Wealth redistribution: yes, it just might cure wealthy Americans’ anxiety.
I released my first book in September 2012. Thinking about my life since, here’s a conversation I’ve never had, but I wish I had:
I meet a couple, say we’re at a house party. The two are, say, teachers—whatever the profession, not a higher income bracket type of job. One got laid off. They have kids. Times are stressful. They learn that I have written a book or two. Both immediately grow resentful. One of them whimpers at me, saying, “Must be nice…having all that time on your hands. I can’t do something like that…” <sniffle, sniffle>
Then they both sniffle. Sullen, the other says to me, “Must be nice…not having the responsibilities that I have.” <sniffle>
You know why I wish I had at least one conversation with a stressed-out, one-teacher-income-level couple that went something like that? Because I’ve had too many similar conversations with couples who make much more money than a couple like this ever will.
Before self-publishing, I never once imagined that I would receive the type of pathetic static that I’ve gotten from white-collar folks.
A lot of talk about wealth redistribution these days. If you’re needing reasons for the chatter, hmmm…let’s see…people hurting, an Earth burning, kids not learning, kids dying, brown people dying, roads crumbling…I could go on stating the obvious, but I have a blog post to finish.
Wealth redistribution needs to happen. Wealth redistribution will benefit most Americans. Including…drum roll please…the country’s upper-income, who are mostly white. (I mention skin color here because the Great Recession widened America’s racial wealth gap. Call me crazy, I think it was intentional.)
I don’t mean to get all kum-ba-ya here, but on a spiritual level, rich white folks might gain more rewards than any other group if they paid their fair share in taxes.
Might wealth redistribution be the best thing that could happen to wealthy Americans’ psyches in these modern times?
If the top 10% of earners didn’t directly cause the Great Recession, they engineered a recovery that disproportionately benefits them at the expense of the masses.
People who got more hurt during those years than they did? The investor and corporate class decided to profiteer off of those folks as the country righted itself. (Pun intended.)
Yes: the upper 10% does not deserve 100% of the blame for the Great Recession. To say so would be unfair. But also yes: the top income earners deserve 100% of the blame for a lackluster recovery and America’s current sad state.
Rich white people: those guilty looks on your faces don’t look very comfortable.
The 800-pound gorilla in America’s room is that trickle-down economics does not enrich the lives of all.
Not only does trickle-down economics fail to sustain the whole population, it also turns its few financial beneficiaries into irrational, insecure, whiny, helpless, rueful, paranoid, hateful souls. The top 10% of earners know what they set up. The top 10% comprehend how much they gained during the recession at the expense of others. They just don’t like the bottom 90% talking about it. These souls look like they might hire Erik Prince or some other ammosexual to shoot the 800-pound trickle-down gorilla in the room if the masses don’t stop talking about it.
If you want do learn how unhappy and depressed America’s wealthier whitefolk have become, do something just because you believe in it. Do something like write a book, just because you believe in it. To use books to continue the example, after you finish writing, revise and revise and revise and then have a few understanding friends read it—then revise again and have this draft edited by an outside editor—then revise it another time and have it edited again. After taking a deep breath, utilize our society’s self-publishing opportunities to release the book. Then, just because you believe in it, talk to people you meet about your book. Figure out a nice sales pitch for your story, then go forth into the world. (Don’t forget to put on deodorant before going forth, though.)
If your experience matches mine, you’ll find that readers tend to be cool folks. In my case, I wrote a book that brought lots of darkness along with its lightheartedness. So I knew that some folks wouldn’t think that Fearkiller (Volume 1) was their cup of tea. Talking about the book with book readers, though, the props I received felt so appreciated. Even those who do not read dark comedies, it’s been a pleasure to talk with these people. People who read books like to converse about a wide range of topics. I like that they appreciate my efforts.
And thankfully, I got to find some folks who jived with the story after reading it and those feelings energized me as well. Along with their good vibes…moneymoneymoney. (Small amounts of money still qualify as money.)
Along with readers, I met many nice folks who don’t read books—especially fiction—on a regular basis. The act of reading itself isn’t their cup of tea. Hey, it’s cool. They’d rather spend their free time doing other things. The majority of non-readers respond to my writing with polite smiles and “oh that’s cools”, but since reading ain’t their thing, the conversation doesn’t progress very far.
Even the red-hatted, flag-fucking coal-rollers. Guess what? These gents don’t sound impressed if they happen to hear that I write fiction. But I never expected many props from those fellas, or the ladies who make their sammiches, in the first place.
I value these non-readers due to other types of non-readers I’ve met. And I said “non-readers” and this key feature needs to be kept in mind.
The people who get bent-out-of-shape and huffy over a book that they possess zero intention of reading in the first place…and the ones who instantly become spiteful because their lives are too important and busy to write a book…wealth redistribution might be the thing you all need to save you from yourselves and overdosing on self-victimization. You are the safest people in America. Your retirements will be secure after the GOP crashes Social Security and Medicare. Whatever types of disasters the country faces, you will be protected from them. You receive the benefit of the doubt more than any other group. The legal system has always favored money and, as the legal system goes increasingly for-profit, your money will buy you lots of justice.
