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8/13/2012 4:06 PM
The Gutsiest Straw Man
By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
Question of the Day
Are we losing our merit based economy?
Design on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
a) Yes, with the excuse that those on top "did not build it on their own."
b) No, the successful are getting fully rewarded for their lifelong efforts.
Post your answer below.
And pause awhile from letters to be wise;
There mark what ills the scholar's life assail,
Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail,
See nations slowly wise, and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust
The nation is struggling with the idea that envy can be the same as toil and that a man's hard-earned riches can be taken and distributed to the masses. The same people that think American millionaires (80 to 95% of all millionaires depending on the source) didn't "build" their own wealth somehow believe a thug that kills someone didn't do that eitheróit was the "gun's" fault. (Last week the New York Daily News wrote a flattering story on the Son of Sam who they portray as a changed man whose wisdom now extends to the elimination of guns. Sick!!!) Watching this battle of values and responsibility versus unaccountability and irresponsibility is difficult and scary.
I will never accept that the person that sacrifices so much to become successful is somehow in debt to the person that mostly sleepwalks through life.
Now this battle moves to another level. With the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate, those that champion confiscation of wealth over individual accountability have the perfect straw man. Of all the congressmen, senators and political parties, and of course the president, only Ryan has sat down and thoughtfully put together a plan to make sure America remains great by making tough choices now. His plan is designed to save America's social safety net as well as keeping its military the strongest in the world. But those looking to save massive food stamp distribution, massive welfare rolls and socialistic taxes will throw up grandma losing benefits as a cover not unlike putting up policemen and teachers when it's time to cut waste in local governments.
This is a nation of merit for now. It's hard to become a successful business person by accident and no sweat. It's hard to climb the corporate ladder if you are in at nine and out at five every day ... and never finish the year with unused vacation days. Yet, in this new (un)American movement, people come back from vacation looking for more money or fret in rush hour traffic about the lack of upward mobility. The nation is moving at a fraction of its ability and the only reason it's moving forward is because we already have an economy built to last.
In "Young Guns," Paul Ryan speaks of an America in which hard work was rewarded and slacking off penalized. When he was a kid, for just on B on his report card his allowance was cut to $2.00 from $4.00 and for a C he got nothing at all. In President Obama's world, the A student is greedy and must pay a price while the B student is still too high and the C student is the victim of something and even his laziness is a byproduct of something nefarious by the A student. So that $4.00 allowance is chopped up with the A student holding $1.50 the B student $1.50 and C student $1.00 - and even that would be seen as a compromise that's still unfair to the underachiever.
Merit is being buried ... along with it America, too.
I talked a lot during the first four months of the year about the stealth rally, perhaps stealthiest in history, we'll its back. Like anything this big and stealthy the key lies in the fact that the market isn't making a lot of noise. Volume is anemic and headlines are focused elsewhere. The household names outside of Apple aren't making a lot of news and our domestic economy certainly isn't robust enough to make people think of the stock market. Of course, it's mid-August, too, and while the economy isn't hot the weather is idyllic across the nation today. There is a ton of news out this week that could shake things up, possibly adding justification to the rally or justification for taking another day off to savor the sun.
Retail sales tomorrow coupled with results from several retailers will set the tone. We also get reads on manufacturing and housing.
