November 14, 2011

So, you want to defeat the superrich?

It's really not that difficult. The first task is identifying them. Fortunately, that's not too difficult either. Thanks to the wonders of modern communications, they are quite public about their activities, ambitions, and identities.

Let's start with your grocery list. Where do you buy groceries? Don't jump up and down and proclaim loyalty to Occupy Wall Street if you depend on any sort of chain store for your weekly food and toiletries. Safeway, Buehler's, Walmart, Piggy Wiggly, all of them are in the hands of the superrich. Every dime you spend in a modern grocery chain sends about a tenth of a cent into the bank account of one superrich person or another. Unfortunately, the alternative is to wash your clothing and house with lemon juice made from a lemon tree in your front yard, drive out into the country and buy your vegetables direct from local farmers, shake hands with every dairy owner in a hundred miles until you find one that will sell directly to you. It can be done, even if you live in a big city, but you're going to have to sacrifice your weekend barbeques, Monday Night Football, and your kid's Friday night ballgame because you'll be out scouring the countryside for groceries. Unless you grow your own, naturally. Even if all you have is an empty window sill then with a little work you can grown tomatoes, herbs, and even strawberries. Too much work? Really? Then why are you protesting against all the conveniences those greedy, ambitious superrich earned their wealth providing for you?

Okay, well, maybe you don't eat much. Maybe the thirty or forty dollars per year you contribute to the superrich through the grocery chains doesn't matter that much. I can see that. are you reading this blog? Who makes your computer? Honestly though, it doesn't matter what brand is on the case. I can guarantee you that 80% of the components, if not all of them, were manufactured in a factory in one of three countries: China, Indonesia, Taiwan. Okay, there's a few from South Korea or Japan, but even most of those companies now have their factories in one of the big three. And naturally the corporations who operate those factories are either headed up by or owned by members among the superrich. Warren Buffet, for example, owns stock in dozens of electronics manufacturers. The head of GE, naturally, is Jeffery Immelt, our wonderful "Jobs Czar" who specializes in sending American jobs to China. But don't worry about that, Warren only made a few cents off your computer, and Jeffery a few cents more, the estate of Steve Jobs took a few cents, naturally, and Bill Gates owns stock in both Microsoft and Macintosh, so he gets paid no matter what you buy.

Well, naturally you have to have a computer to function in today's world. I understand that. And really, it's only another thirty or forty dollars per year, right? Of course, that's on top of your grocery bill...

The banks! That's it! Nobody really needs a bank, right? You can withdraw all your money, cancel your credit cards, sell your house and get out from under that mortgage. You're underwater now anyway, right? Nobody stands to profit from your house but the bank, so just walk away from it. Can't squeeze blood from turnip, as they say. File bankruptcy, clear the books, start over again. This time keep your money in a cookie jar and never, ever take out a loan. I'm sure you can manage. Well, granted, wages are depressed right now and you probably work for minimum wage (less if you wait on tables or tend bar), so it'll be hard, but it's the principle, right? Gotta stick it to those superrich right where it counts, in the pocket book!

Or maybe not. Maybe that couple hundred dollars a year you pay in bank fees is just one of those things. After all, Robin Osmond and Ken Robins don't make more than a few pennies off of you personally, right? So maybe it's okay if you keep your bank account and credit cards.

Are you feeling disgusted yet? Do you feel like a slave? That's what the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Libertarian Party call you. Isn't that what Alex Jones keeps saying? Heck, even I say it sometimes! You're nothing more than a slave. "Sheeple", right? Just trying to get by and being victimized by every superrich with a mutual fund. Since you can't sacrifice your lifestyle to fight them, joining a camp in a big city near you is as good a way as any, right? You're not a "sheeple" if you join one of the Occupy groups, right? Now you're a revolutionary!

Or maybe not.

