I was raised in a middle class family. I knew we weren’t rich, but I didn’t think we were poor either. We always had a roof over our heads, heat, and food on the table. I had several pairs of shoes and got new blue jeans (I hated those) each year when school started. Most of my friends were in the same situation.
But, that’s where the similarity stops. I grew up in a school district with rich kids. I’ve often said it was like growing up in a vacant lot next to the bank. These kids were really wealthy. These were trust fund babies, mailbox money kids. I knew our family was different when I was working in a grocery store after school and one of the girls in my class came in with her mother. As I was sacking their groceries I heard the mother announce that she had forgotten to bring the coke bottles for the deposit. Her daughter didn’t know what a bottle deposit was.
Right then I knew there were people living in this world unlike myself. I cherished those bottles. You got two cents for cokes and a nickel for Canada Dry bottles. I cleaned out garages for free, if they would give me the bottles for payment.
Our high school was so exclusive; they had fraternities and sororities just as they do in colleges. I was not a member as the costs were more than my family could afford. I didn’t really miss anything, I liked my friends and the things we did. Besides who actually owned a tuxedo?
Last week, I wrote a column which compared Barack Obama to a socialist. I think I made my case and heard from a number of readers who were in agreement. This column also went out to a number of my former high school friends, most of whom I have not seen in many years.
The reactions were very strange. Those high school friends who grew up like me and who worked hard all of these years for their money were in total agreement with me. The trust funds kids, for the most part, were exactly the opposite. Several became very angry at me and sent back some pretty harsh language. I was very surprised since I would have thought these folks would be the first to oppose socialism and the redistribution of wealth.
This got me to thinking. I looked back and thought about the rich kids in my class. Very few of them did anything that equaled or surpassed the achievements of their fathers and grandfathers. You would think that with all of their advantages to capital, resources and family experience that they would have gone on to bigger and better things, but in our class that was not the norm. Out of a graduating class of over six hundred, there are but a handful of standouts that have made a name for themselves. It makes you wonder why that happened.
I haven’t done any research on this subject, but I intend to do so when I get the time. I wonder their underachievement and socialist viewpoint has anything to with a sense of collective guilt? Do those who inherited their wealth harbor a sense of loss because they did not have to work at acquiring their wealth? Are they ashamed of their given advantages?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting them down for being able to live well, more power to them, I ‘m not envious, well, perhaps a bit. But, I just wonder if giving them wealth and privilege destroys the incentive to succeed and or achieve more than your parents?
I haven’t any proof of this, but I think it does. I would like to be proved wrong on this, but I don’t think I will be.
I feel certain the wealthy individuals who espouse socialistic concepts have their personal fortunes secured by untouchable trusts and other legal entities created by large law firms. As a result these individuals aren’t likely to see any wealth distribution of those assets, no matter who got elected. This may explain why this class of people has an “I’ve got mine, look to the government for yours” attitude. They can afford to be magnanimous since they are basically insulated from any encroachment upon their personal wealth and well being. If you are wealthy it’s easy to be a liberal and espouse your feelings of wanting to help the world. The problem is do your actions match up with your words? In looking at Obama’s donations to charity, for example, one sees a noticeable shortfall. He did set up several trusts and retirement accounts for himself and his family after he started making the big bucks. His money isn’t going away. Neither are the accumulated riches of the far left entertainment darlings such as Streisand, Redford and Jolie.
No, you can be assured that the trust fund babies as well as the ‘play at real life actors and actresses’ will stop at nothing to solve the ills of the world (a noble gesture, if there ever was one) while living in the lap of luxury. When was the last time you saw Entertainment Tonight interviewing Brad Pitt or George Clooney in a Holiday Inn Express?
I’m probably being too hard on the entertainment folks who may have come to their wealth by working their way up the ladder. I applaud their efforts and success, but why frown on the rest of us looking for our place in the sun? As for those who inherited great wealth and position, all I can say is perhaps working with Joe the Plumber for a few weeks might help you to understand what I’m talking about.
Oh, if you do, don’t chew your nails or shake hands. If this makes no sense to you, then you probably fall into the group I’ve been discussing.
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