Luxury CEO: The poor should stop whining


#1

cnbc.com/id/101410955


#2

Whining? That is just rude and un Christian. As a Christian I think that every man, woman, an child matters as much as any other. Even people that can’t afford to dine on Dom Perignon, caviar, truffles and goose liver!

People who can’t afford several mansions or drive one inch per gallon limos.

We all matter, I sincerely believe.

I also don’t think that “sink or swim. you’re on your own” is a very Christian or Catholic philosophy.

Sorry to rant, but this really got my goat :frowning:


#3

I would be wary of those trying to ignite a class war by making or paraphrasing inflammatory statements. We KNOW, as Catholics, what our attitudes to wealth and poverty should be. All else is simply distraction from those truths.


#4

I find this interesting.

Of course, this is an incredibly arrogant-sounding headline and incredibly arrogant-sounding text within the article.

Who is this guy? He’s the CEO of a high-fashion firm that sells $800 dresses…he doesn’t exactly market to the common person (I make what I consider to be a really good income and I have never bought a dress for my wife, even a formal, or a suit for myself…even my tux…that cost anywhere near $800)

But is he telling the truth?

An income of $35,000 per year in this country is at the 43d percentile in the USA, yet is at the 92d percentile around the world (in other words, 92% of the people in the world are poorer than the American making $35,000 per year)

An income of $11,170 is at the 12th percentile in the USA, and, in fact, is considered to be below the poverty level in the US, yet it is wealthier than 83% of the people in the world.

The calculator I used is here.

Something to consider.


#5

Money is hardly the only thing to use to compare wealth. I know places where I could comfortably live on a fraction of what I now need simply to survive - that would not make those people richer than me by any stretch of the imagination.


#6

The numbers used were calculated to look at relative buying power.

(Having said that, I have lived in places where a very moderate income on American terms was considered incredibly wealthy in terms of the locals, so I know what you mean).

I’ve seen utter destitution in the Maghreb and in the Horn of Africa that would shock virtually everybody who posts here…unless you’ve actually been there and have seen it for yourself.

The point is that what we call poor in this country doesn’t even qualify. Sure, there may be a miniscule number…I’m not claiming otherwise. But EVERYBODY in this country has a huge amount to be thankful for.


#7

Having travelled a bit myself, I definitely agree with that!

That does not absolve us of the responsibility of addressing poverty where ever it occurs and in whatever form.

There are 3rd World people who would be dumbfounded that a person with indoor plumbing and a car could ever be considered poor. However, the way our society is structured those two are often essentials and not really a differentiation between rich and poor. That same 3rd Word person might be flabbergasted that anyone would have to pay fees for their kids to learn common sports or or get basic vaccine shots!


#8

CEO’s whine a great deal too, they just whine about different things… such as the possibility of incarceration now for signing fraudulent stockholder and financial reports, being held accountable for the actions of their senior executives… stuff like that.:smiley:


#9

The way I see it is that the two phenomena are basically different. I say this as one who was stay-in-a-weekly-motel, Golden Grain mac-and-cheese poor (Kraft mac-and-cheese was too rich for my blood), where a luxury meal was a box of livers from Church’s and a 24 ounce Bud on payday.

What I see here is unlocking opportunity and unlocking peoples’ minds to grab opportunities when (not if, but when) it comes their way.

What I see there is so starkly different, it’s unbelievable. Fundamental stuff that we take for granted (like water, anybody?) isn’t there. I remember one time going through a village and seeing a skinned goat hanging up…covered with flies. Yet people would be eating it and glad to do so (I have no idea how long it had been hanging). A basic thing that we take for granted: refrigeration…unknown (not that it would matter…electricity was not seen, as well. Even in villages where there was a line strung, it would go to one building.


#10

While I agree that others live in greater poverty in other nations, I have always thought the comparison rather futile. Each nation has it’s own measure of wealth, and sometimes international comparisons seems like comparing apples to figs.

If we look at the USA alone, and realize what the cost of living is, how wages have been stagnant or decreased on a regular basis since 1981, how people have lost retirement funds due to mergers, outsourcing and other factors of inflation, it is not hard to figure out that 35K a year does not go so very far. The average wage in this country is considered to be at the poverty level.

