mean basic) cable. Didn’t even get a camcorder until the birth of our children. Drive older, paid in full vehicles. Brown bagged most of our lunches.

    And the reward for our sacrifice and hard work? I’m able to stay home an raise our children. I’m able to volunteer accounting services at a local charity. My husband retired from the USAF and has a job for a government contractor. With his salary and retirement, we bring in about $85k a year. We have no debt, other than the mortgage on our new home. We’re able to further reduce our costs because I coupon and prepare meals and lunches, rather than eating out alot. Our children have college funds set up (since they were a year old) & we contribute a set amount every month towards that. Our retirement accounts are fully funded; and we have life insurance and short/long term disability policies set up.

    Do we obsess about money all the time? No. But, we do consider the consequences of our purchases and our actions (or inactions).

    We’ve come along way from our childhood experiences. We’ve had little to no role models to offer advice or guidance. Mostly it was trial and error. And we have made errors. But fortunately, we didn’t make them in the areas that would have affected us the most (career choice and child bearing decisions).

    There is a way to make it in this country, even if you start out poor. You just need to have the drive to want to succeed; to want more than your parents offered.

    As for the rest of our siblings? My siblings take after my father. My husbands brothers? All take after his parents. We are the only ones who made it. Of course, they were sitting around drinking and getting high while my husband (17 years old) & I (15 years old) were working at a chicken joint, saving some of our money and dreaming of what could be and how to get there.

    I love the American dream and think we are the luckiest people in the world. I can’t wait to show my children all of the opportunities that they have available to them. Opportunities that I didn’t have as a child or young adult. I hope to instill in them the importance of hard work and relatively good choices.

  16. Have you ever been poor? Have you ever been told no to? What about the school that you went to; when your grades was good in that school. But you find out that you wasn’t as smart as you throught you was when you went college. Now you struggling to the history. While in college in need money to survive, so I have to get a job, right. Where is my study time. There are many more situation that i think you are not aware of.

  17. Yes, I have been poor. I’ve lived in a tent as a kid, we were so poor.

    I’ve been told no many times.

    I had crappy grades in school. I didn’t go to college. (I got a 2 year degree later in life, while in the AF.)

    Many, many people have to work to put themselves through school. The key to making it, as I’ve said in my post, is to make good decisions while you are squeaking by. Don’t worsen your condition by poor choices.

    Dan

  18. pathetic article…..in what world are you living in???
    do you think people around the world are poor just because they’re lazy….that is completely sick and immature…..try doing articles that are based in reality rather than on desires of popularity.

  19. Hi John,

    I was talking about Americans. I wasn’t talking about other countries. And the point of my article was bad choices, not necessarily being lazy. Although, laziness is an affliction of the poor, for the most part. (Not all economically poor people are lazy… I didn’t say that. But if a poor person is lazy and complacent with their situation in life and they don’t strive to better themselves coupled with making bad decisions (like having kids at a young age, especially out of wedlock) then those people, by and large, will stay poor. If they make good decisions, and strive to better themselves, they will most likely not stay poor for very long.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Dan

  20. Dan,

    Interesting blog. A little one-sided but I supose that’s expected. While I agree that we are given choices in life, and largely our choices determine our economic standing, I don’t agree, at least entirely, that the “poor are getting poorer” because of laziness.

    We live in a country that has, in the name of progression, given more power than is healthy to large corporations. Some good. Some bad. Regardless, this overwhelmingly large amount of power allows companies like Wal-Mart, for example, to build in and destroy local economy, neglect workers and put the real profits in the pockets of the few executives that run these giant big box, corporate conglomorates. People like you sit by and LOVE it because the executives made the right choices in life, and deserve the hard earned wealth. Right? And the uneducated, hourly employees who are living without healthcare and on foodstamps made the WRONG choices in life so they deserve what they get. They didn’t go to college. They have children. They’re lazy. Right?

    Maybe…to a point but I think the real reason the “rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer” is not because of productivity and a need to “better yourself” it is because of a carefully planned distribution of wealth. You can’t ignore the facts – when 10% of the United States population controls 80% of the wealth, there should be real concern for where this country is going….

  21. Hi Robert,

    First.. thanks for being somewhat civil in your communication. I love to have discussions with people that can actually have one without calling names and such. I’m not sure the reason, but I seem to get those more than your kind from the other side of the political spectrum.

