Cracked Joins the War on Wealth

What would Sylvester P. Smythe say? Cracked magazine takes an unsympathetic (and unfunny) look at 6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying.

I’ll sum up the list:

  1. “Well, $500,000 a Year Might Sound Like a Lot, but I’m Hardly Rich.”
  2. “Hey, I Worked Hard to Get What I Have!”
  3. “If I Can Do It, So Can You!”
  4. “You’re Just Jealous Because I Made It and You Didn’t!”
  5. “You Shouldn’t Be Punishing the Very People Who Make This Country Work!”
  6. “Stop Asking for Handouts! I Never Got Help from Anybody!”

What follows each point in the list is What we hear, which drifts into a bunch of nonsense. Let’s take a look at them briefly:

“Well, $500,000 a Year Might Sound Like a Lot, but I’m Hardly Rich.”
It’s all about the cash flow, brother. The rich get into bigger houses, have more expensive cars, and pay more–dare I say it?–taxes than the non-rich. When I was working at a startup and had dreams of stock option wealth, I watched the multi-million dollar homes in the St. Louis area. Many of them had annual property tax bills exceeding my salary at that time (and the worth of my stock options by a factor of tens of thousands). I know, I know, you’re saying you don’t have to live in a house like that, but in some cases you do, because you have to throw parties and have the right people over to show your status. Fair? No. But $500,000 a year in salary–cut down to, what, $300,000 by income taxes and then bitten by property taxes, sales taxes, and whatnot. Suddenly you’re living well, but not Larry Ellison well.

“Hey, I Worked Hard to Get What I Have!”
You know what? A lot of them have. Read The Millionaire Next Door and learn how most millionaires make it over a lifetime. I don’t care what this “humor” writer “hears.” It’s not true.

He also goes on to mention millionaire football players, as though NFL players don’t work. The author lacks insight into the NFL experience. Those guys have lots of meetings, film to watch, things to study, and workouts to attend. (Remember the content of Run to Daylight.) To say nothing about going out on Sundays for almost half a year and getting hurt. It takes talent, but it also takes a hell of a lot of work. More than it takes to write an Internet humor column.

“If I Can Do It, So Can You!”
I don’t know many who say that except the ones selling DVDs and books about how to do it, too. It takes moxie, tenacity, intelligence, and a heaping helping of luck. You might not be able to do it, but you can try. Just don’t expect your attempt to succeed if it involves writing a column on the Internet or writing manuals for an enterprise information integration start-up.

“You’re Just Jealous Because I Made It and You Didn’t!”
The rich should definitely not say this because it misuses the word jealous when they should say envious. But the author and his thoughtless ilk are envious, even though they’re blessed with Internet connections and a standard of living better than 99.99% (est.) of humans who have ever lived (and maybe ever will).

“You Shouldn’t Be Punishing the Very People Who Make This Country Work!”
That’s a very blanket statement. The .05% calling themselves the 99% aren’t that surgical in their punishment. I’ve seen this sentiment expressed elsewhere, and it confuses the hell out of me. People expressing it often haven’t started businesses and/or hired people. They haven’t invested in corporations that have hired people. They just expect jobs and whatnot to materialize. Or maybe they expect the government to print jobs the way government prints money. I don’t understand.

“Stop Asking for Handouts! I Never Got Help from Anybody!”
You know what? This is crap. It conflates help with government help, which is different. Charity comes from voluntary contributions. Government wealth redistribution comes under the penalty of death, ultimately. The author then goes into luck (poor station at birth), family obligations (your parents fed you! That’s help!) and a bunch of other crap that pretty almost goes so far to say that the worm that makes the rich loam you grow tomatoes in HELPS YOU YOU HYPOCRITE! But he might not have thought of that.

It very conveniently smears the bright line between government-enforced extraction of wealth from those who make their own and the giving to those who do not and pretty much everything good in life.

Which, frankly, is the type of intelligent argument that one expects from the people fighting the War on Wealth.

I know, I know, it’s Cracked. It’s a humor magazine! But it’s not funny, and it makes a political argument. An unsound and invalid set of political arguments, in fact.

However, here is one thing the rich should stop saying:“I feel that it’s okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.

(More also at Hot Air.)