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Thread: Mitt Romney and the myth of self-created millionaires

  1. #1
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    Mitt Romney and the myth of self-created millionaires

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...myth?fb=optOut



    Mitt Romney and the myth of self-created millionaires


    The parasitical ultra-rich often deny the role of others in the acquisition of their wealth – and even seek to punish them for it


    We could call it Romnesia: the ability of the very rich to forget the context in which they made their money. To forget their education, inheritance, family networks, contacts and introductions. To forget the workers whose labour enriched them. To forget the infrastructure and security, the educated workforce, the contracts, subsidies and bailouts the government provided.

    Every political system requires a justifying myth. The Soviet Union had Alexey Stakhanov, the miner reputed to have extracted 100 tonnes of coal in six hours. The US had Richard Hunter, the hero of Horatio Alger's rags-to-riches tales.

    Both stories contained a germ of truth. Stakhanov worked hard for a cause in which he believed, but his remarkable output was probably faked. When Alger wrote his novels, some poor people had become very rich in the US. But the further from its ideals (productivity in the Soviet Union's case, opportunity in the US) a system strays, the more fervently its justifying myths are propounded.

    As the developed nations succumb to extreme inequality and social immobility, the myth of the self-made man becomes ever more potent. It is used to justify its polar opposite: an unassailable rent-seeking class, deploying its inherited money to finance the seizure of other people's wealth.

    The crudest exponent of Romnesia is the Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart. "There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire," she insists. "If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourselves – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising and more time working … Remember our roots, and create your own success."

    Remembering her roots is what Rinehart fails to do. She forgot to add that if you want to become a millionaire – in her case a billionaire – it helps to inherit an iron ore mine and a fortune from your father and to ride a spectacular commodities boom. Had she spent her life lying in bed and throwing darts at the wall, she would still be stupendously rich.

    Rich lists are stuffed with people who either inherited their money or who made it through rent-seeking activities: by means other than innovation and productive effort. They're a catalogue of speculators, property barons, dukes, IT monopolists, loan sharks, bank chiefs, oil sheikhs, mining magnates, oligarchs and chief executives paid out of all proportion to any value they generate. Looters, in short. The richest mining barons are those to whom governments sold natural resources for a song. Russian, Mexican and British oligarchs acquired underpriced public assets through privatisation, and now run a toll-booth economy. Bankers use incomprehensible instruments to fleece their clients and the taxpayer. But as rentiers capture the economy, the opposite story must be told.

    Scarcely a Republican speech fails to reprise the Richard Hunter narrative, and almost all these rags-to-riches tales turn out to be bunkum. "Everything that Ann and I have," Mitt Romney claims, "we earned the old-fashioned way". Old fashioned like Blackbeard, perhaps. Two searing exposures in Rolling Stone magazine document the leveraged buyouts which destroyed viable companies, value and jobs, and the costly federal bailout which saved Romney's political skin.

    Romney personifies economic parasitism. The financial sector has become a job-destroying, home-breaking, life-crushing machine, which impoverishes others to enrich itself. The tighter its grip on politics, the more its representatives must tell the opposite story: of life-affirming enterprise, innovation and investment, of brave entrepreneurs making their fortunes out of nothing but grit and wit.

    There is an obvious flip side to this story. "Anyone can make it – I did without help", translates as "I refuse to pay taxes to help other people, as they can help themselves": whether or not they inherited an iron ore mine from daddy. In the article in which she urged the poor to emulate her, Rinehart also proposed that the minimum wage should be reduced. Who needs fair pay if anyone can become a millionaire?

    In 2010, the richest 1% in the US captured an astonishing 93% of that year's gain in incomes. In the same year, corporate chief executives made, on average, 243 times as much as the median worker (in 1965 the ratio was 10 times lower). Between 1970 and 2010, the Gini coefficient, which measures inequality, rose in the US from 0.35 to 0.44: an astounding leap.

    As for social mobility, of the rich countries listed by the OECD, the three in which men's earnings are most likely to resemble their father's are, in this order, the UK, Italy and the US. If you are born poor or born rich in these nations, you are likely to stay that way. It is no coincidence that these three countries all promote themselves as lands of unparalleled opportunity.

