How Rich Is TOO Rich?

How Rich Is Too Rich?
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Jeff Koopersmith on a nationalized treasury, bailouts for the market in the United Soviet Union of America, and the necessary adjustments to your average mega-rich family's budget.

I wrote this story after I heard that the U.S. Treasury was about to nationalize banks.  For me that was the sign that thirty years of greed are over, and that we have at least a chance to be happier.  It will take great sacrifice for us – the privileged.  Even the poorest American or Western European is wealthy compared to most of the people living on earth.  Their stunning poverty causes war and destruction.  This must be fixed before we go on to pursue what the “American Dream” will become now.

Here are my ideas.  They are not academic and only lay out a basic framework for elevating all of us spiritually and in every other way.  It has room for wealth, but not extraordinary or grimy wealth.  It recognizes that every dime we have came from someone else’s pocket.  It is a recipe, I hope, for smiling.

October 13, 2008 – New York (apj.us) – New York City is my home town.  This is the place I was raised and the situation that smells good to me every time I have the pleasure to walk its streets.  Dozens of my family are buried here.  The people I loved most died here and live on here.  Here are the most giving people on earth, the most complex salad of humanity in the United States, and the true birthplace of America.  Here is where capitalism first rooted and here is where the first deadly shot at a run amok laizez faire version of it was fired – at the World Trade Center one September morning.  This shot was intended for mean and murderous purposes.  It was fired by Islamic fundamentalists with little to lose.  It was fired largely because we love the idea of Israel and we love its people.  Islamic fundamentalists think that we are Israel.  That’s too bad.  In the final analysis though – 9/11 marked the end of what now appear to be antiquated Western economic ethics.

None of our leaders, from Washington to Rome, has told us yet that the nearly thirty year old cocktail party marking the broadest expansion of greed in history – by any measure – is over.

None of them will admit to you that fewer and fewer of us can buy $200 hand bags, while more and more of us can buy ones that cost $65,000.00.  Yes, there are purses that are priced that high – and higher.

I use the lady’s purse as an example since few women, due to our male foolishness, had much to do with our collapse; and, mark my words, this is a collapse – not of humanity – but of a society that was doomed to lose no matter how hard we tried and no matter how much we pushed to be an instrument of good.  And we were an instrument of good, at least for us and our friends, and – more important – even some of our past enemies.  We are a nation of very good people led by gangsters with white collars and silk ties.  In fact, we are such a society, although we at least pose and at most act when pushed to be something far different than the brutal dictatorship that is North Korea.  Yet we must admit that today we move closer to dictatorship – hopefully not as brutal – but based upon the failures of the recent past that we allowed.

I am both too young, and too old to know how the “civilized” world became so confused.

Yet I have witnessed it, and very early in life, I realized that it would all fall apart shortly, not from war, but from avarice.  You see, to my mind, war is only a component of greed – not the cause of it.

Moreover, I was the greediest of all in my youth.  I bought the capitalistic credo – Orvis hook, line, sinker, and $2,800 fly rod plus.  By the time I was 25, I was on the board of a large trucking company earning half a million dollars a year in 2008 dollars.  I drove the most expensive Mercedes Benz made.  I flew only first class – I lived in the most exclusive part of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  However, in fact, soon I lost most of that to the company’s greed, and the realization that I had participated in it at the cost of others.

It was then that I made up my mind to become someone who solved people’s problems, not added to them.  Through serendipity I became one of several Legislative Analysts for one of the most powerful and wealthy cities in the world – Los Angeles, California.

There I was able to do some good and some not so good.  However, it was in L.A. that I was bitten by the “power” bug, rather than the “greed” bug.  I had not yet matured enough to realize they were often one in the same.

I also have the most wonderful gift, my son, who needed to be fed, clothed and educated.  So I became a minor power broker, first helping unions, then helping corporate America, and then the corporate earth.  I was a lobbyist and an investor just in the nick of time. I had at least placed my son in as good a position as I could under any circumstance open to me.  Yet my greed had bit me again.  I fled to my closest friends and I rested, and thought about what life meant.