    Anyway, allow me to respond to some of your comment.

    My laziness comment is perhaps a bit strong. What I mean to say is that our economically less fortunate people (otherwise called “poor” people) by and large, are less motivated to make something of themselves than, say, 100 years ago. Even poor people in this country can actually live a life that even middle class in other countries would envy. So, because their lives are a living hell… what I mean by that is, they get assistance from the government, they don’t live in mud huts, they are able to eat regularly…etc, etc (unlike the poor in 80% of the rest of the world) they tend to get unmotivated to improve their lives or think that it’s a useless cause to try to improve themselves…etc.

    I must say, though, if someone is complaining about their lot in life and they have chosen to have children, then it’s their own fault, period. There’s no room for negotiation on that. You should be financially stable before you have children. That’s just common sense. Again, this boils down to making wrong choices in life.

    I’m sure you’ll never be convinced that Walmart is not evil. But they do more for a community livelihood than any number of mom and pop shops can do. I don’t have time to go over the whys on this, but there are plenty of knowledgeable articles on the subject out there. If a mom and pop shop is displaced by the entrance of Walmart then they must adapt or move on to other entrepreneurial endeavors. It’s just how a free economy and capitalism worked. When the car was invented, the makers of horse buggies probably were at their wit’s end. But they adapted and made other things or moved on to another industry. It’s just the natural evolution of the business environment in a free society. Walmart brings down the price of goods in a community and thereby raises the standard of living of the community by giving people more spending money in their budget. Which in turn can be used for other things. It’s a fluid system, Robert. You can’t look at it in static bubble and say that just because Walmart is big, they are evil. That’s kind of silly. Our economy is very strong right now and our unemployment is very low. We have one of the strongest economies in the world and one of the best standard’s of living for all classes of people. How can that be the case when the “distribution of wealth” is like you say it is. The alternative is socialism and look at the main countries where socialism is the standard and tell me they have it better than we do.

    Ownership of money means nothing. It wouldn’t matter if one person “owned” all the money in the US. It’s the productivity that counts. If someone is productive, that one entity that owns all the money simply must give some to that person who is productive in exchange for their productivity. They can’t horde it. It’s impossible.

    Anyway, I appreciate your comments. Please do some research on the right side of the political spectrum to perhaps give you another viewpoint on “distribution of wealth.” I think you’ll be surprised at the clear logic and how obvious it is that the Democratic party is very wrong on this issue.

    Take care and God bless…

    Dan

  22. good article i agree 100% The rich keep getting richer because they keep doing the things that make them rich. Ditto for the poor. Everyone is where they are in life as a direct result of the decisions they have made to put them there. If they’ve worked hard, they can be rich. If not, then they won’t be rich.

  23. Donnell O'Brien

    I find it interesting that anyone in this day and age can attempt to simplify the debate between Rich and Poor down to an issue of choice. What everyone hopes for is an equal shot at succeeding in life; what everyone is dealt in life is as diverse as a snowflake. However, it cannot be denied that there are structural violences that are imposed upon people everywhere rending their best shot no better than a replay of the struggle of Sysiphus. If what you say is true, then it should be true everywhere. Obviously, any reasonable person would say this is not, for why are there commercials on TV soliciting for donations to sponsor children in Third World Countries? Even in America, where, true, one has a better shot at success than most other countries, there are people struggling due to situations outside their control, and some economically and socially malicious. For a thumbnail example of this, look at the abuses of Enron, the Pharmaceutical companies, the S&L crisis of the 80s, Michael Milken, Charles Keating. Their deceits and crimes have significant and long-range consequences on millions of people’s lives. Was it “choice” that people trusted Ken Lay to increase their stock options? These examples are not unique, nor are they rare.
    Earlier in these posts, I read about a teacher of early school age children. It may be easier to take at face value your argument about supply and demand, but the reality is, there is no real mechanism in place to discern, promote and subsequently value (rather, remunerate appropriately) those who are exceptional in teaching the next generation. Teachers are just not that valued, whether there is a glut or not.
    I think the only way that I can agree with your argument, is if you extend this concept of “choice” to include a public consensus of the best human values, social involvement and responsibility.
    When we get to that point, and there are still people who you might describe as lazy, then maybe you might have something there.

