This post from MoveOn.org appeared on my Facebook page this week. A number of thoughts come to mind about why people create wealth. My father told me, for instance, that "Money is how you keep score." The more wealth that you create, the higher your score. That should be a no-brainer in a freedom-loving society. You have the freedom to become as wealthy as you want.
But wealth also lies at the center of the debate about inequality, the presumed loss of compassion and unity in the society, the envy that other people feel toward the wealthy, and the measures they pursue to resolve the inequality.
MoveOn.org offers "equality" to its uninformed masses as a sort of palliative to their pain, to justify their pursuit of equalizing measures. The wealthy watch as the thirst for payback grows in America, and wonder what to do about it. My father told me a story about a worried client who confronted his banker, "How can I be sure I'll have all my wealth when I die?"
The banker reached into a desk drawer, pulled out a pistol, and said, "Use this, now!"
If my old banker had offered me a gun, I would have asked, "Should I shoot you or me?" We would have had a laugh over it, and then he would have shooooed me out of his office.
The truth is, my old banker did not keep a gun in the office, as he did not believe in banker-assisted suicide. He gave good advice, and I usually heeded it. Maybe I was just lucky. During one meeting, he mentioned an investing phenomenon called the "Greed-Factor," but never explained it in detail. My reader can google "Greed-Factor" and find plenty of articles to peruse.
Wikipedia defines greed as "an irresistable craving to possess more of something than one actually needs." This definition might fit a Sunday School lesson-book, but clearly whoever wrote the lesson never lacked for anything in his or her young life. But wait till they get married! Wait till they have hostages to fortune! They will never feel they have enough money! They cannot banish their fear of fate turning against them, turning them out into the street, hungry and cold.
Wikipedia continues its pronouncement: "Greed, like love, has the power to send a chemical-rush through our brains." This moralistic take on brain-chemistry, straight from an ivory-tower, stamps a capital "G" on the breast of greedy, morally-bankrupt people, like the "A" for adultery, and "M" for murderer, or "J" for Jude, for that matter—stamped on the yellow six-point star.
For the Nazis, "J" for Jude sums up all the evil of the other three initials. In modern times, that "J" has become an "R", for the "Rich." In the eyes of left-wing orgs like MoveOn, rich people should remain under suspicion for possession of wealth—not firearms, dangerous drugs, or bomb-making materials—just too much money.
Left-wing orgs want to browbeat the wealthy to give up some of their wealth, when so many in the World hardly have enough to eat. I am mature enough and cynical enough to question the motives of orgs like MoveOn. They don't get their energy from the pursuit of justice and equality, but from envy and payback. As the song says, "Tear that sucker down!"
Notice that I use the word "wealth" rather than "money." Smart people do not hoard cash-money. When they accumulate some cash-money, they usually convert it into something else. If you hold onto cash long enough, it may gain in numismatic value. Otherwise it shrinks in value, according to the yearly inflation-rate. If inflation is four-percent, the value of cash-money shrinks at the same rate. For that reason, informed people turn cash into something else.
If the left-wing populists in America demand that people like Elon Musk and Larry Page pay more taxes, they will have to reverse their usual procedures and convert assets into cash. This will cause a shrinkage greater than the inflation-rate. Page and Musk will have to cash out of millions of dollars of assets in a crash-sale environment that will inevitably decrease the value of the assets; and it will have a domino-effect on everything else.
Punitive leftists will applaud the forced coversion of wealth into cash-money. Everyone else should groan at the waste. MoveOn.org could use a few economics courses, in order to understand how an economy works in a freedom-loving society. They will learn that cash does not constitute wealth for most wealthy people. Investment does.
Invested wealth depends on future projections of growth, not present value. Try to convert invested wealth into cash, and the value could easily decline by a quarter or more. Force many people to cash out of investments, and you can make the entire stock market decline—along with teacher-pensions, nurse-pensions, insurance company reserves, college endowments, and lots of other investors. If the orgs gets their way and the stock market declines, I hope everyone lines up to condemn them.