Income Disparity, The 900 Millionaire, It’s Mine, You Can’t Take It
Income Disparity, The 900 Millionaire, It’s Mine, You Can’t Take It is about money and predictable common fallacy. In this political year income disparity is going to be debated a lot and I believe it is necessary to clear up many “gospel truths” that are not, and never have been true. Yet, many of these truisms are accepted as common knowledge at all levels of the social strata.
You’ll pardon me if I paint with a broad brush, because that‘s my style. Broad generalizations are good for several reasons. I absolutely refuse to argue on minutiae, factoids and what someone attributes to someone else. I am not quoting anyone else or using anyone else’s figures anywhere. As a scholar in the field of economic history I know exactly how to spot the difference between a study (peer reviewed with repeatable results) and a story (ideologically bent, cherry-picked factoids, aligned to influence). So there won’t be any facts here to argue. The conclusions are correct and (I’m avoiding arrogance as best I can) inarguable. This was written by me, Max Oebulet. Quote me.
Firstly, the old saw about economists is true. “an economist says in 12 months the market will be up a thousand, another says down a thousand” and they could both be wrong. One might as well hire a palm reader. Yet there is an area of economics that is clear as a freshly washed sheet of glass. History. We know what works. We know what is. Or do we??? Here are some facts.
It’s my money. Well no, it’s not. Euros, Dollars, Kroner, Bolivars, Pesos, Lira or whatever may be in your possession. You may have earned them but, technically, legally they are the property of whatever government backs their value with their (not your) full faith and credit. The value of these notes are determined by the government involved and there is an entire panoply of laws and restrictions involved in their accumulation and use. None of these laws relinquish ownership of the money to you and many reinforce the ownership of the government. My money. Common fallacy.
You can’t take it. Well no, history is filled with the law requiring seizures, taxes, fines, fees, surcharges tolls and tariffs. Whatever government involved has always “taken it”. The thing about a Democracy is that the various governments need to provide the justification for their seizures. When a Libertarian or rightist says the government steals their money, well, they are just plain lying. The law is being followed. That’s how it works. Always has. And it should, especially in a Democracy.
So it was never yours and the Government can always take it. Believe me, this is no reason to get depressed or defensive. In life you can accumulate it and use it as you see fit, within Democratically determined law. These things are good and in a Democracy, are actually encouraged. So save a few Hamiltons this week.
So let’s talk about income disparity and I’ll make this a short paragraph about common fallacy. Billionaire says, “but I work hard so, I’ve earned it”. Not True. It is functionally impossible for him to work harder than any person that earns 50K at concrete finishing that has $693.00 in savings. It is psychologically impossible for him to have more dire responsibilities and critical decision making stresses than an emergency room doctor that gets $140k. It’s a lie. They just have an insanely nutty idea about their self-worth and way too much power on the economics of a small intersection of our economy. Our Economy. There isn’t a single billionaire that took more responsibility for individuals under them than a Marine Master Sergeant (they have to decide which valued employee that they are trained to care for, has to be sent to their death). Not possible. Effort to reward ratios kick in and clearly expose this fallacy. No one is that much more valuable than another on an effort to reward ratio.
Yet, as a society, we celebrate billionairehood. It’s ridiculous. We have lists and firsts and rankings and are even evolving lotteries to start creating them. And they are a drain on the economy. Period. I’m going to follow up on that in the next few weeks but, it is off-subject. I said it. Billionaires are a huge drain on the economy and that’s the facts, but not what this column is about.
This is about the 900 Millionaire. The ones we should celebrate. The ones we should rank and list and name as firsts.
Now here is where I make enemies. I like everybody and respect most. So I’m going to use a specific example of one of them and Mark, I mean no offense. I hope you will read this and really understand that you’re just an example. Neither a good one or a bad one. Just an example.
Mark Cuban, good guy, billionaire. Educated with way too many common fallacies. He believes that he works hard and has accomplished a lot and is worth every dime he has. He would be wrong. Sorry Mark. He would also believe the money (in his position, he would call them investments and assets) is his because he earned it. From an effort to reward ratio, that’s beyond fallacy. It’s a great big huge lie. Now Mark, I’m not saying that you lied, I’m saying that you believe one (or several). I’m not blaming you.