It is hard to give up a deluxe life no matter how precarious they are, but what was strange about it was that I became far happier pursuing other things.  This sounds trite, but it is true and that’s why it is trite.

I helped a friend – no two friends in their businesses as much I could.  Then I went further and directed an art charity.  I was good at this and not so good at that because I was angry when the corporate folks I knew so well seemed uninterested in creativity and misunderstood its great and positive influence on the world.

I then tried medical charities, but found that even these were constantly at war with each other – not to help the sick, but to build themselves into bigger organizations.  And boy did them!  If you look around today, you won’t notice the truly dedicated people running tiny NGOs – you will only see the mega-charities who, like mega-corporations, have grown so large that many of their “executives” fly on 80 million private jets and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars – the less they do – not the more.  The truly dedicated are either very young or saints who float under the radar because they don’t understand the media and the use of propaganda as do many others.

Yes, these are generalizations, and you can certainly point out to me one anecdote or another to prove me wrong.

The fact is though –I am not wrong.

The disease that was called “bigger and better” infected everything – even religion.  When I was a wide-eyed political science sophomore, I began to see it from an international relations perspective and through a love of history.  I could see we were about to head onto the wrong track in 1970 – and I was right – not from my intelligence – but from my gut.

Don’t get me wrong.  I flirted again with wealth.  Beach houses and Range Rovers, Mercedes’ and Porches, Cunard, Four Seasons, Gucci, Saville Row, Rolex, Brioni, Paris-made shirting.  I still love quality – but I realize now that all that quality is stolen from others – the people who create it – and I mean the people that with their hands, make the things we seem to covet – we, the pompous asses of the 21st century.

Only when I was meager, could I see the truth more clearly and perhaps one has to be wealthy first before he or she can form a balanced perspective between nothing and everything.  I still don’t have that.  I yet live an upper class existence only now I know it won’t last much longer.

Everything has changed, and we don’t know it yet.

When I say everything, I mean it.

Yesterday, supported by the greediest policy makers on earth, the United States decided to purchase banks.  Do you realize what that means?  It means that the era of unbridled capitalism is dead.

It means that everything our children learned in business school was a lie.  It means that corporations are not well-intended and that living by a doctrine which reads, “What’s good for the stockholders is all that counts” is a fool's creed.  That’s something that Sarah Palin might say if she lived on my side of the thought fence.

Last year I wrote about greed in as humorous a way as I could – tracking the pitiable rich in Manhattan who didn’t know whether spending $50 million on an apartment was enough.

I laughed at Bergdorf Goodman where I had shopped for my entire life because it went into the music business in a comic way.  I chided people who wore their labels on the outside to tell you exactly what they paid for that shirt or those shoes.  I wondered aloud how long it could last even as I positioned my own business only for the wealthy because I realized there would be no middle class if things continued as they were going then.

Most business followed suit.  Airlines began to provide “cabins” for the rich and even smaller seats than before for the poor.  Wealthy people in America and Europe wouldn’t even think of flying on a airline.  Private jets were their choice even though the cost of just one round trip from Los Angels to London could build a house for a starving family.

I saw it coming.

I did the math.  1 billion people living well;   6.5 Billion living on less money than we spend on our cats and dogs.

“That can’t work,” I thought.

In my soul, I am what you might call a socialist.  However, I am not a socialist, not in any way.  What I am is someone who thinks that all living things should have the basics, as we know them today – not as we saw them in the 17th Century.

I think all people should have at least a few hundred square feet of space to live in that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Thus, a family of four should own a home or an apartment that is at least 1,100 or even 1,200 square feet.  I think that everyone should have at least 1,800 calories of food every day – unless they are super-models.  I think that anyone who is ill should be treated by good physicians – just as we rush to the vet when our Chihuahuas are sick or brooding.

This does not mean that everyone should live like this – in a compact form of safety.  I have nothing against a family that lives in a 10,000 square foot home, eats 3,000 calories a day, and spend $4,000 dollars month at their country club working those calories off.

I do think however, there might be some limits, don’t you?

I don’t know what those limits are – but I will guess.

