The future we are willing to pay for

An excellent article in this weekend’s Globe on tax and spend choices: We seem to have forgotten the simple fact that if we want government services (and we do), we need to pay for them.  (thanks Howie)

In my experience, some people inherit or win money, but most people who amass a significant amount of wealth (and keep it) are self-made in the sense that they started with little and worked hard with discipline over a long period of time.  Most also benefited from some good timing whether by luck or design.  It has always fascinated me what happens to one’s thinking after success.  Some people come from modest backgrounds and never forget what that was like.  Others achieve financial success and ‘go native’:  they forget what reality is like for the 99% who do not live a life of financial privilege.  They become anti-tax, anti-social programs, adopting the “why don’t people just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” sentiment. I have always admired those who are able to achieve much success and not fall into this mindset.

Jim Chanos, founder of Kynikos Associates Ltd., is one of these people. I agree with his assessments on China, but I also agree with his “we have to give to get” views on tax policy. This recent interview covers both.

Meanwhile “Occupy the street” has gone global.  The protestors may not yet have clearly articulated what changes they want to see, but their intuition that systemic changes are needed is correct.  Power to the people.  There are no free rides.  We will get the future we are all prepared to work and pay for.

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6 Responses to The future we are willing to pay for

  1. peter says:

    I disagree with the comment that “most people who amass a significant amount of wealth (and keep it) are self-made in the sense that they started with little and worked hard with discipline over a long period of time.” As Malcom Gladwell demonstrated in his book “Outliers”, most people who amass a significant amount of wealth (a million or more is a significant amount), were lucky. Yes! Some of them were probably hardworking (like many who will never acquire a significant amount of money) and some of those might have started with little. Probably a lot of them were pretty smart (but not necessarily incredibly so). In his book he describes that luck has a lot more to do with it. By luck, he refers to when you were born. For instance, Bill Gates was born so that when he reached high school, computers started to be developed. As luck would have it, Bill Gates was one of the lucky ones to have one in his PRIVATE high school to play with. I cannot do justice to a 300 pages’ book. There are many more examples given. READ the book. Here is a blog

    blog giving you a taste of what the whole book is about.

  2. Robert says:

    We hear this a lot, “if we want government services (and we do), we need to pay for them”. This is very tiresome and “progressives” constantly trot out this “straw man” to denigrate their opponents. It’s just like the old question, “Have you stopped beating your wife”? These so called Liberals really have no ideas and always result to smearing their opponents. The question should be, “What is the proper role of government”? Instead we have politicians buying votes running up massive unsustainable debt and then using these ignorant marxist “Occupy” drones to shift the blame.

  3. dazzo says:

    OWS (And Everyone Else): Pay Attention To Greece

    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=196046

  4. Yes, I’ve read all Gladwell’s books. Hence why I say timing, some of it lucky, has a roll to play in good fortune. But to suggest Gates and others do not also work hard at maintaining their success would be disingenuous. I talk about these same themes in my own book. The nub of it is this. The far left says rich people got lucky. The far right thinks they deserve everything they have and that others are lazy or less motivated. The truth of the matter lies often in the middle of these extremes.

  5. michael says:

    “Life in the twentieth century is like a parachute jump: you have to get it right the first time”. …..Margaret Mead

    “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”…… Margaret Mead

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