The top 10% of income earners’ negativity about my piddly-lil’ bookwritin’ adventure has been like this live history lesson about how fascist societies start. And again: I wish more poorer people kvetched the way that richer people kvetch.
While most who seem like budding bookburners lean conservative, unfortunately many lean liberal as well. When it comes to ideology, rich people converse with other rich people before they work with their respective political groups. Money’s agenda is to make itself money. Other issues take second. Whether it’s at the country club or over some juicy and expensive steaks, conservative and liberal rich people share political views and discuss their mutual financial interests. In rooms where poorer members of their respective political parties aren’t welcome, the benefactors of both parties set the agenda.
America’s worst citizens are not its poor folks. America’s worst citizens keep poor folks poor because they love compounded interest and pretending that passive income generation qualifies as real work, work that the rest of planet Earth desperately needs them to do. Sadly, many Democrats in that crowd.
America’s Right wing is not as financially-destitute as Fox News wants you to believe. Contrary to their narrative, lower-income white people did not elect Donald. The median income of the Trump voter was $72,000/year, which is $16,000 higher than the average median income.
MAGA Trumpsters are not disenfranchised, they disenfranchise. Donald promised them more. They happily voted “yes”. These voters live in fear of billionaires but would never vote to inhibit billionaires’ ability to take advantage of the system. They know that the proper path is not striking back at billionaires, but re-channeling one’s impotent rage at non-whites instead.
These financially-well-off-but-increasingly-fascist folks have solid allies on the Left. These partners in crime think with their wallets and stock portfolios.
The left-leaning ones like the idea of equality, talking about it, meeting people who have been victimized by inequality, etc. However, there’s an issue. They ran the numbers and the numbers show that being human isn’t a good investment like, say, an App that uses open-source code and the worldwide company only has fifty employees total and everything is outsourced so no benefits to worry about.
Readers are easy to spot. Non-readers can be readily identified as well.
Unless a non-reader is a budding fascist, they don’t want to hear my sales pitch. Which suits me fine. I don’t want to waste our collective time or feel like I’m pandering, so these non-readers and I find other subjects to talk about. A quick generality about book writing is the most they want and the most I want to give.
You know who has no intention of reading anything I’ve written, yet desperately wants to hear my most impassioned sales pitch or some in-depth rationalization/justification from me? Upper-income Americans and the broke-ass dupes who are convinced that they are one decision away from becoming an upper-income American.
They want me to go into performance-art-mode, pour every ounce of my energy into some over-the-top, ultra-energetic sales pitch…when they have no intention of buying the product in the first place. Or they demand to know the plot of my stories.
Denying these folks the opportunity to bark lazy questions at me in their loudest “speak to the manager” voices shouldn’t cause them to get pissy. When you do not pitch to them because it’s obvious that they don’t read, or divulge plot details because they should read instead, these people get perturbed. Boy oh boy. Like…huffily perturbed. Treating them like people who hate books instead of people who enjoy books makes them foot-stompin’ huffy. While they piss on books and make fun of people who read books, they want people like me to treat them like they are the most ardent book lover.
Late-stage capitalism. Cool term. Google it.
Books are nice things, meant to chill people out and allow them some escape while hopefully teaching them a thing or two. Mentions of books shouldn’t inspire looks of paranoia to appear on peoples’ faces.
I want America’s non-reading higher-income citizens to understand that I get capitalism: the customer is always right. And you folks aren’t my customers. Yeah, you got money. Goody. But you don’t buy books with that money, so why should you matter to me? You folks almost sound like your worst irrational fears of the dastardly socialist: a person who wants “free stuff”.
Beyond being way too interested in books they don’t want to read, these folks also seem to think that, as a writer, one of my jobs is to hear their tales of self-pity and lack of fulfillment. My writing triggers plenty of my own existential crises, thankyouverymuch.
Higher-net-worth folks tell me that they hate their money, that bookwriting sounds better than money. Fine, I say. Give a chunk of this dreaded wealth back in the form of taxes so we can pay teachers, fix our roads, reduce college tuition costs, offer both the masses and our military veterans better health care—the country can find plenty to do with that money that seems to be the albatross around your neck.
Why do I support wealth redistribution? Because it will benefit pretty much every one of us—including those who currently benefit monetarily from this current income inequality. Those who most feel empowered to run the lives of the masses, deep down they feel like they have no business making decisions for the masses. (Another 800-pound gorilla just showed up in the room. Feed that cute feller a banana.) They think that they are incompetent. The people profiteering the most also can’t handle the responsibilities that a late-stage capitalistic system affords them. Writing books and then talking with them taught me this fact. Not because I wanted to know it, but because they wanted to tell me.
Newsflash, Gordon Gekko-bros and Corporate Raider-Alpha-Babes Who Sound Like Parodies of Gordon Gekko-Bros: the masses think you’re incompetent, too.
You, deep down, believe that you don’t deserve all that dough. The masses agree.
Check out my newest book, Revolutionizer Alpha.
The Revolutionizer Stories. We are not alone.