  24. Thanks everyone, I came looking for encouragment for myself as my family is lazy and poor and I no longer want to be around it. The best decision I will make now is to go to school. Here is a stupid perspective that has been bothering me.

    My hubby and I have some money saved towards a down payment for an apartment. We are pretty far off money wise but we are trying. We will get no help from both of our families as they are poor. I want to go to school which is going to cost 6,500 and that is bothering me because I so desperately don’t want to touch to downpayment fund!!! That is a crazy way of thinking isn’t it? but I am going to go to school because its the only way I can get away from being a cashier. I just have to have faith and confidence in myself that I will succed.

    May I add something —- Being poor can also result from having a very low self esteem. That has been my problem, but I am fighting it because you can’t give up in life.

  25. Everyone (well, anyone without a proper college education, anyway) seems to believe that we can change our status in life simply by making better choices. The saying “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” is referring to the way Americans are trapped in our hierarchial society.

    Having said this, there is a problem starting with your first step of “logic”: “Alice MADE A DECISION to drop out of High School to attend a trade school. Now she’s limited her options in life. Okay… not an altogether disatrous choice by itself. Let’s move on…” Did she really make a decision? Where did this Alice live? In the slums or Beverly Hills? What was her high school like? Did it have a 30% drop-out rate or was it a college-prep school in Massachusets? Was her father a prestigious businessman, or maybe she never even got to meet him because he is serving a life sentence in jail? After answering these questions, did she really make that very first decision you claim she did? Or was it unavoidable circumstances stemming from being generationally poor that caused it?

    Next time, before you go off on a little rant trying to argue an age-old philosophy thinking you know better than 90% of the rest of the world, do yourself a favor and think things through. Or else, you may end up sounding like a shallow idiot.

  26. i agree with every thing u said…its the poors fault….im not the most well off person but i know that if my family wanted more money we would go and make more money. so every once in a while there is a person disabled that cant work but there are places were they can go. And like the people above complaining about kid injurys…he went over that and, the solution is if u cant aford the expenses of a kid…DONT HAVE ONE wat u wrote is very inspireing and very very true…the one thing i think would fix this proublem is the government to take the minimum wage away and then stop giveing free money to the people that are to lazy to make thier own money….

  27. why is that most poor are black people and what can a person born in a pooe family be rich

  28. There are four college graduates where I work, all earning minimum wage. None have criminal records, drug problems, tattoos or piercings, or children out of wedlock (none are married, and only one of our 20+ employees is married).

    What bad choices did they make?

  29. thats right after raising four children alone for 12 years without support

    and without a dual income

    I am lazy

    sure

    I have lost two of my children to people with money

    and the other two I cant help

    my daughter has mouth pain because she needs 3000 dollars worth of work

    but i am lazy

    we need a 2000 dollar furnace but i am lazy

    and i have no van insurance on my van because I am lazy

    well WOE UNTO YOU THAT ARE RICH FOR YOU HAVE RECIEVED YOUR CONSOLATION

    Integrity@cyg.net

    any rich people want to help us?

  30. I didn’t say all people without money are lazy. You’re assigning meaning where it does not belong.

    People find themselves in unfortunate situations all the time. When it happens, it’s tragic and sad. What I’m saying is, people in America have the best opportunity out of anyone else in the world to get themselves ahead. If they simply make good choices in life.

    It’s hard to tell someone that’s made poor choices (voluntarily) that their situation in life is due to those poor choices, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

    I don’t know your situation, Robert. But I would venture to guess that many of your current woes stem from making poor choices when you were younger. Again, that doesn’t make it any less tragic… but why should people who made good choices when they were young be made to pay for the mistakes of those that made bad choices in life, in the form of public assistance and welfare?

    You should read my other posts about choices.

    Regards,
    Dan

  31. I think that the most difficult decisions are ones where there is no clear cut black or white answer.

    Double edged sword:
    In the case of society supporting education, welfare, housing or educational assistance programs it is clear that if you are in a high-tax bracket it can be disconcerting to think that you are supporting others in society who you feel did not make smart decisions. However, if the social cost to not having these programs in place is increased unemployment and crime then there is a social benefit also that we all have some obligation to recognise. You may define this as a sense of entitlement but humanity also has some desire to influence its environment so we all don’t live like our animal ancestors. People throughout history have resorted to cannibalism, violence and social disintegration when there were not enough resources to go around. Durkheim (a sociologist) linked both crime and suicide rates to social decline and a society where people have trouble gaining access to opportunities. Note China high suicide rates and 3/10 post-secondary graduates unemployed there. Peace is maintained only because of the police state. This means that societies do have carrying capacities.