    Equal opportunity, self-creation, heroic individualism: these are the myths that predatory capitalism requires for its political survival. Romnesia permits the ultra-rich both to deny the role of other people in the creation of their own wealth and to deny help to those less fortunate than themselves. A century ago, entrepreneurs sought to pass themselves off as parasites: they adopted the style and manner of the titled, rentier class. Today the parasites claim to be entrepreneurs.

    Twitter: @GeorgeMonbiot

    A fully referenced version of this article can be found at www.monbiot.com


  2. #2
    Exactly you need big government to create the kind of wealth inequality we currently have.

  3. #3
    The parasitical ultra-rich often deny...
    Stopped reading about there.

    All I know is my family came to the U.S. (legally) with less than nothing, and barely high-school level edications.

    My father died a home owner, a professional and executive. And thats despite being a total scumbag, frankly.

    Apart from my mervelous public education (which I slept through it was so slack-jawed and remedial, aiming to serve the lowest 10% of student best), I have recieved nothing from parents (except heartache and drama) or siblings, and yet I too have created for myself some small measure of success, int he "top 15%" if such numbers are to be believed.

    And as I've said repeatedly, I am nothing, certainly nothing special. Average in every way, and probably far more lazy and unmotivated than most.

    You can decry the ideal of earning your own success, or play up how vital the various forms of collectivism are (all the better to claim then that we "owe" our success back to those collectivists), but I've lived a life that proves it all wrong.

    I will never have patience for those who do not work and earn their own way, outside the truly disabled (for whom I'm happy to have aid programs, if they are efficient and well managed and not simply handouts to anyone who can fake a doctors note).

    I remain amazed that we now live in a society where a man who pays over a million dollars in taxe and gives away 3 million dollars to charity if widely described as "greedy", "selfish" and worse by fellow citizens who pay no net federal taxes, and in fact are net recipients of the system.
    Last edited by Warfish; 09-25-2012 at 04:55 PM.

  4. #4
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    George Moonbat?

    We get it. The rich are evil. Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Alec Baldwin, Rachel Maddow, Whoopie Goldberg, Michael Moore and countless other millionaires tell us this every day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Stopped reading about there.

    All I know is my family came to the U.S. (legally) with less than nothing, and barely high-school level edications.

    My father died a home owner, a professional and executive. And thats despite being a total scumbag, frankly.

    Apart from my mervelous public education (which I slept through it was so slack-jawed and remedial, aiming to serve the lowest 10% of student best), I have recieved nothing from parents (except heartache and drama) or siblings, and yet I too have created for myself some small measure of success, int he "top 15%" if such numbers are to be believed.

    And as I've said repeatedly, I am nothing, certainly nothing special. Average in every way, and probably far more lazy and unmotivated than most.

    You can decry the ideal of earning your own success, or play up how vital the various forms of collectivism are (all the better to claim then that we "owe" our success back to those collectivists), but I've lived a life that proves it all wrong.

    I will never have patience for those who do not work and earn their own way, outside the truly disabled (for whom I'm happy to have aid programs, if they are efficient and well managed and not simply handouts to anyone who can fake a doctors note).

    I remain amazed that we now live in a society where a man who pays over a million dollars in taxe and gives away 3 million dollars to charity if widely described as "greedy", "selfish" and worse by fellow citizens who pay no net federal taxes, and in fact are net recipients of the system.
    Well said...

    and I will add, many of my clients are millionaires, many earn 7 figures annually. They are lawyers, Dr's, investment bankers, plumbers and various business owners. All live below their means, save a LOT and are totally bewildered why the government spends more than it brings in.
    They get so little from government in comparison to what they pay and they work harder, from all I can see of them, than 99 percent of Americans. THATS why they are the 1 percent.

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    But......wasn't he on welfare?






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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    But......wasn't he on welfare?





    Yes. That is the point. George Romney got ahead after taking government assistance. Therefore government assistance helps folks to get a leg up. A government assistance sucess story brought to by the George Romney for Governor campaign.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    Yes. That is the point. George Romney got ahead after taking government assistance. Therefore government assistance helps folks to get a leg up. A government assistance sucess story brought to by the George Romney for Governor campaign.
    Sooooo....he DIDN"T build that! Wow, BO was right all along!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    I am nothing, certainly nothing special. Average in every way, and probably far more lazy and unmotivated than most.

