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.