My Blog Week: November 10 to November 16
A Word on the Week
The Money Vortex
We don’t really know what happens.
Forbes tallies up 607 American billionaires for the year 2018, with a gain of 21 new stratum members. Billionaires in other nations, their ranks thinning a bit, might struggle somewhat with supporting their system of government and their compatriots’ welfare. We’ll have to suppose that Eisenhower, Nixon, and even Reagan were closet Communists, given the invective our billionaires come out with in public these days, against raising taxes on surplus income—since in all of those halcyon rightist administrations, tax rates on the highest incomes were very much higher, 70 percent in 1950, compared to 23 percent today (NYT).
All of us on the poor end no doubt have our castles in the air, as to what we’d do if our work was discovered, and we earned as much as a million or two.
For me, it would be the environment, the animals, and the creation of a residency program for people who have been pushed out of their jobs, that would allow them to spend a year doing something creative, restoring their peace of mind. But whatever you want to do when your ship comes in, it’s probably not hoarding money in offshore accounts and shell companies, and probably not preemptively donating cancel money (The Progressive) to candidates you don’t support, so long as they aren’t Bernie Sanders, and don’t call themselves socialist*. As I mentioned last week, there seems a weird detachment between recognizing the popularity of progressive liberals as a threat, and recognizing popularity as a thing produced by large numbers of people.
The wealthy oppose any change that lowers the stock value of energy companies, pharmaceutical companies, heath insurance giants, etc. But how did the new billionaires arrive at the end of this journey? Did they never in their lives care about doing good, or did they become less and less concerned as they hobnobbed with richer people? Is it a clubby sort of indoctrination from elder billionaire to younger? How do you talk as a cynical, fatalistic type, but never (though you don’t care, after all) consider that the legacy you leave could be dumb?
Does it matter if some of the recipients of your largess have lied about their problems? Does it matter if they’re not the hardest workers? What if they use up all the money and come back asking for more? Maybe only most of the people you help—to a quality of life more comfortable, enjoyed in a viable environment, with affordable housing in demographically mixed neighborhoods, healthcare that doesn’t risk the house, education designed to value knowledge, an entrepreneurial class willing and wanting to hire a broad scope of knowledge, instead of that bill of goods so many for-profit schools peddle, limited training for an employment market already diminished by the number of graduates entering it every year—will pay you back at all. Maybe meaner rich friends will laugh at you for being a chump.
But, taking the loss of money in investments as normal risk, and being heartless about losing it on making the life of a human being easier…when does that take over? Would you finance a movie about a hero who fails gloriously in pursuit of a noble cause, watch it contentedly in your private home theater, and then carp about giving money to people who are “just going to spend it, and not learn anything”?
*A form of government that encompasses economic intervention, by the means of taxes collected on surplus income, for the greater good of the people, allowing failed companies to be bailed out (ProPublica); also predatory capitalists to enrich themselves (CNBC) by defrauding public health.
On Monday, in a new “Bride to Be”, part seven, Lady Tamarilde vowing to join Alderic, cursing whoever may stop her. Tuesday’s Impresario was part fifteen, Pierre and Regalus joined by the others, and beginning to hatch their scheme. Wednesday, “Away Like Dust”, a Jumping Off poem. On Thursday, Frédéric Boutet’s short story, “The Ghost of M. Imberger”, part seven, recounting another man’s disappearance. Friday, the Totem-Maker reaches the next country, parting from all friends, as chapter five, “Winter Alone” concludes. And on Saturday, a new Assorted Opinions, on the hazards of using “they” as a singular pronoun.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: November 10 to November 16