    Right now, the popular trend is to say that to remain competitive Americans need to become better educated. But is is really that simple? Would a nation of 100% college educated citizens really mean the productivity of the nation would rise or that there would be greater opportunities for better paying jobs? And if not, how much can the competition for higher paying jobs grow? Will college tuition hikes, limited enrollments and credential inflation make people turn away from their dreams of competiting for the American dream?

    I do agree that there is a potential problem for society if there are people willing to have many children without having the money to pay for their upkeep. But, the cost of post-secondary education and healthcare consumes much more than what many lower and middle income families can afford these days and their costs are inflating even more (see higher educ.stats). Because of this, one can argue that the poor will never be able to afford having children and this is not acceptable. People should be able to have families with at most 2 children without being overly penalized. Larger family sizes I do have a problem with and the best policy solution I can think of would be to create financial disincentives for more than 2 child families eg. they have to pay portion of public education bill etc. and be denied child care deductions or child tax credits (excepting multiple birth cases).

    There is a balance that needs to be maintained and unfortunately we are entering a historical period where the current generation of college graduates face more debt and a tougher job market than their parents. The babyboomers who did not save enough for their retirement need to support themselves somehow. New college graduates need to pay off their extensive debts due to inflation. At the same time wages have not kept up with inflation. Such costs prevent people correcting mistakes because it is too expensive to return to school to retrain – sometimes I wonder where all the laid-off people go to work who were affected by outsourcing or downsizing. Older workers have an especially hard time and could not have anticipated the workplace changes occuring today when they first entered their professions. I am sympathetic to the difficulties faced by individuals affected by these displacements.

    There is also the problem of credential inflation and so many people requiring advanced degrees for what required less than a high school education a few years ago. The risks are all being passed onto the pre-credentialed individual in order to maintain the professional aspirations of lawyers, teachers, psychologists, social workers etc who require consumers of their services. For instance, (i)lawyers provide services to criminals who engaged in propery crime because *potentially* they could not find legitimate way to keep up with the “Joneses” in their neighbourhood or (ii) 20%-30% of all college graduates go back into teaching profession to teach others merely to maintain an institutional system that may not be a necessity for a well functioning society and (iii) psychologists provide mental health services for the depressed but depression may merely be a form of “learned helplessness” as the brain encounters life situations that it has no control over and thus is more of a social condition than an illness (again, one of Durkheims suggestions). On top of this, Professional associations, governments and institutions have a vested interest in limiting access to credentials and denying true competition so that wages in these professions do not drop but this cannot be sustained over the long term as it is not possible for the profession of janitor to ever require a PhD.

    I don’t have the answers but I do not believe that the trickle down theory will rescue the American economy.

  32. Does anyone know where to find National statistics for graduate destinations eg. whether graduates in undergraduate or graduate studies found employment related to their training after graduation ? I want a better understanding of the National underemployment situation eg. college degree’d workers having a job at McDonalds 2 years after obtaining degree.

    Also, are there any higher education statistics reporting the number of individuals who seek secondary training because of downsizing, outsourcing etc.? I am especially interested in older adults returning to school and their age ranges. It would be interesting to see how individuals who retrain later (and get saddled with debt) fair in their retirement years.

    It might be eye-opening to see whether the statistics show whether a 40 year old worker who used to work in manufacturing should get a job at McDonalds or return to school to try and train for a more lucrative career. What would be the smart decision?

