I recently saw the photo about Congress in my Facebook news feed and, at first glance, I agreed. I thought, “AMEN! Those dirty Congressmen and women are greedy and only in it to line their pockets.” But then I had to think for a moment. What is wrong with earning more than $35,000 per year in any occupation? What is wrong with being rich? Of course, not everyone can be rich…and maybe that’s what the haters are so upset about. I’m not a fan of our current government (if you know me, I’m sure your shocked – HA!). I don’t believe our government does anything in a fiscally responsible manner and I wonder how much longer we can survive on the ridiculous mentality promoted by our Congress. All that aside, it brings up the bigger question I want to get to today: why is it evil to be rich? My conclusion: it isn’t.
Let’s agree on a few assumptions before we get started (let’s be honest, shall we?):
- You want to make more money. I started to use the word “earn,” but in many cases that isn’t the right word.
- There will always be people who make more money than you (Mr. Gates, if you’re reading this, you can skip over that comment)
- You want to make more money than me.
- If I make much more than you, you want me to do something about it to “level the playing field” a bit.
These are all statements that, if you really are honest, probably apply to you. Now, let’s get on what we should do about it.
First and foremost, I want you to make more money – I really do. I run a few small businesses and work for a large company – the success of all these enterprises depend on your willingness to spend money. And we all know you can’t spend what you don’t have. Earning more money is a good thing, assuming what you earn is actually worth the work you’re doing. These people protesting in the street that they deserve a “living wage” need to consider more than what they receive on their paychecks. I worked for minimum wage for over two years when I was starting out and that’s exactly what it is supposed to be – MINIMUM wage – a STARTING point. I won’t go off on that tangent too far…maybe another day.
Second and third, I’m okay that there are some people who earn more than me. Some of them maybe shouldn’t earn more (based on how they earn that money – which is probably where my initial “amen” comment came upon seeing the cut Congress pay photo), but that’s not necessarily my choice to make. If you are in a legitimate business and truly earn your income, go for it – get filthy stinkin’ rich. I applaud you for making a ton more money than I do and I hope you’ll make lots more.
It’s that last item, where you want to “level the playing field” where I get hung up. Most of the people arguing that I make too much money, or that they should make more money simply to even things out, didn’t go down the same paths I did. We aren’t a society that believes everything and everybody are equal (although we’re headed that way). However, I’m still a firm believer that the reason I make X salary and you make Y salary is because we’ve made a lot of choices along the way that have gotten us there. It may be about education, it may be about passion, it may be about drive, or it may be about luck or destiny (if you believe in those sorts of things). But it IS NOT about is fairness and equality.
Life isn’t fair. If I wanted to, I could whine about how I don’t make nearly enough to financially accomplish what others have. Or I could try and do something about it. The problem is it is a lot easier to try and drag others down than it is to pull yourself up. So without apology to all who want to claim how evil rich people are, I say this: get over yourself. Grow up. Do something constructive. Stop talking about doing something and instead, stand up and get about improving yourself. Maybe then you’ll realize that “rich” isn’t even about money – it is about mindset. Our attitude toward life and its inequalities probably does more to help/hurt us than we will ever know.
And if this article didn’t make you mad enough, you might want to check out this one I wrote a while back about rich vs. poor.