Wednesday, March 25, 2009
You Say You Want A Revolution?
The immortal Dan Carlin, as always (www.dancarlin.com), has a great point this week.
Like Dan, in my heart of hearts, I don't have a big problem with Tom Cruise getting $20 million for a movie, or Alex Rodriguez getting paid $25 million per year, or Vikram Pandit getting paid a quarter of a billion dollars to take over at Citigroup (http://bit.ly/10FBTU).
If you're an achiever, and you are in the top 0.00000001% of your profession, then you deserve to get rich. No one is WORTH $25 million dollars a year, except maybe heart surgeons and kindergarten teachers. And no one is willing to pay $125 to watch any of those people do their work for 3 hours, so they don't get paid $25 million dollars.
What makes people crazy is when you're getting rich, and you're grossly incompetent, and the people who are giving you the money say, "Hey, do you really deserve this?", and you start whining about how it's your CONTRACT, and you EARNED it, and it's NOT FAIR.
Fundamentally, I think Americans are fair people. They really don't want things given to them, they want to work for it. The middle class has been falling behind for decades, and the screwing continues apace, and the cry from the privileged classes is that this is the system, it's sink or swim, survival of the fittest, blah blah blah.
And then these malefactors of great wealth screw up big-they make huge bets, and get them wrong, and then they turn to the government, which they have bought and paid for, and say that we HAVE to help them. We have to help them or they will kill us all. They got all the gain, and we take all the risk. And we have to do it, or credit will dry up and its the 14th century all over again.
We wouldn't have as much of a problem with all this if they just took some of the downside risk as well.
And, in Carlin's final and most brilliant point, a point that I echoed here some time ago, it is NOT sink or swim. We're Americans. We are all in this together. Suffering Americans are linked to us just as surely as if we were tied to them in the middle of Walden Pond. It's from the bloody Bible-do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If your fellow Americans go under, you will pay for it, rest assured. You will pay for it in welfare payments, or food stamps, or crime, or your business going under because no one can afford whatever it is you sell.
It sucks to help people that don't seem deserving. It feels rotten, and wrong, and unfair. But it's what Jesus would do, and it's what we HAVE to do if we are going to get out of this with any semblance of an America.