by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
May 9, 2007
IT'S A GOOD BUCK TO PASS
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Money is not evil; the words profit, business and free enterprise are not dirty words; and in proportion, there are just as many greedy poor folks as there are greedy rich folks.
Yes, I know. Enron executives and Martha Stewart left a bad taste in your mouth like yesterday's garlic-onion bread. But being a millionaire is not a sin against humanity. It's whose pocket the money came out of, how it was extracted, and how it is used that make of some people benevolent gods, and others the devil's henchmen.
There are, after all, only two categories of millionaires: Individuals who have earned, inherited or stolen money, and individuals in government whose wealth got them elected or they went into office poor and came out rich.
It is the last two, and the staff it takes to make them richer, that all of us had better start trying to control. We once outnumbered government employees about 99-to-1. Now there are almost as many of "them" as there are of "us" (Actually, with 3 million Federal employees, the ratio has remained about the same for a couple of decades, but legislation may have made the same number of people more powerful than ever.)
I'm not a Republican, but I get a little tired of hearing the whining song of Democrats that Republicanism is about rich folks and Democratism is all about poor folks. In an election year, that silly song is sung by rich, fat Democratic politicians who have never eaten a loaf of day-old bread in their lives and who can snap their fingers and raise $35 million for campaign money.
During his bid for the presidency, Democrat John Kerry wrung tears from rocks by borrowing money on "his house" to finance his political campaign. The truth behind that sympathy-getting strategy was that the man is a millionaire married to another billionaire and "his house" wasn't a shack by the side of the road. It was a very expensive piece of income-producing property.
The Republicans-are-all-fat-rich-cats and large-corporations-are-evil song is also bleated out by individuals who don't have a clue how governments or businesses work.
Such individuals need to trace the life of the almighty buck ... the paper one that buys things, not the one that gets passed around in D.C.
A dollar, being an inanimate object, cannot of itself be evil. Dollars make the world work on a daily practical level and, unless they are sick in the head, rich folks don't live in shacks and sit on great piles of paper dollars or gold bricks. Rich folks buy, sell and trade.
They build great businesses, employ willing people, build skyscrapers to the sky, finance inventions, and invest in towns and cities. They contribute to charities, to colleges, fund good causes and without them the Mercedes-makers would be out of business and their employees would be out of a job.
Governments, on the other hand, are parasites. They suck our blood in order to ensure their continuing existence. They extract money from our pockets by force. They are our employees, yet they grow bigger and fatter and richer by telling us how to live.
The primary function of local, state and federal government is to protect you, your property and your rights. When government slithers out of its primary function and starts competing with the very businesses and individuals who make it possible for government to exist, you have socialism.
Today's American government not only competes on almost all levels with free, private enterprise, it impedes and strangles both small and large businesses with its warehouses full of asinine rules and regulations that are imposed on both businesses and individuals. Most of the rules and regulations do not apply to the gods on The Hill.
In contrast, the function of all small and large businesses is to make a profit so they can stay in business. They provide goods or services to the general public. The business owners and the employees could not exist without each other and a third party, the consumer. It's called capitalism and it is the only system that produces great goods and services that cannot be duplicated by socialistic or communistic forms of government. One other insight lacking in the average, non-millionaire American is that money is never "spent." It is just re-cycled.
When we put the first man on the Moon, some folks sighed and said, "If God wanted man to fly he would have given him wings. Look at all that money we wasted."
As though the astronauts left the Earth with the money it took to build the spacecraft. As though the builders of the craft didn't get paid. As though the builders didn't take their money and pay employees who went to the supermarket and paid the market manager for milk, bread and diapers. The market manager paid the cashier who went home and paid her rent to a landlord who paid a prom-bound teenager to mow her lawn.
The kid paid personal taxes on his earnings, which went back into government coffers to pay builders of spacecraft capable of sending tax-paying astronauts to the Moon. Thanks, kid!
No. Money is not an evil, dirty word. And a few greedy executives and putrid politicians do not make of America's still great, struggling capitalistic system a rotten barrel. That once glorious system is our only tattered insurance policy against that day when all the millionaires will be residing in the state capitals, or in Washington, D.C.
The rest of us will be hoping they'll throw us their half-eaten steak bones to put in our watery, rotten-potato soup. Like Woody Guthrie said, some of it will be "so thin even some o' them thar politicians can see through it."
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is a former columnist for the Orlando Sentinel now living in Cartersville, Ga., where she writes poetry. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.