I’m getting more than just a little tired of rich people being blamed and castigated and treated in some quarters of our society almost as pariahs.

Rich people are the ones we need to raise taxes on, of course, because they have the money and can most afford to take the hit.

Rich people probably got rich because they cheated somebody.

Or they’re rich because they’re living on inherited wealth that they didn’t earn.

Rich people don’t care about poor people, but instead are selfish and greedy.

On and on it goes. And I, for one, have had it, so I’m sticking up for rich people. I’m doing so as a Christian, and I’m doing so as an American, and I’m doing so because I have an elementary grasp on economics.

First, as a Christian. Yes, I concur that the Bible does suggest that we must care about the poor among us! But saying “I love rich people” doesn’t have as its corollary, “I hate poor people.” As a Christ-follower, I’m called to love everyone, and there are sectors of Christianity that have specialized in making what seems to be a virtue out of being poor.

There is no particular virtue in being poor.

Neither is there one in being rich, by the way. There are rich people who are selfish, motivated by greed, unwilling to share their goods with others, unmindful of the needy, and so self-absorbed that it’s sickening.

And there are poor people who share every single one of those traits.

Because being selfish, greedy, snobbish, and uncaring is a matter of the heart, not a matter of the bank account. And people from every walk of life are that way, and others from every walk of life demonstrate the exact opposite of those qualities. But the trouble is that the rich are effectively discriminated against in certain ways, just as the poor are in others. And discrimination is wrong, in whatever form it takes, and no matter against whom it is directed. So…

I want to say that I love rich people. I don’t love rich people because I have any particular aspirations to be particularly rich myself. Though there aren’t many people who would mind having a little more scratch to mess around with, myself included, it’s just not terribly high on the old priority list to accumulate a bunch of stuff. Frankly, I’ve already got a lot of stuff, more than I deserve, and in some ways more than I know what to do with. So I’m plenty happy with my financial station in life, leaving aside current economic conditions and likely future economic pain we’ll all share as a result of the move toward socialism that the Obama administration seems to want to breathlessly pursue before our very eyes.

But here’s what I want to say: my life is better because of rich people. This computer I’m typing on? The people who invented it, and created the software to run it, are rich people. The Walton family, founders of Wally World where I spend a lot of my money, are rich people, and my life is better off because of those rich folks. The folks who own Toyota, and the contractor who built my house, and…well, just go down the line, and my life is far richer because of the impact that rich people have made on it.

Further, economically-speaking–and let this sink in, if you don’t get it at first–Bill Gates helps more poor people simply by being Bill Gates (even if Bill Gates never gave one thin dime to “charity”) than the Obama administration ever will. Think how many people have jobs because there’s a Bill Gates. Think how many people’s lives are vastly improved because there’s a Bill Gates. Think about how the economy is impacted immensely for the better because there’s a Bill Gates. I love Bill Gates, and if you have any sense whatsoever, you do too. I don’t envy him a nickel of his money, because he earned it, doggone it, and he earned it by inventing stuff that vastly improves our lives.

But to the liberals in Congress, the solution is to take more of Mr. Gates’ money than they currently do. That’s pure, economic stupidity. I want Bill Gates to keep more of his money to spend, because when he spends it, he puts people to work, and helps people’s lives become better. When the government confiscates his money, on the other hand, he has less to spend, and the government has more to poot away in silly, often counterproductive projects.

Further, the left in this country has managed to take one of the “seven deadly sins” and turn it into a virtue (well, IMHO, they’ve done that with more than one of them). Envy is now a good thing, in the eyes of many.

But it’s not. It’s a sin, pure and simple.

I couldn’t care less how much money rich people have. Couldn’t care less. The economy isn’t a zero-sum game, whereby if Bill Gates gets a bigger slice of the pizza, I have to eat the box. No, the economy expands when rich people are allowed to keep, and spend, their money. It helps us all, and beyond that, it’s just not my business how much money rich folks have. Income gap between the rich and the poor? Why should anyone care? It is not a “Christian” concern in the slightest to make sure that the money is “more evenly distributed”. Not in the least, and to say otherwise is to mistake Jesus for some screwball economist like Karl Marx or somebody. The most important thing is that justice, equal rights before the law, is upheld. It’s important that poverty not be in any way a hindrance to getting equal justice and opportunity, but it’s not a Christian thing to guarantee outcomes. As regards the poor, a key question ought to be, not “what’s the gap between the rich and the poor”, but are the actual living conditions of the poor improving. Generally speaking (and I’m not talking about this economic downturn), they are. And that’s what matters. And if Bill Gates can jet around the world and vacation on the moon, who cares? Why should anyone care?

Finally, let’s just have one more little modicum of honesty here: sometimes, the rich are rich because they work hard and make wise decisions. And sometimes, the poor are poor because they are lazy and make stupid ones. That’s not an uncompassionate thing to say (though it might be politically-incorrect); it’s the truth, and everybody knows it, no matter what Barney Frank might have you believe. Sure, as I said, some of the rich are snakes, but a high percentage are people we ought to lift up as examples, worthy of emulation in those respects.

There, I said it.

3 responses »

  1. Ian says:

    I remember hearing Neal Boortz say, “The rich get richer because they continue to do what made them rich and the poor get poorer because they continue to do what made them poor.”

    I don’t know that statistics, but I believe there are few “rich” people that got rich because of inherited wealth. I think most of them worked hard, saved, invested, etc. There are also those stories of people who grew up poor and then worked hard, saved, etc. and became rich.

    The reason people care about Bill gates jetting around the world is not because of the carbon footprint he leaves, it’s because it’s not “fair” that he can do that and we can’t. Gimme a break. Let the man jet around, he doesn’t deserve it, he earned it.

  2. Laurie says:

    Hear, hear! It’s plain old fashioned green eyed jealousy that makes most people hate the rich.

    Most of the people I personally know who are well-off worked hard, saved, invested, etc. And you’re right, they’ve made my life better just knowing them, listening and learning from them.

    Being rich isn’t a sin. Loving money more than God is.

  3. Byron says:

    Exactly. Being rich isn’t sinful, and it oughtn’t be punished. I’m tired of hearing all the talk about how the “rich” need to contribute their “fair share”. What does that nonsense mean? Who determines “fair”? The Old Testament system was basically a “flat tax”, which if implemented would greatly REDUCE the tax burden currently borne by the rich; some on the left, though, would just keep on heaping the burden up on them. Lower taxes on everybody who pays taxes; move to a “Fair Tax” on consumption rather than income, and we fuel the economy in a major, massive way.

    Too smart and reasonable an idea, though, for the boneheads in D.C. to catch on…

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