Frank J. Fleming writes political humor at his blog IMAO. He’s really good at it. His piece in Pajamas Media “The Idle Rich vs. the Working Rich” is funny but is also profoundly true in ways that are not usually spoken of. What I mean is that he has mentioned the obvious, but somehow little noted fact that there are not really any poor people in contemporary America, only degrees of the wealthy.
Let’s get one thing straight: We label people in the U.S. as poor, middle class, and rich, but that is all utter bull. I mean, look at what we call poor in this country. Poor people have cars, cell phones, TV with hundreds of channels, the internet, electricity, running water — these are riches even the wealthiest of a hundred years or so ago couldn’t even dream of having. And look at our poor compared to actual poor people in other countries — not poor in the sense that they have to buy store brand soda but poor in that they could easily starve to death in the streets.
When you look at other countries and the history of the world in general, we are all just amazingly, unbelievably wealthy in this country. We have technology and opportunities that are insane; we can’t even comprehend how well off we are compared to people who used to have to live in huts and fight for every meal. When you look at it objectively, every one of us in this country is a billionaire. And what did we do to earn all this incredible wealth? For most of us, the answer is: absolutely nothing. We were just born with it. So we take it for granted. And we demand even more.
I actually figured this out some years ago when I happened to be reading a newspaper story on the wretched poor of the eastern mountains of Kentucky. I stopped reading when I came across a description of the awful trailer someone was living in, that included a satellite dish. I didn’t have satellite television. I did not consider myself to be particularly poor, and it occurred to me that these people couldn’t be considered poor in any reasonable sense of the term if they could afford to have a satellite dish.
But Frank Fleming gets better when he discusses the reasons for this amazing wealth.
There is another type of rich person, though — the working rich. The people who create. These are the people who made all the benefits we enjoy in society today. Thanks to their creativity and initiative, we have all the technological marvels we enjoy today. Because of their hard work, we have all these companies that give us cushy 9-to-5 jobs where we earn sums of money most of the world couldn’t even imagine possessing. And are we thankful? Do we say, “Thank you, rich people, for making all these things so we can benefit from them. I can’t even believe how simple and easy my life is because of you”? No, we demand more from them, because we’re the idle rich, and we think the working rich owe us everything.
He’s right. I don’t mean to start sounding like Ayn Rand, but we all are incredibly ungrateful to the people who have built our society. Instead of praising them, we condemn them as being greedy and demand that they pay their “fair share”.
Frank Fleming’s solution is elegant, and I think, doable. Deport all the whiners. If you are not going to contribute and you won’t shut up and be grateful, than go elsewhere.