|a) Yes, with the excuse that those on top "did not build it on their own."|
Kevin Johnson on 8/13/2012 9:50:40 AM
|Not yet.. that is called hope. But that being said - we are at risk if we do not raise the expected standard of behavior by eliminating the "free ride" so many get under Obama today. He is the embodiment of the wrong way.|
kevin kehoe on 8/13/2012 10:02:28 AM
|Yes,we have a second generation of entitlement behavior.|
Jan Anders on 8/13/2012 10:25:54 AM
|STEVE JOBS NEEDED Thousand to convert his idea, He did not empty his waste basket he did not clean his own toilet, HE DID NOT EVEN BUILD HIS OWN GAFGET, He needed Thousand geniuses. an other peeon like me JBR|
Josef Brunnert on 8/13/2012 10:32:08 AM
|Thanks for staying on message that hard work, education, and clear thinking is still the answer for America.|
Norm Mest on 8/13/2012 10:35:28 AM
|It's shocking that a question like that would be asked. Ten years ago the question would have been considered rediculous.|
z on 8/13/2012 10:36:28 AM
|The message of Josef Brunnert shows he is lacking in his communication skills, can't spell, and is sub-par even in his complaints about the fairness of life. Poor Josef! If you are a peon, it's because you consider yourself a peon, don't care enough to improve yourself above peon status, have no concept of what constitutes success, and condemn yourself to a marginal life. Those who are willing to pay the price of self sacrifice and self improvemant to gain greater status in life are not responsible for your being and remaining a peon. Look inward.|
Bob Radez on 8/13/2012 11:17:14 AM
|Yes. Just listen to the rhetoric of the present campaign. One would think that those that do not perform in society are being held back by those that do. I am constantly accosted by news of third generation welfare and head start families held up as some noble example of the the blessings of the programs they claim to have a path to progress. The evidence is not there to support the claims of success and yet if anyone points to them they are shouted down as lackeys for the overclass. Sad.|
Ed Sorrels on 8/13/2012 11:24:58 AM
|Yes - From my recollection, it started with the Great Society and the concentrated effort to replace God with government. We are reaping what we have allowed to flourish in the nation. The Romans thought they had it pretty good too....|
MtnAppraiser on 8/13/2012 11:42:11 AM
|The two choices fall to either side of the real issue. The founders of this nation were unanimously positioned on the rule of God and natural laws. Their understanding that the frailty of humanity and even more so itís poor, fatherless and widowed could only be preserved by giving proper credence to our Creatorís guidance. The greatest of his commandments are Love God and our Neighbor. As a nation we have turned our back on these protective principles. This has the sum effect of disadvantaging the poor with economic slavery, the fatherless with government bureaucracy/ enslavement and the widows with a deaf ear. Government as a solution to societyís ills, is as ill-fated as any of mankindís past attempts to play God.|
Jason on 8/13/2012 12:14:33 PM
|I'm retired, but do some odd jobs and cottage care taking for wealthy ( hard working ) folks. If they have less money to spend, then I have less money to earn.|
Bruce Emery on 8/13/2012 12:26:15 PM
|Not only are we losing Merritt based success and wealth, I an afraid we are losing all that our founders created and all that we have fought for. I live with the greatest guy that fought for you and I, and we are struggling due to a malice of doctors but never never have we taken a hand out and never would we file bankruptcy, we feel we created those bills we owe these fine people who struggled to create their product or service that we chose to partake of. Does he deserve justice, yes..does he deserve help from our government that we have paid plenty of taxes to before this injury...yes! But, would he take it knowing there are others who need help more...NO. So I am sorry that I don't agree with take from the rich to give to the poor...there are life lessons that could have been stolen from us had we taken the "you owe me route". Just prayers would I take.|
Christine I on 8/13/2012 12:35:17 PM
|Yes, we are and it is the governments fault. Think about your own words, "that a man's hard-earned riches can be taken and distributed to the masses." Government thinks it is entitled to your earnings; it is entitled to give your earnings to somebody else; it is entitled to waste your earnings or send your earnings to some foreign nation you may have never even heard of; it is entitled to spend your earnings on a study to determine the effectiveness of studies. Where in our Constitution does government become so entitled? Let's get back to basics.|
George on 8/13/2012 1:14:09 PM
|I can't pIck between "a" & "b" because I see both as true. |
We are losing our merit based economy because we are losing our insight into what deserves merit. I worked at a major semiconductor manufacturer in Texas for >30 years. I have seen the really good managers pushed out recebtly in favor of charismatic clowns who neither understand the business nor have the skills to manage anything other than a con game. Many have gotten where they are by talking a walk they have not walked and could not walk. They just sell a bill of goods and move on before the walls cave in on the guy who replaced them. They never built the business, and can't even maintain it, but are reaping the benefits they did not earn by fast talk which includes rearrangement of the facts into fantasy. The guys who are doing the real work to keep the business afloat are pushed to the background and often ignored until the business fails. This is the natural end state of corporate America as it deteriorates over time, and is exactly why we need to allow bad businesses to fail and be replaced by new businesses which have not deteriorated. We must scrap the government bailouts to keep American business healthy.
On the other hand, the millionaires and billionaires who built something from scratch deserve every richness they enjoy. They are the backbone of America's prosperity for everyone. And we need not worry about whether they reap the benefits they have earned. That same spark of genius which they used to build a business will assure they can protect their profits from government confiscation.
Unfortunately, too many voters in this country are the shallow-minded masses that cause our entertainment industry to be the epitomy of unearned wealth. Far too many of the extremely wealthy have gotten that wealth more from being in the right place with the right promoter than in working harder or better than others.
I saw a documentary on sharks this morning. The guys were hand feeding wild sharks. As they got the handouts, the sharks got more and more aggressive and demanding, to the point of ramming the guys who were feeding them when the food did not come fast enough. Does that not sound like many of our welfare leaches, never satisfied no matter how much they are given?
