October 18th, 2011

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#456 – Dick Bernard: Who’s Rolling in Dough?

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Recently House of Representatives Whip Eric Cantor admitted that there is a problem with the disequity in wealth in this country. The brief commentary, here, is worth reading.

Probably a more honest assessment of who has, and who deserves, and how they get what, was this letter to the editor in yesterday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune. The letter could be a useful springboard for conversation; far more useful than playing the information game on Rep. Cantor’s court.

Here’s the letter:

“State Rep. Carly Melin, D-Hibbing, said the Occupy Wall Street crowd is bringing a voice back to working people and the middle class. But Wall Street already gave a voice to my father, a Coca-Cola truck driver out of the Eagan plant, and to millions of working people.

In the ’80s, he researched, then invested $10,000 in a junk stock and made a fortune, in his opinion. No broker — he trusted only his own counsel. He then researched and invested in other stocks, both risky and mainstream, and made more money. Over the years, he turned the $10,000 into $4 million. Boy, did he find his voice, nagging everyone he knew to invest in the stock market.

Everyone wants the dishonest bums on Wall Street out, and no one was happier than my father when they caught a crook on Wall Street or in Washington. Melin’s real interest is in vilifying Wall Street itself. You never hear her, or others like U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison or Barney Frank, speak of how many millions of Americans of modest means became middle-class or rich when they took a chance on Wall Street.

My dad said that the way to make money for your family is to get up and go to work five days a week or more, save, and invest in the stock market. No guarantee — but when it comes to ideas that work, I would take the advice of a working man or businessman over the theories of a politician.

MAUREEN HANSEN, SAVAGE”

One expects a high profile politician like Cantor to distort and manipulate by omission or commission. Voluntary sharing of wealth has never worked, ever. There might be an occasional glimmer of guilt: think of those ubiquitous Carnegie libraries which still dot towns and cities nationwide. But by and large, once you get addicted to acquiring of wealth, you are equally addicted to retaining control over it.

Maureen Hansen lays out a more ordinary scenario: her Dad figures out a way to make a fast buck in Wall Street Junk stocks, and did well.

She admits there is no guarantee of riches, but her Dad got very lucky in the casino-for-the-little-guys that is Wall Street. He basically hit the casino jackpot by gambling the American Way.

If it were only that simple.

There is a big untold back story to Ms Hansen’s fascinating letter.

One would guess her Dad is deceased. If not, he certainly will be.

If he’s lucky and his pile continues to grow, and she is an only child, will she inherit this wealth? And, if so, is this wealth she inherits wealth that she “earned”?

By accident of birthright, does she then deserve to be rich? And someone else poor?

There are endless questions in this business of wealth distribution. All that is absolutely certain is that there is a hideous imbalance in wealth in today’s United States and those have more’s have shown little or no inclination to share their bounty with those who can’t imagine such wealth, much less being able to invest in the stock market.

The “lucky duckies” who have nearly cornered the wealth in the United States have got a heckuva deal, and Eric Cantor and his ilk know it.

And they have no interest or inclination to share…. After all, they hope to participate in this largesse of the 1% themselves, someday.