Forbes: The World's Billionaires
Forbes: 400 Richest Americans

Take a good long look at these two lists. These are them. These are the people you claim you want to destroy and right below each name you can find their corporate affiliations. Well, here's the downside. If you destroy them, you destroy your modern lifestyle. Are they too rich? Have they earned too much money? I dunno. Maybe. I spend a ton of money every year. I spend it in local stores buying local goods. I avoid chain stores, chain restaurants, and anything made in China (whenever possible, which gets harder everyday). The richest of the rich still bleed a few dollars off of me every single year. But that's okay with me. I really don't mind. The reason is simple: someday I'd like to be one!

There's been a lot of changes during my life. Some of those changes scare me half to death. The superrich don't scare me at all! Heck, I've even had lunch with a couple of them. The Patriot Act, on the other hand, is the single most frightening piece of legislation passed in my lifetime. It opens the door for arbitrary arrests of anyone and everyone. The only thing any government official needs is to label that person a terrorist. They don't even have to prove it, applying the label is enough. So when the media labels the Tea Party "terrorists" and then labels rapists, thieves, and vandals of the Occupy Wall Street movement, "patriots", I get doubly worried. And all you folks down there "occupying" major cities need to worry, as well. Because politics in America changes with the wind. Maybe this year I'm being a labeled a terrorist. Next year it might be you.

So if you really want to defeat the superrich, the one thing you need to do is get to know every politician who represents you. The city council, the county supervisor, the state legislator, your senator and your representative. Write to them. Call them on the phone. Attend every single townhall and other event you can make it to. Cancel your doctor's appointments and skip a few football games. Make sure they know you by name. Send money to the ones you like, don't send money to the ones you don't like. The maximum contribution you personally can make is too limited to matter. It's far more important for them to see you active. Then they know that when you're not happy, neither are your friends and family, including all those friends you have online that you talk to daily but never see face-to-face. Next time one of the superrich walks into your representative's office, he (or she) needs to immediately be able to call your face to mind. You see, just like you that superrich person only has one vote. They have cash, but they still only have one vote. So make your vote count.

Whether you realize it or not, votes are still far more important than cash. Every politician gets the voter rolls from the local county and state offices. Your name and address appears right alongside those of your voting neighbors. Your party affiliation and your voting record is there, too. If your rep. scans down that list and sees names belonging to faces he knows, then there is no doubt in his mind who he has to answer to if he wants to keep his job. Political jobs are the most lucrative jobs in the land, but not because of their pay, benefits, and generous pensions. (Although those are pretty generous in and of themselves!) The real value of a political office is access to inside information that no one else has. Every politician has that access and they use it. They know where to buy property before anyone else and they know which companies to buy stock in before anyone else. That information is priceless and is the real source of their wealth. If your rep. knows that in order to keep his access to that information he must ignore the lobbyist, the big donor, the banker and the CEO, then he will politely take every gift they offer and vote against their agenda anyway. If your rep. ignores you and advances the agenda of the superrich, then rally your friends, campaign against him, and vote against him. It might not happen this election or next, but over time, your efforts will yield results and either your rep. will change his tune or lose his access to the most priceless information on planet earth: civil planning.

Or, if politics and home farming are just too difficult for you, and giving up your electronics is just too much of a sacrifice, there is still another option. Granted, it's the most difficult of all, and there is no guarantee of success, but it also carries the greatest potential for reward: join them.

That's right, you too can be one of the superrich. And no, you don't have to win the lottery (although that helps). You will have to do some homework, though. The trick is to master a skill the superrich need and are willing to pay for. You could go back to college (or start college if you're young enough) and get a business degree. If you don't like business how about architecture, law, computer science, accounting, or something truly exotic like tactics and personal defense? You could write a book, compose music, or become a graphic designer. The key point is to pick one skill and master it completely, then go out and market yourself to companies like JP Morgan, GE, Barclay's Capital, Goldman Sachs, or any of the companies that the members of the two lists above belong to.

And, if nothing else, you could run for office. Become a politician and take advantage of all that inside information.