My wife worked as a teenager for a butcher and meat packer. He would give the less saleable odds and ends (tongues, hearts, livers) to employees. Unfortunately, he had to stop that practice with all but one family (my wife's family) because the others started to demand this generosity as a right rather than a gift. They would get irate if not given something out of kindness that they did not earn. Disgusting behavior, but all too common.
Bob G on 8/13/2012 1:34:39 PM
|I have to add one comment to the critique of the argument started by Josef Brunnert. When we speak of the elite earning the riches we have, we are not dealing with any argument about what one man could do on his own. Everything we have in modern society is a result of more work than any one person could do. Even Josef"s job emptying trash cans would be impossible without using the labor of others. Josef would not be able to even create the trash can he wants to empty without more hours of labor than he could produce in a lifetime to develop the technology, create the tools, acquire the materials, and fabricate the trash can. And then, where would he empty it without building the big trucks to haul the trash off and the tractors to bury it in the dump.|
The issue which separates the elite from the masses, and is the justification for their enjoyment of wealth, is the combination of genius, personality, vision, character, and hard work to put together a great work. That person is worthy of recompense for two reasons. First, it is that person which propels society forward and raises EVERYONE's standard of living. It is worth it to society to encourage that behavior by rewarding that hard work with a life of ease. Second, the life of ease is necessary to unlock the time and energy necessary for the elite to produce great things for society. If they have to prepare their own meals, clean their own homes, repair their own clothes, and empty their own trash; they have no time to produce anything great. Even the purest of communists recognizes this. Pure communism holds that each person has a distinct job in the society, and the leaders have servants to free them up to do their jobs as leaders.
The last argument against Mr. Brunnert is one I will pose as 2 scenarios without proof, but which you judge from your own experience. I propose that if I were to take a Steve Jobs and drop him into a peaceful third world village of 1000 people, within 10 years there would be a significant work accomplished by Steve which would have significantly raised the standard of living of everyone in the village. (And Steve would be living the easiest life in the village with the villagers very happy that he was). On the other hand, if I were to assemble 1,000,000 of Josef's peons together in the unimproved Nile Delta and provide them all with all the food they need, I could come back 50 years later and would not find a Sphinx, or Great Pyramid, or Great Lighthouse, or Great Library, or even a simple courthouse or public bath. I would expect to come back in 50 years and find a lower standard of living for the community than when they were assembled, and masses of children with no education.
I was an engineering manager. After years of very successful hard work and good compensation, I stopped envying those better then me. I realized that they have something more valuable to society than I and that those who are the elite have earned it. I can (and did) maintain a business and even improve it, but the man (or woman) who can build it from scratch is truly uniqe and needs to be honored for it. And that honor should include a life of ease.
Bob G on 8/13/2012 2:36:09 PM
|We now have a real chance with Ryan as VP !!!|
Peter Mayer on 8/13/2012 2:52:08 PM
|I did have some great teachers, coaches, and used roads, etc. But I was not alone in those class rooms or on the streets. If I was able to succeed, why wasn;t everyone in my class with the same teacher, or with the same coach, or on the same road?|
Mike Connor on 8/14/2012 6:30:49 PM
|It's too bad that there aren't intelligent,good people in government positions. All the waste and fraud would go away.|
The stock market has been gamed for at least the past 6 years. The Dow Index controls the direction of the market on a daily basis.There is a code embedded in the index and it broadcasts to I don't know who what the market will do 5 to 6 days ahead of time.The same code is embedded in Apple. I think I tried to contact you before because I see you on Fox News T.V. and you seem so genuine.The news stories on T.V. and the newspapers don't have anything to do with the direction of the market.My material has been vetted and was sent to the SEC.Charles, will you please look up The Dow Code and carefully look at the material. My phone number is 949-481-6080. After you see this stuff you're going to have sit down for a few minutes after the reality of it sets in.
Patty Goldman on 8/16/2012 4:49:35 PM
Your interview with Juan Williams today on Vaney & Co., that focused on the comments of Vice-President Biden relating to Republicans wantint to rechaining people. Juan's argument was that the Rep. party is mostly white, and Dem. are black, hispantic, etc. Why do most commentators stay away from pointing out that the Dem Party is the party of special interests including, blacks, hispanics, gays, nonworkers, etc. How can people say that the President is the "Food Stamp" President? That's a mean comment. But it is true. Look at the roles, look at the constituencies that make up the Dem Party, and get the message out. Don't let those who come on your program and try to play the victim, play the Rep. as heartless.
Mike Eischeid on 8/17/2012 9:57:45 AM
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