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It’s raining. It’s been raining, it seems, forever. And, it’s days like these that set a retired guy to thinking. And, if you’re a liberal, living in Shasta county, that can’t be good.
I’ve been thinking about billionaires. Thinking about the money they have. Wondering where they find time to do anything with it. Thinking what a burden it must be. You’d think they’d have trouble finding things to spend it on. Yet, they squirm like a worm on a hook at the mere mention of any taxation greater, percentage wise, than I pay. Well, I know they have to eat too. But do they have to eat so well? You’d think they could afford a little more in taxes, since the meat they eat is prime; mine is ground chuck. America has 360 of these high class meat eaters! Could that be too many? Just thinking . . .
What’s a billion anyway? Well let’s think about that for a while. Let’s say that right after graduating from college with a degree in “counting” you get hired by a billionaire to count his money. Would this be a career you could retire from? Let’s say the pay is excellent but the job is 8 hours a day, 365 days a year with no time off for weekends, sick leave, vacations, or potty breaks. Just how long would this job last, counting dollars one by one? Well, you wouldn’t retire. You wouldn’t complete the job. To do so would take you 96 years.
What’s a billion? Kind of hard to get your head around the concept, isn’t it? Let’s try. On the one hand, one billion looks small, only 1.E9. On the other hand, one billion appears large. After all, in years, our planet has only enjoyed 4 ½ billion of them.
Let’s try this mind game. Let’s imagine the circumference of the earth and think how much fun it would be to walk around it. Oh I know that those pesky oceans would get in the way, but this is a mind game – let’s say you could walk on water. It would take a lot of steps to get around the earth this way. But this is a mind game and we’re not going to do it that way. We’ll do it this way. From the chair you’re sitting in, lean down, making knuckles by bending the fingers of both hands. Put one knuckle on the floor and the other in front of it. Then move the one in the rear to the front. We’ll call that one step. Keep doing it. Knuckle walk out your front door and on out into the countryside. Keep doing it. After 1.E9 knuckle steps (one billion), and going absolutely straight all the way, you would arrive at your back door. Now think of each knuckle step as a dollar. Bill Gates could go around the earth this way 50 times. Warren Buffett could do it 40 times. Lawrence Ellison of Oracle, 27 times; Christy Walton, 21 times; Jim Walton, 20 times, and the two “poorer” Waltons only 19 times each. There are 350 others in this category of wealth in America.
These personal fortunes may not be enough to stop the rotation of the planet, but they can certainly be used to alter the rotation of government. Some folks may not have a problem digesting this concept, after all these rich folks do know how to run a company and make money. But, let’s be honest, they didn’t accumulate these hard to conceptualize fortunes for you and me, they did it for themselves. And, honestly or otherwise, they acquired it from you and me.
Now let’s go back to thinking about taxes. Who should we tax? Them . . . or you?
Richard Douse lives with his two favorite ladies, Tammy, his wife, and Ann Margret, his cat. They live off the grid in a home they built themselves. They grow their own food because they don’t trust corporations doing it for them. Douse thinks himself a liberal. He believes liberals are blue collar folk who know how to work and think for themselves. He believes that what we do, individually and collectively, in the next 10 years will determine whether civilization continues – or goes away.