I also believe that everyone should have an education at least through high school.  If they show promise, they should be able to go further in school.  If not, they should ask to be taught whatever trade or business, or craft they enjoy and through which they can make a living.  They should desire to ask for that training, and not be made to feel less able because they have no interest in quantum physics or molecular biology.

I think today far too many people go to colleges and universities for no good reason at all.  Yet I would not deny anyone the pursuit of knowledge for just the love of it because some of history’s greatest leaders and creators were just this kind of person.

I believe people also must have basic convenient transport.  Basic convenient transport means everything from a well-made bike, to a high speed train.  In rural areas, it means cars and trucks that don’t pollute the atmosphere.  We do have to protect our planet.

I do not feel that measuring success through “productivity” is anything more than a nightmare invented by the wealthiest among us to enrich themselves further.  For that reason, I believe that people should not work more than four days a week – not because it’s so bad to work five or six – but because we need more time to focus on each other.

We need to spend time with each other, whether it is with friends, our children, our wives, mothers, or dads.

I often consider this because I work seven days a week – not hard – not like someone who is a miner or digs trenches for pipelines.  I think about it because my son has hardly a moment to even phone me although I know he enjoys talking to me.  What’s worse he has not time to come to Europe where I live most often and bring my grandchildren to enjoy a month in the sun – away from the hustle bustle of the city.

Europeans learned long ago to just shut down for a month or so.  America must learn this as well.  We would be so much better-off and far more content.

So these are my basics.  I’ve probably missed a lot, but I am looking for and then writing about those things as well in a new project.

However, I did to write a bit about limits.  So here it is.

We already live with limits, and it shouldn’t be so hard to endure a few more.  Believe me, they will come anyway.  I think though, if we welcome boundaries instead of fighting against them, we will be pleased in the end – very.

I think the watchwords for us now might be “How much is too much?”

In order to think like this I suppose we might have to discard a few nonsensical things we have been taught before.

I suggest these, although I could be wrong:

  1. It is ludicrous to suggest that only a few supermen “create” jobs and therefore they must be super-rewarded.  In fact, there are hundreds of millions of men and women who create jobs.  We all do.  When you buy a chicken at Safeway, you help to create job for the butcher at the store, for the company that trucks the chickens to the store, for the family that raises the chickens.  The butcher creates jobs too.  He creates jobs for the knife-maker and the gasoline station owner who fills up his car with fuel so he can get to work, the trucker does the same, and so does the chicken rancher.
  2. It is ridiculous to assume that only greed will move a man to create something bigger than him.  I think that love and respect are far more important to us.  Perhaps we should ask the mega mavens of today whether they enjoy their money, or their friends, family and sport more.
  3. It is just as silly to suggest that people who are more talented than us in some way should not be more compensated.  What does that mean?  I’m not sure.  I think it means that we should reward them with something precious.  Is that money?  Yes, certainly potentially.  Is it fame?  Of course although fame can be a curse.  Just ask Sarah Palin. 

Is it love from your fellow man?  Yes, no doubt.

Thus, we come to the rewards themselves – and there is a little kicker in there to discuss as well.  Don’t we all love beauty?  We certainly do.  One fellow might appreciate the beauty of a Ferrari, while another the balance of a fine painting.  A woman might love the tiny stitches in a couture dress, or the hard-to-come by perfection in the perfect pair of shoes.  Someone else might go crazy for a set of the finest tools, or the most perfect cello or the most wonderfully made shotgun.

These things cost money – a lot of money.  Moreover, all of us, in some way, also appreciate all the things I’ve mentioned that others openly covet – and so many other things.

“Things” they are important – and they have been forever.

Thus, we must make room for “things” in our lives.  We must have some people in society, who from merit, or luck, or birthright have the ability to purchase some of these priceless things with high prices.

This week we heard that Richard Fuld of bankrupt Lehman Brothers in New York earned nearly one Billion dollars in six or seven years from heading what was to become a symbolic graveyard for unfettered capitalism.

Now isn’t that insane?  Even if Mr. Fuld was a total success, he didn’t need a billion dollars.  No one needs a billion dollars.  And he was not a success.  He may be the biggest failure on earth.  His life is secure perhaps, but his soul is dead.