    Merely curious, Jean

  33. Dan,
    You are absolutely incorrect in your assessment of the rich getting richer and the poor getting too lazy. Allow me to explain why your arguement is not convincing.
    First, the problem is not that the rich are getting richer than the poor, the problem is that the rich are getting richer than the majority of the population, the middle class. Second, your little anecdote regarding Alice is an extreme example of poor choices that people can make, and it does not reflect the majority of people struggling to merely scrape by. Many struggling people today are in that position because they simply cannot afford the exorbitant and rising costs of necessities such as healthcare, housing, and heat for their homes. Without money for these basic necessities, there is surely no money available for great expenses such as higher education.
    Also, in today’s corporate world, even people with advanced degrees are not guaranteed to keep their jobs, and are constantly in danger of unemployment. Corporations are so concerned with profit for shareholders, that they will gladly outsource jobs to foreign countries.
    Today people are making increasingly more money with investments. I will certainly agree with you that direct money productivity certainly creates more money. However, what do you do when you don’t have enough money to invest because you are worried about putting food on the table and cannont risk the gamble of investment? The more money you have, the more money you can risk. Your arguemnt fails because you equate a lack of productivity with laziness. But let me ask you this, who is lazy?: 1) A forty year old man with a wife and baby child who makes $40,000 per year and works 55 hours per week. 2) A 25 year old from a wealthy family who does not work but invests $2 million of inheritance. The answer is clear.
    Now, due to decreases in taxes, rich people who invest their money in the stock market can keep more of the returns on their investments. According to MSN Money(http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/invest/extra/P143548.asp) “The richest 1% of households — those with incomes above $237,000 for 2003, the latest year analyzed — owned 57.5% of all income from capital gains, dividends, interest and rents in 2003, the CBO analysis found. That was up from 53.4% the year before and 38.7% in 1991.” Also, “Long-term capital gains were taxed at 28% until 1997, and at 20% until 2003, when rates were cut to 15%. The top rate on stock dividends was cut to 15% from 35% that year.” Clearly, rich people are making more money by not working. But you can’t invest money if you don’t have money in the first place. If I were lucky enough to be born into a rich family, I could be “sitting in my comfy easy chair, inside my air conditioned house, eating chips and drinking diet pepsi, watching cable tv, smoking cigarettes that cost me $5 a pack.”

  34. Hi Karl,

    Thanks for commenting. My example, was just that. An example. But you could give me the lifestory of any able bodied American (without health issues that have handicapped their ability to succeed) and if they are in a bad place financially, I can pinpoint exactly why they are like that based on bad decision making.

    Very, very few wealthy people in the US are that way because someone gave it to them. Your example is a very skewed example and one that is not typical.

    Also, the fact that a larger amount of wealth is in more hands today has absolutely nothing to do with general prosperity. This is a typical liberal mantra that is just plain wrong. Even if one person in the US owned 50% of all assets, that money would still be in circulation and being used within the economy. Prosperity of the measure of financial activity, not inactivity. In other words, if a billionaire where to bury one billion dollars in their backyard and not have it in circulation, would they still be wealthy? He might as well be the poorest person on earth since all the money is not being used. It’s only when that money is in a bank (being loaned out to businesses for capital, home loans for home ownership, car loans…etc…etc) that is becomes a measure of that person’s wealth. And when it is in the bank, it’s being earned by the average working person. It’s our productivity that measures our potential for wealth. And it’s our decisions on where to spend it that measures our debt. Poor people make bad decisions when it comes to that side of the equation. It’s a chicken and egg thing. If they hadn’t made poor decisions in the beginning to get to the poor or lower income status, they wouldn’t have to choose between healthcare and food. But once you’re in the cycle, yeah, it’s hard to get out of it.

    We need to start teaching teenagers about decisions and hitting it hard. They shouldn’t be marrying until they are over 28. Even the poorest of poor people can earn money and put themselves through college if they don’t have credit card bills and the distractions of family/kids…etc.

    I could go on. But all other things being equal, it’s our own decision in the US to be poor. IT’s just that most people don’t know it, so therefore don’t know that they shouldn’t do those things that will perpetuation poverty. It’s a vicious circle.

    Best,
    Dan

  35. Hello Dan,
    This debate is quite fun. I will certainly agree with you that people who choose to have children, have addictions etc, are without a doubt creating their own problems. I also agree that government should not be burdened by supporting these people financially. However, right and wrong financial decisions are not always clear at the time they are being made. It may have seemed like a good idea to invest in Enron, Worldcom etc. It also may have seemed like a good idea for an American to get a computer science degree, only to realize that ten years down the road, IT jobs would be outsourced to Asia. These are only two examples. Remember, hindsight is 20/20.
    Also, large amounts of money concentrated in the relatively small amount of wealthy people poses great problems. Today’s economy is a global one. Yes, it is true that wealthy individuals invest large sums of money into the economy. But whose economy? Investing in inexpensive Chinse and Indian labor through outsourced jobs contributes to Asian economies and puts money into the pockets of wealthy American investors. You may argue that growing economies around the world would contribute to the American economy by buying American products. This is not the case. Investments in foreign countries help to make countries like China self sufficient. We are giving them the means to make their own products and build their own strong economy. American investors are looking at the short term financial gain for a small group of wealthy people, and not the long term consequences of outsourcing jobs. The idea that investments made by the wealthy will trickle down to middle class Americans is absurd, especially in a global econmony.
    Finally, do wealthy people contibute to the American economy by buying products? Absolutely. But a rich person buying a two million dollar yacht contributes much less to the American economy than ten thousand middle class americans spending a total of two million dollars on houshold items, and food. Think about the jobs that are created by building a yacht, and the jobs that are created to feed ten thousand people. Trickle down economics does not work. I prefer to think of it as economist John Kenneth Galbraith described it: Horse and sparrow econimics-If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through him to feed the sparrows.

