Tag Archives: wealth

The curse of inheritance

feral hog
Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Those of you who have read this blog awhile probably know I’m inclined to think we’ve got to quit rewarding people for being born to wealthy, powerful parents. The practice has been around so long it’s almost impossible to force our minds to examine the issue. But when we are able to do it a lot of facets emerge that would argue to the unbiased observer it’s not the way to operate a society.

We all grew up on rags to riches stories and the generations before us had their Horatio Algers, Joseph Kennedys and other self-made millionaires. This country spawned thousands of them during the 19th and 20th Centuries.

But what we rarely consider is that the progeny of those millionaires and billionaires end up being the driving forces in the running of the country. An aristocracy based as thoroughly on inheritance as any European lords and nobles the people who founded this country did their best to assure would never rule here.

In the same way we know about self-made wealth and the men who have it, most of us also know about their offspring. The powerful insanity of the heirs to the DuPont fortune. Teddy Kennedy. Paris Hilton. And the list goes on and on. There’s no evidence at all that being born to conspicuous wealth lends itself to breeding better, more productive people. The opposite is more likely true.

So what, the next obvious question asks itself, should ‘we’ do with billionaire estates after it’s all been confiscated besides, say, a million dollars each to the heirs?

Well, how about this? Use it to finance those damned wars nobody has asked anyone but wealthy people whether they want?

Or use it to build that damned wall most sane people don’t want, but are being threatened with having to pay for.

Or sum it all up each year and divide it into equal parts as a sort of ‘tax refund’ for all the other citizens of the country who don’t have a million bucks?

And every one of these suggestions is certain to infuriate a huge piece of the public. The wealthy and powerful, of course. And those who think they might inherit sometime, somehow. And those who believe they’re clever enough to be a self-made millionaire and that this will keep them from creating a dynasty.

But the really strange ones are those down in the trailer parks, of out there in suburbia who toil for their survival and work hard for everything they get in this life. They are as protective of our power elite aristocracy as their masters who did inherit their fortunes.

There’s no understanding the human mind.

Old Jules

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What is this thing called ‘we’?

mob

Hi readers.    Thanks for coming by.

If you’re like me you probably figure you know an awfully lot about how this country and this world ought to be run.   All sorts of opinions about some composite of human being  bagged into the word, ‘who’ ought to get fed, get rich, or get killed.   Most of that ‘who’ can be distinguished from ‘we’ in various ways.

For instance, people who need killing are usually located outside the boundaries of our country.   And they tend to be inside the boundaries of a country our politicians and wealthy people dislike for one reason or another.   And usually people who need killing get around to being killed if they don’t see the error of their ways.

People who ought to get fed, on the other hand, and those who shouldn’t is a lot more complicated.  Of course, right at the top of what people ought to have full bellies are those blessed with wealth, either by coming from a wealthy family, by being really good at selling something, or by stealing it and getting by with it [or having ancestors who did].

Next, the people who ought to get to keep their tummies full ought to be people as much like ‘us’ and possible.   People who go to jobs everyday that pay enough so’s there’s plenty of money for food and other things.   Naturally those should be fed because they’re like US.

And then of course there are those people who definitely shouldn’t be fed.   Snot nosed kids who are born in bad neighborhoods, who have parents who use drugs, drink too much, and the fathers don’t take responsibility for them.    Those little bastards need to be deprived of food so they can be persuaded to earn an ‘honest’ living.    As prostitutes, say, or selling drugs on schoolgrounds.   If they wanted a better life they should have been born to wealthy parents.

But that’s just me, and you, if you happen to be like me.    A lot of other soft hearted people think EVERYONE ought to be fed and NOBODY ought to go hungry, or suffer cold because he or she can’t afford a warm place to stay.

Yeah, and those commie snowflakes ought to be killed.    They definitely aren’t a piece of ‘we’.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

Celebrating MLK day by doing the laundry and trying to stay warm.

Hi readers.     Thanks for coming by for a read.

At 6 am the thermometer on my porch declared it was almost 20 degrees F.   And an hour later it dropped to around 10 degrees F.    So there you are.

I hope you are all having a merry little MLK day.    If you didn’t get all the presents you were wanting old MLK to bring, maybe the Valentine will give them to you, or the Easter Bunny.    Don’t give up hope.

So, it being a clear day full of sunshine I figured I’d go down to the laundromat to celebrate MLK.    Discovered sun or no sun, those sidewalks and parking lots are SLICK.  No, not slicker than greased owl droppings, but still slick enough to throw a man who was not sufficiently careful, or one who felt the need for a broken arm or hip.

But it was worth it.    I’m blessed with a load of clean laundry, all folded nicely, ready to go into the various hidey holes and drawer-like places here.    And while I was waiting for my dryer I stopped by Wendy’s for a Caesar salad.    Which I didn’t get one of because all their damned Romaine  lettuce was recalled.

So I had to settle for some other lousy salad that wasn’t worth the chewing it required.

But it was worth it anyway.    Because at the booth across from me I heard the most INTERESTING conversation!     It all began with a few remarks about MLK and the issue of whether racism in this country has improved since his time.   Mostly these folks figured it hasn’t.