This is – from my point of view – only one mistake we made practicing no-holds-barred finance.

Now, Mr. Fuld does get credit – not all of it – but some for employing give or take 25,000 people.  Yet he didn’t “create” those jobs from the goodness of his heart.  He created them to make himself and his “stockholders” wealthier.  That’s fine too – because most people in the previous “civilized” world owned stock and will again.

But hey – a Billion dollars is too much.

And even though Bill Gates plans to give most of his money away – we really can’t trust him to decide where to put his $50 billion and the other $40 billion that Warren Buffet will give him.  Society needs to make those decisions today, and tomorrow – because surprises happen and money like this can help where desperate help is needed.  Today it might be to cure HIV AIDS in Africa, but next month it might be to wipe out a flu that is killing all human beings, or all honeybees, or all animals with four legs.  It isn’t fair that Bill decides where the money goes.

Remember – every nickel Bill Gates has came from someone else’s pocket and so all of us have a stake in the way it is spent.  Only some of it should be his to do with what he wishes.

Write that down “Every nickel I have comes from someone else’s purse”

It will change the way the see things – and change them for the better I believe.

These are harsh words to the neo-conservative mind.  They see no limits; they’ve bought the whole line.  The most they can believe in is “do no harm” while you enrich yourself at other’s expense. That’s not good enough, is it?

Yet in fact, once there were limits and they seemed to work at least a little better than no limits do.

So let’s add it up.  Let’s see what the most expensive lifestyle might cost, and then go from there. Let’s look at it in terms of what the most anyone could ask for will cost in the most expensive city in the Untied States – My New York City, Manhattan.  I will base this estimate on a family of four – Mother, Father, Daughter, and Son.

Capital Outlays – What stuff costs that you can put your hands on.

  1. Home:  In Manhattan, “achievers” seem to want to live on Central Park.  That’s where everything but Wall Street is located – especially the places to spend lots of money.  Today, a one room apartment on Central Park in the mid 60s to the mid 70s costs between $1 and 1.5 million.  Let’s settle on $1 million dollars a room.  We need at least 8 bedrooms – one for each member of the family.  Two for guests.  Two for servants.  We need 1 kitchen.  We need 10 bathrooms.  We need 1 large living room ($2 million).  We need 1 dining room.  We need 1 library.  We need 2 offices, his and hers.  We need 1 playroom for the kids and 1 theater.  That’s 15-16 rooms.  However, let’s allocate a bit more money than that to be fair.  How about $20 million for the family home?
  2. 2nd and 3rd Homes:  One for winter, one for summer.  Let’s allow $3 million for each of those – for a total of $6 million.
  3. Europe; every achiever should have at least one home in Europe.  Let’s choose the center – Switzerland, Lake Geneva – Lausanne.  A large house there will cost another $25 million.  So we’ve spent $45 million on homes.
  4. Cars:  Let’s assume everyone is driving age.  We need four cars.  The main sedan will cost from $150 thousand for a big Mercedes Benz for the wife – 450 thousand for a Rolls Royce for the dad – and because the family lives in Manhattan, they will have to have a driver.  He will cost $55,000 a year with health insurance and uniforms.  The kid’s cars will be far less – most likely between $35 and $50 thousand, so let’s just call it a cool $100 thousand.  Total Car. Rounding the car figure up we have $700 thousand for cars, and to replace them every two years, another $350,000.  Over a lifetime of 75 years, personal cars would cost $13.7 million plus another $3 million for the driver over 50 years.  Let’s call it an even $17 million.
  5. Yachts; One should do.  Perhaps a 75 footer at $15 million with a speed boat on the stern – $175,000, two jet skis $18,000, and a 28 foot sailboat at the summer hose lake – $200,000.  An even $16 million with dockage.  With care these boats should last a lifetime as they are high quality and do not need to be replaced.
  6. Jet Plane:  One jet plane – a Gulfstream V – $85 million.  $200,000 a year for crew.  These planes do have to be replaced every ten years – so lets call that an even $500 million over a lifetime.  No that’s too much – let’s forget the private jet.  $0.00.  (They pollute too much anyway.)

