Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake.. Just Not MY Cake!

I got suckered into a fascinating exchange today on Facebook when one of my friends posted the following status: "who informed this moron President that $250K a year is wealthy... idiot."

Normally, I try to stay away from such nonsense, but since I know this friend personally--or at least I used to--I just had to respond.

My contention with that particular statement was that the poster lacked some perspective. Thus, I posted the following: "$250k is more than 6 times the average U.S. income.. you try to tell someone making less than $40k a year that people earning $250k aren't rich.. and they would probably call you a moron or idiot.."

I see this all the time in sports. People making uninformed statements which show an utter lack of perspective. Not sure why so many of us feel as if we know more about a particular subject than those who get paid to know about that particular subject.

Compared to the average fan, I have a more informed knowledge of the teams and sports I cover because I get paid to. I talk to the players, coaches and executives to obtain the information I need to give the viewers an accurate depiction of what they have seen or are about to see.

However, I would never suggest I know more about basketball than Phil Jackson, more about football than Pete Carroll or more about baseball than Joe Torre. It's their job to know more than me. And they get paid handsomely for it.

So with that same mindset, how can someone who's never worked in economics or even studied the subject think they know more about it than someone who has? I know, I don't get it either, but check out some of these responses.

"Is income the new form of prejudice in our country? Punish success? That's great! I will tell my children to dream BIG but please don't dream bigger than $250 or your government will vilify you! What happens when everyone stops at $250? Who will pay the way then?"

"It's like people are being punished for working hard and being successful!! and who the heck is Obama to just pick a number and decide that it's rich or poor?? I don't know if I can take 4 years of this idiot ruining our country. And don't even get me started on universal health care.....God help us."

I have always felt people are entitled to their opinion, I just like for those opinions to be informed opinions. Your opinions are only as strong as your arguments. If you don't have any facts to support your arguments, your opinions will be fairly hollow.

I am not trying to say I am any expert on economics--far from it actually. However, I have done my share of research. Couple that acquired knowledge with my own personal experiences with money and you get the following response:

"..their has always been a price to pay for success.. in our economy, there is only so much money.. so in order for you to make more.. someone else has to make less.. just like eating a cake.. if you are eating more of that cake than other people.. shouldn't you be expected to pay for more of the ingredients for the making of the next cake? I, for one, like cake.. and I don't mind paying more for a bigger piece!"

I realize this argument could go on forever with neither side relenting, but I think this entire situation was summed up best by the following Facebook post:

"Basically its safe to say that Americans, and i use that loosely, want their cake and eat it too. They want all of the benefits of highly taxed countries ( like the ones in the EU) for things like socialized health care, paid education, etc, without having to actually pay for it. If someone could figure out how to do that, they'd be a VERRRRRRY smart person."

And a very rich one, at that!

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