My own personal comparison is how my dad and his brothers were able to marry, buy homes, cars and even trailers for camping, and raise their children while the moms stayed home and didn’t have to work. Now the same jobs, and this can’t happen. Their “kids” can barely make ends meet, and that is with wives also working.

The poor should never “stop whining”, as this fool puts it. Poverty is ugly, and in my estimation uncalled for. It exists because of greed and sin, because of selfishness and cruelty, not because that is where people want to be.

I have trouble with anyone who finds it justifiable that they can own 2, 3, 4 or more homes, multiple cars, boats, planes etc., and than suggest that the poor can somehow help themselves if “they want too,” or are at fault for their plight. Why don’t these folks just go ahead and give up one of those extra dwellings and floatation devices to someone who has next to nothing to live on? Oh dear, “Heaven forbid” they should have to make such a horrible sacrifice on behalf of another human being.


#11

What good does “whining” do? “Envy” is just plain ugly and doesn’t actually solve anything.

The question should not be on how to hurt those who make a high income, but rather how to get it so that more people have a real opportunity to do make more.

Those of us who make more should not be made to feel guilt, but rather should figure what we can do to help people have opportunity.

And whining does none of that.

Having said that, supporting corporatism will do nothing either. Corporations love all the bureaucracy, as they are big enough to shape the excessive regulation to favor them, are big enough to buy the politicians and bureaucrats so that loopholes can be written for them, while smaller start-ups are swamped by this same regulatory burden…effectively a government-sponsored barrier to entry.

Corporatism favors the bad laws that favor outsourcing skilled jobs out of this country, leaving only low-paying service jobs behind (and then they support the widespread import of illegal aliens who manage to undercut American salaries).

Corporatism favors flooding the economy with money created from nothing, saddling our children and grandchildren with unsustainable debt.

Having said that, envy of the rich just plays into the hands of the corporatists and solves nothing.

As the Holy Father said a couple of weeks ago (1/23):
This same reality is repeated today “in our hearts,” the Pope added. “It is an evil disquiet, which will not tolerate that a brother or sister have something that I do not have”. And thus “instead of praising God, as the women of Israel did over the victory” we prefer to withdraw into ourselves “stewing in our feelings, cooking them in the broth of bitterness”.

Jealousy and envy are the doors through which the devil entered the world, the Pope continued, emphasizing that it is the Bible which affirms it: “through the devil’s envy evil entered into the world”. And “jealousy and envy open the doors to every evil thing”, causing strife even between believers. The Pope referred explicitly to the life of Christian communities, underlining that when “some members suffer jealousy and envy, they end in division”. Pope Francis called this division a “strong poison”, the same poison that is found in the first pages of the Bible, in account of Cain and Abel.

The Holy Father then described what happens in the heart of a person who is consumed by jealousy and envy. First comes bitterness: “the envious and jealous person is a bitter person, he doesn’t sing, he doesn’t praise, he doesn’t know what joy is; he is always looking” at what others have. And unfortunately bitterness “spreads through the entire community” since all who fall prey to this poison become “sowers of bitterness”.
Far better than whining (which is the reaction of jealousy and envy) is to figure out not how to get more “stuff”, but how to get more “opportunity”…in order that each can earn more with the sweat of their own brow to get more “stuff” (and, incidentally, to gratuitously help those who haven’t yet realized their own opportunity).

Rather than whining, it would be far better to work together to knock down the walls that prevent people from seeing opportunity and then taking advantage of opportunity when it presents itself.


#12

My question is who gets to decide what’s whining? For example, I am against occupational licensing which works to increase incomes of groups like physicians and lawyers. Is that considered whining? Plus, you would need more information to determine that my complaint is made because of envy.

The question should not be on how to hurt those who make a high income, but rather how to get it so that more people have a real opportunity to do make more.

Of course, if we got rid of occupational licensing and immigration restrictions we could both provide more opportunity and hurt those who are making more. There is nothing wrong with hurting those making more if they are making more because of some injustice and it is pretty clear that occupational licensing to keep out competition is unjust.


