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Circling the Tank

January 2, 2015

No, this post is not about toilets. It’s about Sharks. As in Shark Tank, the show where millionaires/billionaires get richer and richer.

Forget the opening blurb, each of these 1%ers have great personal stories that leak out during the show. Damon is dyslexic and can barely read… that’s inspirational. Several started out dirt poor.

While I fully believe I was meant to be a member of the idle rich and am not, I still chafe at people who whine about the 1%. There are super-rich people. Deal with it.  And Shark Tank lets me feel okay about that.  There, five ultra-wealthy individuals listen to people with great ideas (and many stinker ideas) and invest in those people. Show after show, these rich people give money to individuals with the hopes of making themselves a lot of money, but also getting a real charge out of making the people they invest in rich. What will those people do? Invest in other people.

Yet, 99% of American’s are poor.

No, they aren’t. Many are, but more than half are not poor, are doing okay and are happy about it. There are even people making very little who are happy about it.

The media and certain vocal people who want money without working for it think America is a horribly unfair place. That Gotrocks are keeping the Havenots down.

The Havenots don’t need help, though; they keep themselves down.

And while it’s entirely possible the Gotrocks don’t want the Havenots in their social circles, they will nonetheless invest in good ideas.

And to be fair, the American system is rigged for people with good ideas.

But wait! What about the dumb people?  Or the people convinced they should pursue their passion whether it makes money or not?  Well, some of the dumb people (like me) will be employed by those with good ideas. There’s not much hope for the second group, though, unless they “sell out” and “work for the man” OR pursue their passion on the side while they work for those with good ideas (as I am) until they die or get a good idea themselves and have the cajones to develop their idea.

We offer free school to everyone, K-12.  The Internet levels the playing field for those who can’t go to college. We have libraries funded by taxpayers. In America, we are LITERALLY (used correctly) surrounded by information. We simply have no excuse. None. Help is available to anyone willing to work for it.

I had an interesting conversation with a guy who was complaining that Mark Cuban was a billionaire while he struggled to make ends meet.  I asked him what he did Friday night after work. “Went to a party.”  Saturday-through-the-next-Friday. “Watched TV.” How much TV do you watch each week? After some advanced math, “about 35 hours; 40 if there’s a game on.” (To be fair, he was horrified when he figured that out.) How much TV do you think Mark Cuban watches? “What’s that got to do with anything?”

This fellow had two full-time jobs.  His day job and watching TV.

My final question was, How would your life change if you got paid just $15 an hour to watch TV?  “Dude! A lot!”

Good, throw out the TV and go get a second job. Or invent something (having just tiled my entry way and dining room, I have a great idea about a device that applies mud to the bottom of the tile for easy placement and tight control of mud used with less mess. I get such ideas all the time. The absolute truth is, if I really wanted to make a ton of money, I could develop one of these ideas into a product and seek funding. The equally honest truth is that I’m happy enough with what I make that such work isn’t appealing. So instead, I’ll write my stories and build a library and push that for my future ill-gotten gains).

The funny thing about the people who complain about the 1% is that they think they have better ways to spend the money than the actual owners, and almost always it improves the lot of the complainer.

As a wealthy friend told me, money doesn’t eliminate problems, it just gives you a whole new set of problems.

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