Opinions and Rants #27: God Bless the Rich

I was reading this 1967 editorial by William F. Buckley, and it struck me.... you know, we just don't take time to thank the rich enough. As Tiny Tim said, "God bless them, every one." Indeed, the billionaires need our prayers and blessings too.  So, next time you have a moment, take the time to thank a rich a person.

For instance, the President of Nike makes $13,846 per weekday, while his laborers in Vietnam make less than one dollar a day.  Let's us thank him for the blessings he has bestowed on the Vietamese people. Without him, they would have nothing.

Transocean (the company involved in the BP oil disaster) moved its headquarters from the U.S. to the Cayman Islands in 1999 then to Switzerland in 2008 to avoid paying taxes. They, therefore contribute absolutely nothing to their country's economy, but it's not their fault. Let us pray that our government will lower taxes even more for the rich, so that Transocean can return home again. We miss you Transocean.

The CEO of CVS made $30.4 million in 2009, and CVS cashiers make $8 an hour.  Indeed, the income inequality in this country is the highest in the past eighty years. Mr. CEO earns more in interest per year than his minions of employees will probably every make in a lifetime. But, as Buckley says, "God bless him", for without him there would be no CVS, and those minions would be poor beggars on the street, starving to death.

image from a 12/30/67 Saturday Evening Post

Judging by Obama's Wall Street cabinet, chock full of Goldman-Sachs executives, our prayers for the rich seem to be paying off. Now that they finally have representation in Washington, maybe our government will start helping out the obscenely wealthy for a change.

The top 1% of the population controlls more financial wealth than the bottom 95% combined. God bless the rich, for they give us something to strive for.  If that bottom 95 percent could just be more motivated and intelligent, they too could have it all.


  1. The moron with all the stuffed animals--he's the first billionaire (estate worth about eight billion, I believe) to have died, and not paid any inheritance tax.

    People who get upset about "soaking the rich" need to open up a book, and look at what the tax rates were during the Eisenhower administration.

    By the by, a few months ago, I saw a clip on The Daily Show, where Laura Ingraham actually said "When they came for the rich, I didn't say anything--because I was not rich. When they came for the death tax, I didn't say anything--because I wasn't effected by the death tax......" The Show flipped back to Jon Stewart, who was visibly trying to contain himself. He explained the difference between "coming for" when it means a proposed tax increase to the level during the Reagan administration, and when "coming for" meant "you're going to die." Mr. Stewart promised Ms. Ingraham that if & when anyone "came for" the rich--as in "we're going to kill you"--he'd be sure to speak up...........

  2. A few thoughts: One, comparing 1967 economics to today isn't fair. Buckley couldn't have foreseen the rapaciousness of the last 30 years (or Wal-Mart). As you've pointed out yourself, back then you could sell aquarium gravel at Walgreens (I think was your example) and make a living.

    The top 1% of taxpayers pay 40% of the taxes. I don't know if that affects your analysis any, but it does say something.


  3. You're right, Robert, that Buckley couldn't have predicted the level greed that rolled over this country in the ensuing years. But as far as the tax figure, how about this:

    Two-thirds of American corporations and foreign corporations doing business in the United States pay absolutely no federal income taxes—despite taking in $2.5 trillion in sales


    It's the wealthy who enjoy most of the income generated by capital investments—and that income is taxed at a lower rate than the income middle-class workers earn.

    Even Warren Buffett pointed out that it is unjust for him to pay taxes at a lower rate than his secretary does.

  4. Part 2

    Why is this? Because our grandparents' and parents' generations understood the value of paying their fair share, allowing the bastard Baby Boomers a quality, affordable education. Since 1980, the Boomers used Reaganesque lies to justify not paying their fair share. With sharply reduced revenue to state and local gov'ts, the biggest expense--education--suffers the most.

    Poor one percent---You start approaching the progressive taxation that the wealthy had to pay during the Eisenhower administration, then we'll talk.

    Until then, Amerika's WORST Generation (in terms of taking the most & giving back the least) don't even want to pay for PE classes for K through 12 schools, let alone college for their kids.

    So....in the immortal words of Gene Autry: STFU.

  5. Part I

    Mr. Lindsey makes an excellent point, about not taking into account that the top one percent pays forty percent of the taxes. Given this group owns roughly 95% of the nation's wealth, they're ass fucking me out of 55% of their share of the tax burden.

    In 1978, when I applied to the University of California system, any California resident with a 3.1 high school GPA would be admitted, and TOTAL cost of all fees was less than $700 per trimester. California high school students today need something impossible like a 4.4 GPA--just for admission.

    I worked and put myself through two years at a very good liberal arts college (Reed College) and three years of law school (Lewis & Clark). Those schools now charge over $30K a year--I'd never be able to do what I 20 years ago. My friends who are recent graduates now carry student loans roughly twice what I paid for my house in 1997.

  6. You, dear sir, are nought but a damned socialist....YAY!

  7. The poor can eat cake which reminds me of a video and song that fits well for your theme tonight.

  8. Actually, the top one percent own 38% of all the wealth, so if that's close to accurate, then they are paying their fair share. Over half of all Americans don't pay taxes. They get taken out of the check, but then they get them all back, and then some with EIC and whatnot.

  9. Actually, the obscenely rich don't make money on wages, they make it on capital gains, which are taxed at 15%, not the 38% income tax bracket. We can play numbers all day. Amazingly enough, after Reagan slashed taxes, the country's infrastructure, education system, and everything else that those taxes paid for began to fall apart.

    I love reading Retrospace because our economic malaise and environmental disasters remind me of the 70's, before the EPA and regulation leveled the playing field. We've weakened most of those, and we're sliding back into the hell the rich want for their serfs.

  10. Yes 30mil seems like a lot of money to be paid, no matter what the work is. It's unfortunate that everyone can't be stinking filthy rich, but everyone can't.

    Does an actor really "earn" 20mil for acting in a movie? Does a sports superstar really "earn" what they are paid? How about a rap star? A politician?

    Choking down the money the wealthy make will not help the poor become rich. Stealing from the rich to give to the poor is not what robin hood intended to become a government forced social philosophy. Taxing the rich out of existence will not prevent rich people, or eliminate poor ones.

    There are problems in every government, and in every group of peoples. Never has there been a better government than that of the U.S.A., although never has it been completely perfect. Today it is probably worse than it has ever been, but it won't stay this way forever.

    Blaming the rich for being rich is like a dog blaming a cat for being a cat. Unlike the dog who hates the cat because it's not a dog, you are unrestricted from changing yourself to become one of the rich. Of course that would take some effort on your own part.

  11. The level of wealth owned by the top 1% has pretty much remain unchanged for the past 75 years, i.e., between 30-35%.

    Go ahead and look it up.

    On the other hand, the increase in income for the bottom half of the population has been negligible for the past 20 years or so, but when a country allows millions of poor people cross the border willing to work for practically nothing, that’s exactly what happens.

    I’m not blaming the border crossers, my foreign-born wife didn’t have shoes until she was a teenager, but there’s the old supply and demand thing going on in the bottom half of the country’s labor force.

    Deal with it or stop complaining.

  12. Last I checked, the poor still aren't hiring.