proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Journal Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list Click to add this author to your Ignore list Thu Jul-16-09 08:02 PM
How the other half lives; taxing the rich to pay for health care
I am not rich but I grew up with rich folks. The suburb I grew up in borders the neighborhood where most of the really rich people in my city lived back when I was a kid. So I went to school and to church with a bunch of rich kids. Also Girl Scouts, etc. So while I wasn't rich, I did grow up with a lot of experience in seeing how the wealthy live and how they got wealthy and stay wealthy. One of the families I grew up with hosted a GOP fundraiser featuring Michael Steele last week. Another hosted Bush in 2006 at a $25,000 a ticket fundraiser.
While I was growing up, I learned a few things I have been thinking about since this plan to tax the wealthy to pay for health care came about.
1. Rich people are stingy. You know that expression 'He still has the first dime he ever earned'? That's very true. They hang on to their money and are very cautious about how they spend it.
I used to spend the night at one of my friend's houses and we would sit and cut out coupons and paste green stamps in books for her mom so we could earn a trip to the pool the next day. They lived in a house that would easily cost a couple million dollars today but that woman never went shopping without coupons.
2. They made their kids work hard for the things they wanted
. I had very few friends in high school whose parents automatically bought them cars when they turned 16. They made their kids work for those cars. Babysitting, yard work, etc. Not part time jobs, but work at home or in the neighborhood.
3. They talked about growing their money.
A lot. First time I heard Bush say "Grow the economy" I knew he was upper crust wealthy. It's one of those terms my mom used to call 'country club talk'. When I was about 10, I went to one of my friend's birthday parties and her grandparents had sent her $50, which was a lot back in those days. Her dad said "Honey you need to open up a bank account and grow that money".
4. They grow their money and don't pay for anything on credit
. My mom and dad used to say that being really rich meant you paid cash for your houses and cars. I didn't know many kids whose parents had credit cards. Some did but the really wealthy ones didn't. Paying interest cost money. So they grew their money and paid cash.
5. The rich kids I grew up with didn't have health insurance. I doubt this is true today, but it really was back then. Of course, when I was a kid, health insurance was for catastrophic care, not for routine care. It wasn't until about 25-30 years ago when health costs spiked up that health insurance paid for routine care. But the really wealthy families I knew did not have health insurance. One of my friends married into a very wealthy family and when she got pregnant with her first child, her in-laws started a bank account that they put money in every month until the baby was born. They paid the hospital bill in cash and with the rest of that account, they started a college fund for the baby.
6. A lot of the wealthy families I knew were very generous charitable donors
but some were not. And if they did donate to a charity, they wanted a tax deduction. When we sold Girl Scout cookies door to door, most of the customers wanted a receipt so they could take a tax deduction. I know, that's not really legal (if you get a product, you aren't really making a contribution) but my Girl Scout troop gave us receipt books so we could write them out for people who bought our cookies.
7. A lot of the families I knew had traveled all over the country and the world, but were afraid to leave their neighborhood here. When I got my first teaching job in the urban core, my friends were shocked. "Why do you want to work there?" "Aren't you afraid to drive into that part of town?" "Couldn't you get a job anywhere else?" It was amazing. I realized that not only had they rarely left their own little safe area, they didn't even know where my school was and it was only a few miles away from their upper crust community. Then I remembered moms who had been unwilling to drive us to other schools for games when we were in high school and dads who insisted we go to the movie theater close to our neighborhood and not the one downtown.
So anyway, asking someone who makes a million dollars a year to pay 5% more in taxes isn't going to break them.
But they are going to bitch and moan about it. They really do believe that anyone can make a lot of money if they grow what they have and that poor people are poor because they don't handle money well.