    You and me have to party. Digits..pronto!






    Quote Originally Posted by shakin318 View Post
    We get it. The rich are evil. Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Alec Baldwin, Rachel Maddow, Whoopie Goldberg, Michael Moore and countless other millionaires tell us this every day.

    limo libs!



    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    Yes. That is the point. George Romney got ahead after taking government assistance. Therefore government assistance helps folks to get a leg up. A government assistance sucess story brought to by the George Romney for Governor campaign.

    Did Romney say he was against all Gov. assistance? I thought he said he didnt expect the votes of those dependant upon it.




    -

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 32green View Post
    Did Romney say he was against all Gov. assistance? I thought he said he didnt expect the votes of those dependant upon it.




    -
    he did sort of imply that 49% of the country are dependant on government handouts, which isn't true, and can be a PR mistake, to say the least.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    Yes. That is the point. George Romney got ahead after taking government assistance. Therefore government assistance helps folks to get a leg up. A government assistance sucess story brought to by the George Romney for Governor campaign.
    you seem to be making the point that his success was tied to getting govt assistance. your "logic" is exceptionally flawed.

  12. #12
    He invested his money and the money he has was a return on that investment. Sounds reasonable to me. I love rich people

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by shakin318 View Post
    George Moonbat?

    We get it. The rich are evil. Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Alec Baldwin, Rachel Maddow, Whoopie Goldberg, Michael Moore and countless other millionaires tell us this every day.
    no. The poor/lower class are evil. Sean Hannity, Dennis Miller, Bill O' Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and countless millionaires tell us this every day.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by intelligentjetsfan View Post
    no. The poor/lower class are evil. Sean Hannity, Dennis Miller, Bill O' Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and countless millionaires tell us this every day.
    An argument that falls flat when I point out that I came from that poor/lower class myself, personally, and that I know exactly what it takes to rise up, and that rising up is more than possible.

    You want to find a place to start some rational discourse?

    How about some honesty in the debate? Someone making $250,000 Houshold Income is not strictly "Millionaires and Billionaires".

    A little less newspeak would go a long way.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    An argument that falls flat when I point out that I came from that poor/lower class myself, personally, and that I know exactly what it takes to rise up, and that rising up is more than possible.

    You want to find a place to start some rational discourse?

    How about some honesty in the debate? Someone making $250,000 Houshold Income is not strictly "Millionaires and Billionaires".

    A little less newspeak would go a long way.
    While I'll never fall into this category, I can't believe how offensive the title of this thread is to all the people who worked their butt off to get where they are . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by intelligentjetsfan View Post
    no. The poor/lower class are evil. Sean Hannity, Dennis Miller, Bill O' Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and countless millionaires tell us this every day.
    Everything about the conservatives is to help people better themselves.

    We dont look at color, race, etc....

    I simply dont see how poor people are better off since 1964. The only people helped are the government employees administering these so called programs.

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    Thankfully, the far right nuts and far left screwballs cancel each other out.




    The average republican as seen by this board's democrats.



    The average democrat seen by this board's republicans.


  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Timmy® View Post
    The average democrat seen by this board's republicans.

    No... These are the average Democrats...


  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Everything about the conservatives is to help people better themselves.

    We dont look at color, race, etc....

    I simply dont see how poor people are better off since 1964. The only people helped are the government employees administering these so called programs.

    I simply don't understand how you can comment on the thought process of millions of people that you have never met. I will save you the suspense; as there are with democrats, there are a lot of racist who are registered republicans.

    Beyond that, do you honestly believe everything about conservatives is to help people better themselves? The idea that you could believe that a major political party does that is mind-blowing.
    Last edited by intelligentjetsfan; 09-26-2012 at 08:35 PM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by intelligentjetsfan View Post
    I simply don't understand how you can comment on the thought process of millions of people that you have never met. I will save you the suspense; as there are with democrats, there are a lot of racist who are registered republicans.

    Beyond that, do you honestly believe everything about conservatives is to help people better themselves? The idea that you could believe that a major political party does that is mind-blowing.
    There's a major conservative political party? THAT would be mind-blowing. . .

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