Give the rich a break - The Daily Reckoning
The Daily Reckoning by Bill Bonner
On This Day - 11 June 2013
Give the rich a break A  A  A

Paris, France

Say a little prayer for the rich.

Last week, we attended a conference for the 1%.

"Everybody thinks the rich have such easy lives," said a psychologist/family therapist. "But you wouldn't want the lives that a lot of these people have. They are often so cut off from meaning in their lives...from the warmth of normal relationships...and from the psychological rewards of just having to earn a living...that they feel they have nothing to live for.

"You know that the suicide rate has risen sharply in the US. More people die from suicide than from traffic accidents. As far as murder is concerned, you're much more likely to murder yourself than to murder someone else.

"But as bad as suicide is for everyone else, it is much worse for the rich. In Aspen, Colorado, which is by some measures the richest community in America, the suicide rate is 5 times higher than the national rate.

"And I can tell you, too, that rates of drug addiction, alcoholism and depression are also much higher in the families of the 1% than in other families."

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How do you like that, dear reader? We spend so much time and energy trying to get rich so we can move to Aspen or Palm Beach. And then, we get there our lives are so miserable, we'd rather be dead.

What to make of it? Maybe money can't buy happiness, after all. Or maybe when you get rich bad things start to happen to you.

For one thing, the poor rich bastards are widely resented...mistrusted...and reviled. The Democrats want to tax the rich more heavily - even though the top 1% of the population already pays 40% of the taxes - far more than its fair share.

They flee to tax havens. But the taxmen keep after them. Rich Americans are hunted down even if they haven't set foot in the United States of America. And rich people in practically every country are pursued by the tax collectors. In the Soviet Union the Kulaks were tortured until they revealed their secret stash of food. Now, rich people everywhere are tortured by tax agents, audits, controls, shakedowns and seizures. No matter where they go, the tax men on their heels, trying to find their caches of money...

And tax hounds are not the only ones who prey upon the rich. Lawyers. Accountants. Architects. Decorators. Travel organizers. Therapists. Wealth planners. Tax advisors. Tailors. Dressmakers. Artists. Charities. Politicians. Psychiatrists. All of them look to the rich to fund their businesses, their projects, and their lifestyles.

Without the rich the luxury goods and services would disappear from the market. Who would buy their flashy houses...their racy autos...their silly outfits...their awful paintings? Who would support do-good projects and pay for political campaigns?

The Trump Towers would be abandoned...the Ferraris would disappear...the mink coats, Patek Philippe watches and Zegna suits - all gone! It would be a much grayer world without the gaudy colors of the rich.

Whole industries are devoted to separating rich people from their money. The rich are flattered, deceived, befriended, invited to parties, led on, sued, gauged...sometimes even married...just because they have money.

And even their wealth itself - or the reputations of those who hold it - is smeared, besmirched and sullied. Popular authors tell the masses that "behind every fortune is a crime." Movies show rich people as shallow, stupid, vain, and ruthless. Almost every villain is among the 1%. Every hero is poor or working class.

One of the worst things about being rich, says our friend Nassim Taleb, is that you have to hang around with other rich people. But is it any wonder that so many rich people turn into nasty, petulant, spoiled and insensitive people? What's amazing is how many do not. The people we met last week were all very nice. Despite being hunted and chased they maintained their dignity and kept their pleasant demeanors.

In our experience, these One Percenters are no worse than the 99%...and usually a bit better. Their conversation is livelier. They have done more things. They have been to more places. They have suffered more - not less - than the hoi polloi.

So give the rich a break. Say a prayer for them. And be glad you're not among them.

Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.

The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

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1 Responses to "Give the rich a break"


Jun 11, 2013

I pity the "poor rich bastards " a described by you. Let them distribute their riches among the poor and be free and happy like ordinary people if they are suffering so severely from their riches

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