Friday, February 27, 2009

Define "rich".

In the wake of Obama's "soak-the-rich" $3.5 trillion dollar budget, can we get a few things straight?
Contrary to the bleatings of the $250K-$500K set--who, if the reaction over at the Dan Simmons forum is typical, will spare no expense telling you how poor they are--if you make between three and six times what the average family does, you're rich. Period. Full stop, end of discussion.
I posted this over there and reaped the whirlwind. I was asked why I was "demanding" money from people who've earned it. I was told I've "fallen into the envy trap". And no less a personage than Dan Simmons himself, after explaining how he worked himself up from nothing and now works over 100 hours a week, told me I lack discipline, courage and talent, that my attitude sucks, and that I'm a...let's see, how did he put it? Oh, yes, "twerpy little asshole."

Boy, I wish I could win arguments that easily. 

Fact is, I never asked anyone for money, and would probably have to be tortured before I could. I never impugned anyone's work ethic. And I definately don't envy the rich.
In fact, if that attitude is representative, I pity the rich enormously. To have all that wealth and not recognize it. To seek nothing more than more (monetary) wealth. 

I'll admit it: I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to rich people. Most of them, anyway. They invariably crow about how beastly hard they've worked to amass all that lucre. And hey, I believe them. I work pretty friggin' hard for what little money I make. But to distort your work-life balance that far just for money? And then to look down your nose at all the talentless cowardly slackers who refuse to join you? Sorry, folks, I won't play that game. And I won't abide by people who are (let's face it) well off crying poor, either. Poor is not knowing where your next meal is coming from. Poor isn't worrying about how open a loophole to save yourself twenty grand in taxes.


Peter Dodson said...

After reading about Dan Simmons on this blog over the years Ken, I've come to the conclusion that he's a dick. A rich dick by the sounds of it.

In fact, if that attitude is representative, I pity the rich enormously. To have all that wealth and not recognize it. To seek nothing more than more (monetary) wealth.

It's weird isn't it - to have so much money and A) feel like you have none, and B) that you need more. The truth is that no amount of $ will ever satisfy them because after a certain point (meaning, after you can pay for the basics), increasing amounts of money don't bring anymore happiness. Maybe that's why people like Simmons are such dicks - they can't figure out why they are so unhappy, despite having so much money.

Rocketstar said...

I think it is human nature at it's worst, never being happy or satisfied with what you have. The $250K a year person thinks that the $1 mill year person is the rich one.

I think they lose sight of reality in a way as their reality has chnaged.

Ken Breadner said...

You know, Peter--he was a hell of a teacher, if the testimonies of his students count for anything. And he's won awards for his writing in every genre he's tackled, which is a lot of them. I wouldn't say he's thoroughly a dick, but he can sure act like one sometimes.
Rocket--oh, for sure. And the millionaire's small fry compared to the billionaire, and so on up the chain. My question is, how much is enough? I mean, realistically speaking, I'M rich. So are you. So's Peter. We're all rich compared to most of the people in the world. Are WE too rich?