You see Mark, and you know about this stuff even if you have failed to connect the dots, most of your wealth is from leveraging the efforts other people. You know it and learned it and everyday use it. It’s not your fault but, in the grand scheme of things and right there in your front yard, it is the very thing that holds back you and your friends, neighbors, employees and everyone as far as the eye can see.
That’s the reason you should never have been a Billionaire. Instead you should have been a 900 Millionaire. That should be celebrated. The problem is that because of the tons of fallacy out there you are going to protest what I am about to say in the most strident terms. In fact, if my idea got political teeth and went anywhere, I’ll bet you would spend money politically, to strangle it. Oh well, even billionaires allow fallacy to retard their own self-interest.
The U.S.Congress (remember them) should pass a law that requires a man (or woman, now that they’ve made the list) that has accumulated a billion dollars in assets to invest ten percent in areas and in a manner that will in no way accrue benefit today or at anytime in the future accrue benefit to the billionaire involved or his assets, family, investors or any properties or assets or investments in the United States and certainly no investment whatsoever outside the United States. It would have to accrue benefits here, for everyone else here. At this level this should be outside the realm and not related in any way to your tax liabilities.
Now Mark, you know as well as I do that this isn’t going to give you any economic insecurity and you can still afford your next bagel. You’re a smart enough guy to take a ten percent hit and continue to build your empire at pace. Don’t get discouraged, it’s a good thing. But because of fallacies that you accept as gospel, you can’t believe me. You would never volunteer for this and that’s why I propose a law.
The real stupid people are about to put a label on me. Something about big gubmint socialist commie pinko liberal class warfare revolutionary and, I don’t know what. They would be wrong.
Now I realize that the guy that accumulates a billion in assets is going to use, as his first opposing argument, the idea that if the government got it, they would waste it. That’s why I said that you have to invest it. I don’ t care in what. Infrastructure, small business, scholarships, public services such as hospitals and community facilities, student and business financing or even grants. I don’t care. You’re a really bright guy. You decide. Just do the right and smart thing.
Then let’s expand the whole idea. Let’s get all the billionaires to follow suit. They won’t volunteer so, make no mistake, it would require law and strict enforcement.
Just think about it. 1100 billionaires pouring in $110,000,000,000.00 into the economy in an effort to see who could top who (you just got to love arrogant self-interested one-upmanship) for effort, effectiveness, sustainability and value to the common good of everybody. Then remember. A lot of these guys are worth multiples of a billion so, we’re talking conservatively.
I know, you think I’m a socialist whatever, whatever, whatever. Wrong, and here’s why.
Expand the program downhill. Start, at say, those that have accumulated $20Mil. Start at 1% and expand the program to 10% at the ½ billion level.
Now that’s a god awful butt load of economic expansion. An entire dislocation and resurrection of capital on this level is only theoretic. The reason I know it will work is because anyone that is affected is several things and they get to make the decisions, altruistically. The people that amass $20Mil or more are smart, effective and competitive people who abhor failure when involving their own decision making processes. They all look at the mirror every single morning and say something like (admit it Mark, come on now) “I can do a better job than them”. <-<-<- FACT!!! Just ask Mark.
Now for the stick. It has to affect a social demographic from a strictly economic point of view. If the right was smart (you’ll not find me accusing the right of being smart) they would evolve affirmative action programs away from ethnic disparity and evolve it to address economic and geographic disparity. But no, they would rather kill the most economically effective social engineering program in the history of mankind (fact) and call it capitalism while inventing empty rhetoric in the effort to expand common fallacy. Like reverse discrimination (what the…). That’s your Republican Party. (note to Republicans: attacking economic success=stupid) Reinforcing and evolving this program is smart economics. But, it is not the point here. It’s just the facts here.
Non-compliance would trigger seizure of 125% of the required amount. We would just get another Trident submarine and some pork barrel programs out of the U.S.Congress (remember them).
Now Mark, I absolutely, positively guarantee you that if you did, and they did, and we did, well…..
It would be infinitely easier for you to accumulate that second 900 million than it will ever be to accumulate that second billion. And you would have accomplished success twice, twice personally and twice altruistically. An economic model cannot be designed (I know, I’ve asked) that can show the downside to you or them or us. Whomever, whoever is, it’s inarguable. Ain’t it grand. We’ll call benevolent capitalism. It’s just the facts, Mark. Go ahead, put the money out there in a way that not only says how much you’ve accumulated, but tells us what kind of man you are. And, respectfully, you are just an example.
Max Oebulet, Social Philosopher