#13

EVERY American needs to consciously take pains to appreciate how much luxury we indulge in and think of as pure necessity. Take a step back and just look at how your life differs from what your grandparents probably experienced as a child.

Got a phone in the house? TV? Do you need to wake up and shovel coal or wood in the furnace at 2am? Does your midnight toilet run involve a trip to the two-holer? Do you stock the house up with provisions for the winter? Have to pump a level repeatedly to get water? Had a hot shower lately? Turned on the AC when it hit 90 outside?

I had a unique experience this past month as my car’s garage door opener broke and it took me almost a month to get around to buying a replacement. Once I got the new one and programmed it, it was like a totally new luxury! No more tromping to the front door through new snow in my work shoes. No more running to step over the beam before the door gets too low on my way out in the morning… Anyways, you appreciate even stupid little things more when you lose them for a while. Might be worth doing on purpose to things we take for granted once in a while. Remind us just how filthy rich we all really are!


#14

To call the cry of the poor “whining” is just plain uncharitable IMO.


#15

Not all of us are filthy rich - that’s just the point. Cell phones are becoming ubiquitous among the Third World’s poor - does that mean luxury? Not when the nearest hospital is 2 days walk away and 2 nurses care for several villages of people!

My best advice to those on the outside looking in: if you haven’t lived it try putting yourself in that person’s shoes. And if you can’t be bothered to try that, then refrain from pontificating on things that are foreign to you.

I watched in bemusement yesterday while many berated the NYC Mayor for not closing schools. His stated reason/s could well have been uttered in Latin for all the regard his critics gave to it. How can a reporter with 24-hr nanny on call appreciate that school is the warmest place with the best stocked kitchen for some kids whose parents must brave the outdoors or risk losing their jobs? I know middle class people in NYC who turn off their heat while at work just to be able to afford the heating bill. How can we have compassion if we don’t have familiarity with the wide range of living conditions prevalent in this country? It’s simply impossible. That’s how anyone can feel comfortable lumping “the poor” (with no qualification) and “whining” in the same sentence! :mad:


#16

Thank you for your post. There are plenty of us out here who are going on one meal a day because that is all we can afford. The only place we can go in the car, if we have one, is to the job that does not pay us enough to keep the car full of gas if we pay the rent. The heating bill just about sends us into the poor house and we keep it below 65F.

There is a lot more poverty in this nation than meets the eye. If anyone out there wants to try the budget my sister and I live on, I’ll set up your grocery list for next month. I bet you won’t like it very much.


#17

You’re welcome. I’ve been there. Let’s not forget that Mother Teresa’s order started in Calcutta but found the poor in Rio and NYC too.


#18

And that is why I said in my first contribution on this thread, Of course, this is an incredibly arrogant-sounding headline and incredibly arrogant-sounding text within the article.


#19

There is a huge difference between whining and constructive argument. The poor need less of the first and more of the second. Whining does nothing but annoy people and turns them away from hearing what is being said.


#20

Let me ask you this. Can we agree that anyone with a car, a dwelling, plentiful food and enough money left over for vacations and toys is relatively wealthy today? Now fast forward 150 years and imagine that the upper middle class have access to teleportation machines, age retarding treatment (150 year lifespan) and enjoy vacations LITERALLY out of this world (visit the spas of Mars!). If the lowest 5% income people can ONLY afford decent food, a ground car, a dwelling, a few toys and terrestrial vacations and simply can’t afford health care for a lifespan much past 95 years old, will they be considered poor?

That’s really the question. A solidly middle class American from 1875 would probably punch you or I in the nose if either of us described ourselves as “poor” in conversation with him. It’s a word that has a suspiciously sliding scale of meaning.

I’m with you that it’s a sad commentary on our society that some still lack decent access to medical treatment (especially prevention). But what that sadness masks is that even the poorest in America today can get better medical care than the richest could in 1875. MUCH better.

In the end, you have a point that the wealthy have a moral obligation to try to help those with less do better. But those with less have an obligation to recognize how many gifts they do have and how lucky we all are to live today and not in earlier eras where hardships of ALL sorts were far more prevalent.


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