  36. There are now three college graduates where I work, earning minimum wage. To repeat my question, what bad decisions did we make?

  37. Well, if they haven’t made any bad decisions, that’s great. But who says that just because a college graduate is making minimum wage that they are automatically “not succeeding”. Just continue to make good decisions and they won’t be making minimum wage all their lives, I can assure you.

    Don’t expect things just because you’re a college graduate. All that means is you had the tenacity to go to school for four more years to get another diploma. It doesn’t entitle you to anything more than anyone else, all other things being equal.

    Just keep making good decisions and before you know it, you’ll be better off than everyone you know that didn’t make good decisions.

    Dan

  38. HELLO,

    AT YOUR CONVENIENCE PLEASE! TAKE A MOMENT TO READ AND IF YOU CAN MAKE ANY BUSINESS CONNECTIONS OR IF YOU ARE WILLING TO BE A SPONSOR OR KNOW OF A COMPANY THAT WOULD BE INTERESTED PLEASE!. IF I COULD ONLY GET SOMEONE IN THE BUSINESS WORLD TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX AND SEE ALL THIS GUY NEED IS SOMEONE THAT KNOWS HOW TO WRITE UP A BUSINESS PLAN, MAKE THE FINANCIAL CONNECTIONS AND THIS IDEA IS A SUCCESS WAITING TO TO HAPPEN. BIGMOUTH BACK PACKS NAME IS WHAT UNIQUELY TAILORS TO THE BACK PACKS’ COSMETIC APPEAL. PLEASE! DON NOT JUST READ THIS AS ANOTHER SIMPLE EMAIL. ALL MY CONCEPT NEED IS A FINANCIAL PARTNER AND A BUSINESS CONSULTING TEAM AND IT IS BECOMES A FINANCIAL ASSET FOR ALL PARTIES INVOLVED! CONTACT ME (757)748-6831/(757)424-2936

    Subject: TURNING AN IDEA INTO ASSETS

    The new product idea “BIGMOUTH back packs” for children in which I, Marvie L Johnson, have conceived could have the potential of becoming a significant financial asset. BIGMOUTH back pack designs warrant a professional analysis assessment to share the vision of competitive market potential well beyond its immediate intended market. The back pack idea is just the origin with high market potential to branch into other areas of the children’s market; apparel, coloring/activity books, toys, bathroom toys and dental products, entertainment DVDs, comforter and linen sets and more. Please! Take a moment to consider the successful marketing paths of companies such as Barbie, Disney, Dora, Sponge Bob, Bratz, Rugrats which have done so well in the children’s market. Your select team of dedicated professionals could present and relay this idea to the right company. The back pack concepts has the ability to encourage repeat buys and backend/continuity sales, appeal to the masses in multiple demographics, impulse driven, extremely visual while serving the standard back pack fashion turning this registered trademark name into a well known name brand in just a few years. The vision is to launch “BIGMOUTH back packs” into BIGMOUTH buddy products”.

    *FINANCIAL PARTNER/INVESTOR NEEDED TO BRIDGE THE GAP FOR MY NEW PRODUCT IDEA TO END MARKETS THROUGH DIRECT LICENSING:

    NEW PRODUCT EVALUATION

    LEGAL & BUSINESS CONSULTING

    NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT)

    PROTOTYPE(S)

    PATENT MANAGEMENT

    LICENSING AGREEMENTS WITH MANUFACTURING /PRODUCT COMPANIES

    MARVIE L JOHNSON (INNOVATOR-OWNER)

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