Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Has Our Veneration of Wealth Gone Too Far

I do like this article from Salon, because I wonder if our veneration of wealth will soon be over or if it will get worse. And, I watch Billions. Fantastic acting, but it is a show of anti-heros that just becomes more anti-people as your views change.

America has always identified with individualism. But, in times past, it was the cowboy, the Lone Ranger, the crusading DA or lawyer protecting the venerable. At some point, maybe with the end of "West" as a national identity, this individual for truth and justice morphed into the crusading businessman. Any Rand wrote the Fountainhead with hero that bucks trends, like American heroes of old, but insists on absolutism. When the hero's work is compromised, he destroys it in an act of terrorism/vandalism.

I am not saying Any Rand did this, it was a general movement of America. Ronald Reagan declared government the problem. His definition of "government" was so expansive as to include the Lone Ranger (federal officials), the crusading DA (part of the government itself) and the protective lawyer because they were shown fighting the "little guy". The "little guy" in this case being a corporate owner. And so the country settled in to pull up the drawbridge on opportunity and wealth. Look at the tax rates since the time of opportunity.

The "Golden Age" of Opportunity, the "Make America Great Again" periods had high taxes, and vast opportunity for advancement.

At any stage when people stick up for the average American, it is considered "socialism".  Tuition free college is socialism - which would be a shock to everyone that graduated UCLA, Berkeley, San Diego State and every other California Public University before 1981. Government spending is "Socialism" when the money is for people, but "necessary" when that same money for companies.

Someone that is laid off, say because of Coronavirus, and gets unemployment is, according to Republicans (in this case the Senate and specifically Graham and McConnell) free-loading and won't work because unemployment pays better. Meanwhile banks, finance houses, property developers, airlines, foreign cruise lines, luxury hotel operators get TRILLIONS in "loans", which they don't have to pay back. It is quite a trick to get these called "loans" when they are to business that have no strings attached and "socialism" when they are tied to unemployment due to freak circumstances.

And so many of the Republican voters buy in because they think "other people" are getting their stuff. But they never see it going to companies. True or not, it seems that old Republican white people hate it pretty much only when non-white people get things. Take my favorite example. Craig T. Nelson. I am not picking on him, but he is what I mean (this occurred around 2006).

A couple of years ago, actor Craig T. Nelson appeared on Glenn Beck’s Fox News program to rail against taxes, government, and the lack of fiscal responsibility in society. As the actor argued at the time, he was thinking about no longer paying taxes because he disapproved of public funds rescuing those struggling.

“They’re not going to bail me out,” Nelson said. “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No. No.”

It was an epic rant, in large part because the actor didn’t seem to recognize the flaw in his observation. Taxpayers helped him out by paying for his food stamps and welfare, but in Nelson’s mind, no one helped him out. As far as he’s concerned, food stamps and welfare just don’t count.

See, that is a rich old white man that doesn't want to pay taxes to help people even though those same programs helped him

I don't want to rant, but it is disheartening to see.

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