But of course, they weren’t alive or adults to experience how it was when MLK was doing his work.   Everything seems to me to boil down to conjecture and personal experience.    Along with the manifestations of racism a person chooses to call by that title.

But I’ve digressed.    What struck me as most interesting was that the conversation drifted to something they were calling, ‘restitution’.     Evidently there’s either a plan in place, a program somewhere, or just a fond hope among a lot of people that we who are alive today are going to be compensated by someone sometime for bad things our ancestors experienced.

To me this sounds peachy, but somehow unlikely.    My personal ancestors, I know, experienced great hardships, deprivations, injustices and sometimes even rudeness.   I’ve always resented the fact nobody ever offered to pay me for all that stuff that happened to them.

But my impression listening to these people at Wendy’s was that they thought ‘restitution’ for things our ancestors suffered but we didn’t have to not only made sense, but was somewhere on an agenda and might happen.

Where do these ideas come from?     Is it because we’ve endured a system of inherited wealth and power all these generations after we ceased being aboriginals?   So if we can inherit wealth, we should also be compensated for the suffering dead people endured?

The world is a crazy place, and to me that definitely sounds like an idea not likely to come to pass, but stranger things have happened and still do.    After all, we do allow people to inherit power and wealth generation after generation.   Which probably would have sounded fairly crazy to aboriginals.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

Philosophy by Limerick – Something to Live For

The habit of wealth to aspire
For more wealth so the kids don’t perspire
Builds character strong
Pulls the grandkids along
With butlers and gardeners to hire.

Old Jules

The Poor and Under-educated

Previously posted June 9, 2005

There’s been a lot of discussion on various threads about the statements people who think they know, (politicians, academians, religious zealots, know-it-alls, do-gooders and others with the wisdom to know what’s best for people who aren’t fortunate enough to be them) that most of the people who play the lotteries are poor and under educated.

The Poor:
I’d be the first to agree that people who are one or another level of ‘poor’ play the lotteries.  Most of us are poorer than we’d like to be…. that’s why folks such as Hollywood Henderson and Jack Whittaker bought tickets.

But how poor can a person be and still buy lottery tickets?

The poorest people I know are living on the streets panhandling.  They have their values straight, as a rule.  Priority one, when some money falls into their lives:  A bottle of something, a fix of something.

Priority number sixteen, or thereabouts:  Something to eat.

Priority number twenty-seven:  A lottery ticket.

Those folks aren’t buying a lot of tickets.

The somewhat higher level of poor people do buy some tickets, I’ve observed standing in line behind them at the convenience store.  They drive up in automobiles, buy a case of beer for the evening, some chips, and probably go home to watch the results on television.  They mightn’t have a nice home…. maybe a trashed out mobile home in some park full of human lessons to be learned, anger and loud music, but they aren’t actually poor.

In fact, by any standard besides the one we judge such things by today for social reasons, these ‘poor’ people are generally enjoying a level of wealth seldom experienced in human history.  There’s food available to them through food banks all over this nation to keep them from starving.  They have shelter from the weather and warmth in the winter.  They can purchase clothing at any garage sale for a quarter.  They drive automobiles or use public transportation unless they choose to walk.

In a world where the history of human living conditions have predominantly involved worrying about where the next meal is (or isn’t) coming from, where death by exposure to the elements has almost always been a reality, the US doesn’t have more than a smattering of poor people by standard that existed a century ago. 

Those poor people referred to by the politicians and statisticians are adults, making choices about what risks they wish to indulge with the money they have in hopes of improving their lot.  They’re submerged in wealth.  If you don’t believe it, imagine those pictures you probably see on television of villages somewhere with kids lying around with pot-bellies, flies walking all over their faces, them without the energy to lift a hand to brush them off, one step away from exiting the vehicle because there’s nothing to eat and there’s not going to be.  That’s poor.

The Under-Educated:

I happen to have a pretty fair formal education, though I’m ‘under-educated’, as is everyone I’ve ever met.  Which boils down to all lottery players being under-educated, and that being a shared trait with all those who don’t play.  Until someone invents an educational level that includes being ‘over-educated’, and ‘just-the-right-educated’, none of the above tells us much about who plays the lottery.

But it does tell us a lot about manipulative rhetoric, politics by guilt, religious posturing, hypocracy, and a willingness (or unwillingness) to allow adults who might be just as smart and savvy as we are to make their own choices about how they want to spend their money.  About what risks they’re willing to take in life.  That comes under the heading of something called, “freedom”.  Not a lot of it floating around these days.

Old Jules

Discarded Jewelry

Ruidoso Steak-House
Glanced at her reflection
In the plate-glass window
New squash-blossom turquoise
Sassy Stetson
Patted 50ish blonde curls
And wished
They’d eaten at the casino
Where this didn’t happen
Wrinkled pretty nose
Don’t give him anything
He’ll just get drunk!” Stage whispered
To her Houston lady friend
As though he wasn’t there
She was right of course
Except the old man Mescalero
Was already drunk
He turned away
Then turned back and mumbled
Sing the Song of Life each day
Or when the time arrives you won’t know how
To sing the Song of Death.”

Old Jules