What is the term to “be rich”? For any American, “being rich” has been something to achieve in this capitalistic society. Ever since the Great Depression years, big business conglomerates have reluctantly given way to the entrepeneur; the creative, inventive and proactive businessman willing to sacrifice all to be his own boss. Back then, the Ma and Pa storefronts had no chance competing against humongous strip malls financied by J.D. Rockefeller of J.P. Morgan. Nowadays as Ma and Pa “separated”, each one has built their own strip malls thanks to government breaking up monopolies and trusts. Capitalism has joined free enterprise. Together, they formed a successful union. Out of this joint partnership, we have “self-made” millionaires and billionaires, like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Black Entertainment Television(BET)founder, Robert Johnson and Def Jam Records founder/owner Russell Simmons.
For two years, America endured a crippling recession. The Iraq war compounded economic woes. Every time an oil pipeline blew up, our dollar weakened. NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) dropped a few points when a suicide bomber attacked a school, an Iraqi police training facility or a downtown market. A generation before, we held sway over our money miseries.
Nowadays, Fallujah, Abu Garib and the Sunni Triangle dictated our spending. The five year wasn’t the only issue. President Bush allowed big companies to ship American jobs to India, Japan, Mexico and maybe, China. We still had free trade and NAFTA lurking around and embezzling much needed dollars. During Bush’s eight years, our country operated with a plus $1 trillion dollar debt. But, the federal government insisted on lending money to embattled Iraq. All of the destruction and political chaos emerged from our military conducting a sloppy, campaign for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The recession made our esteemed “middle-class” virtually extinct. There are only two separate, and distinct classes: the very rich and the very poor. Both entities are unwilling to merge and assist one another.
American capitalism can’t live on the once a generation success stories. There is only one Oprah Winfrey. She is an example of growing up poor in a dysfunctional home, leaving disorder for structure and becoming a rags to riches story. Her net worth is $2.9 billion dollars. There aren’t enough Marshall “Enimem” Mathers or Shawn “Jay-Z” Carters running around.
The rich have to be willing to accept their role in rebuilding America’s economy. Rich people aren’t rich because they’re doing it themselves. People less rich are assisting them in making their fortunes. Where would Tommy Hilfiger be? Where would Donald Trump be? These people are wealthy through other peoples’ hard work and sacrifice. Rich people have to sacrifice some of their “slush funds” and back money to give to those less fortunate. And, I’m talking about the lower-income working folks not the homeless.
When an economy is working together, you have an affluent society for everyone. When an economy is in turmoil, there are separate classes and separate societies. For Big Business to prosper, there has to be discord. War remained the biggest business to be made. War coincided with patriotism. Patriotism and nationalism are similar behavior shared by a misguided populace. One step away from both is called fascism.
Americans believe in individualism, freedom and prosperity. When we have those three working in concert, we have national unity.