No, We’re Not Jealous Of The Rich

One of the recurring statements you often hear from various conservatives, particularly wealthy ones, is that “the poor” – and liberals in general – “hate rich people,” because we’re “jealous.”  Which, as many other commentators will point out, is not the truth.  The reasons people are irritated with them are due to something else entirely.  I was given a perfect example in this news story:

”If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain,” she said in a magazine piece. “Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.”

Wow.  Impressive words coming out of one of the world’s wealthiest woman.  Yup, she … inherited her wealth.  But she thinks that’s “work.”  Now the news is about Mitt Romney’s statements along the same line.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

As David Corn, the author of the Mother Jones article states,

With this crowd of fellow millionaires, he apparently felt free to utter what he really believes and would never dare say out in the open. He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don’t contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative.

The reaction has been swift – and negative.  Even veteran political commentators admitted having a personal reaction to the statements:

I was surprised at my own reaction as I first read those words. I found myself taking personal offense.

Others pointed out the fallacy that Mitt Romney is perpetuating, along with pointing out just who the “47%” are:  The elderly, students, military personnel, and the working poor.    I’ve written about the massive “blind spot” that the wealthy have before, and Mitt apparently has that in spades.

Many years ago, I had a subordinate who was one of my “problem children.”   If there was a way to slack off, he found it, complained constantly, and created problems for the others.  He also made it clear that he was only doing this because his father wanted him to, and he let everyone know that his family was wealthy.   All of which didn’t make him terribly popular with his fellow subordinates.  One day he came to me, and said that “the other guys don’t like me, because I’m half (ethnic group).”   My reply was not what he expected.  “Oh.  I didn’t realize that.  I thought the reason they don’t like you was because you’re an asshole.”  Which is why so many people are irritated with many of the wealthy.  It’s not because they’re rich, or because we’re “jealous” of their success. It’s because they’re assholes.

If (as seems increasingly probable) Mitt Romney loses this election, it won’t be because he wasn’t “sufficiently conservative,” or that he didn’t lay out a coherent plan for the country.  It won’t even be due to his … gaffes … on a range of issues, or his ineptness in putting together a campaign.  Yes, those will be a part of it, but you know what will matter more?  It’s that he’s demonstrated what an asshole he is, and the voters decided they didn’t want one as President.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “No, We’re Not Jealous Of The Rich

  1. Norbrook, here’s the thing: The majority of these rich folks not only inheirited their $$, they live off of the interest of said $$, so they wouldn’t know work if it lept up off the table and bit them in the ass. Not to say all of them don’t know what it is to work: Bill Gates and others have a freakin’ clue, and I know plenty of those that are well off that are the same.

    Perhaps if some of these millionaires would just shut up once in a while, maybe we would not think of them as a bunch of fucking assholes.

    • Most people admire the people who “made it.” That is, the ones like a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffett. But they also don’t make believe that it’s only because they’re inherently superior to everyone else that they’re wealthy. Sure they worked hard, sure they had smarts, but they’ll also admit that they were in the right place at the right time – in other words, a bit of luck factored in there.

      There’s nothing more irritating to people than to be told that the only reason they’re “poor” is because they’re not willing to work, take risks, or just stupid. Particularly when the one telling them that was born wealthy.

  2. majiir

    I think many rank and file republicans miss the point when they claim that we are “jealous of the rich.” We’re not, but we are angry that they’ve gamed the system and structured our tax system in such a way that always favors them. I oftentimes think of the French Revolution. It’s a history lesson that the super rich like Romney should study. There comes a point sometimes where the majority revolts, sometimes in a violent manner, against the small group in a nation that holds a majority of the nation’s wealth.

  3. Vic78

    You know, Joe Kennedy’s sons didn’t seem to have this problem. W. Bush’s wealth wasn’t an issue either. They didn’t suffer from Mitt’s ailment. All reports say that the people named left positive impressions with those that met them.

    Romney doesn’t seem to understand that he’s a fish in the shark tank now. That 47% that weren’t going to vote for him know what you know about him. I’m amazed that a total scrub will go against Obama and believe winning was possible.

    He even thinks things would be different if he were Mexican. Not being an asshole would be a step in the right direction. Only an asshole had a chance of being nominated this year. A non asshole(decent person) would’ve walked out on that shit. Like a Michigan governor did a long time ago.

    I would rather eat out of a trash can than take part in the nonsense I’m seeing today. Jealous of Bill O’Reilly and Allen West? Jealous of the clowns on Wall St? I prefer the company of non assholes like myself.

  4. see above

    I always wondered about the “you’re just jealous” or the implecations that somehow if you weren’t rich something was wrong with you. I’ve often said if hard work=rich then farmers, iron workers, brick layers, etc. would all be millionaires and people who worked in offices that didn’t “make” anything tangible would be poor. After reading the new Chris Hayes book and his telling of going to Davos I understand. There they are, all the movers and shackers rich beyond belief envious of each other. Many don’t understand people who do what they love because they love it not because of what they earn. Many do not understnad that what most people want is enough to live decently, raise their children if they have them, and not have to eat cat food in their later years. I do believe the R’s have finally underestimated the American people. They say they won’t change things for anyone 55 or older but only the people behind you forgetting that means we have to throw our children and grandchildren under the bus. I say we better preserve what’s left of the new deal because future generations are going to need it if the past is any indication of the future. We have to finish what was started in the 60′s and 70′s if this country is to survive.

  5. This is so nonsensical because there are many, many liberals who are very wealthy. And there are many wealthy people who are very generous. The odd thing is people who are doing well, but not extremely wealthy, taking such offense and accusing others of “being jealous” and wanting to TAKE from them and wanting to punish success. It’s so strange! Then again, “S/he’s just jealous” has become a defensive chant when people don’t want to take a look at what they might — just might — be doing incorrectly or wrong.

  6. Great post. I just love that pesky word…. “jealous”

  7. I think once they get wealthy they have a self-serving belief that they did earn all of what they have, and do not understand how much the system is structured in their favor. I recall the woman on the plane this May who, in all seriousness, said “How can anyone call $300,000 a year rich?” In her mind (and apparently Mitt’s) that’s middle class. You still struggle to pay all the taxes and fees, and can’t afford the stuff the really wealthy get. They compare themselves across and above, and have a hazy view of those who earn less. I’m not saying they’re not assholes, but it’s an ass-holeliness built as much out of ignorance.