Okay, we have the homes ($45 million), the cars ($17 million), the yachts ($16 million).  All the utilities are included.  So the cost of them… Oops! I forgot the servants. A cook and two maids.  The cook will earn just about $100 thousand if he’s terrific.  The Maids about $70 for both.  Let’s call that an even $200,000 for 50 years.  That $10 million over a lifetime.  The staff ($10 million).

We end up with $88 million for all the “stuff’ we need to buy which is saleable and has pecuniary value. In the case of the homes, they will go up in value over time – a long time yes.  To be safe however and free from complaint let’s give the family of four and even $100 million for necessities.  By the by – the family must also furnish the home with this amount.  Otherwise, they could add another $100 million for priceless antiques.

There is more however, these are the Operating costs – some of which are already in the capital cost figures because some capital items need “operators” chauffeurs, maids, and cooks to be exact.  In addition, I am glad I threw in the extra $12 million because I forgot the cost of the 5 man crew for the yacht which would run about $200,000 a year!

Operating Costs – Upper Tier Family of Four

This section is more difficult.  Let’s give it a shot. Keep in mind that we have included the electric bills in the capital costs for the homes and the fuel costs are in the yachts and cars.

  1. Food:   The household must feed seven people a day, three meals a day.  That’s 21 meals a day.  Because the family gets most of its food from Dean & DeLuca or from abroad (for cheeses and the like), we can guess that their daily intake of food might be as high as $500 a day not including alcohol.  That’s about $200,000 a year and would cover eating out as well.  Let’s say a dinner party for 12 once a month. That would cost about $200 per person with wine as long as it was at home.  That’s really a small expense at only $30,000 a year.  So let’s give the family $250,000 a year for food over 50 years – $12,500,000 for food.
  2. Wine: let’s be nice and allow for $50 a day, $1,600 a month, that’s about an even $1 million over fifty year family lifespan.  (The parents are already in the twenties)
  3. Clothing:  This is tougher. Let’s tackle the uniforms for servants first.  They each need five changes.  That's 15 changes per week.  Because the work is tough, they will need new uniforms every three months.  Therefore, that is 60 uniforms at $150 every year.  Over the family lifetime? – $450,000
    Now the men.  Let’s figure the father first.  He has ten suits at 6,000 each, or $60,000 including a tuxedo.  He has 50 shirts at $300 each – $15,000. He has 20 pairs of jeans and cotton slacks at $500 each – that’s $10,000 20 sets of underwear (Hanro) that’s 2,000 plus another $2,000 for socks.  He has 15 sweaters – $15,000.  12 pair of shoes – $12,000 (hand made) three watches $30,000.  About and even $150,000 a year for 50 years – $6 million.  The son’s clothing is about half – and only for 30 years at most.  About $2 million or less – total.
    The girls:  Simply triple it for $6 million over the life of the family
    But we know how people are in reality – so we’ll change the figure to $12 million over 50 years instead of 8 or so.
  4. Education:  These kids are not going to trade school although one might go to art school. Whichever the case here are the numbers – 13 years of primary school – private of course.  4 years of college, and 4 years of graduate school for a total of 21 years of tuition at average $45,000 a year (which includes school uniforms if needed).
    Basically, that’s an even $1 million.  Add to that at least $20 thousand a year donated to the schools for both another $420,000. An even $1.5 million for education.
  5. Holidays:  Five per year, $12,000 per week, $15,000 with the kids.  Let’s settle on $14,000 per week – 10 weeks a year – a little extra for gaming – $150,000.  This is another $6 million over a lifetime.
  6. Health care:  Family, servants, and yacht crew.  The Family would have the best. The best health insurance costs around $12 thousand per year for each of the parents, and about half that for the kids – Let’s say $40,000 a year for the central family. Then we have the chauffer, three staff in the house, five crew for the yachts.  That nine at about $350 per month for a good plan- about $33,000 a year. Let’s make it an even $80,000 just for the insurance each year.  That’s $4 million over fifty years.

What have we missed?  First, let’s total up home, school, clothes, servants, yachts, cars, etc.

Homes $45,000,000.00
Cars $17,000,000.00
Yachts $16,000,000.00
Personal Staff $10,000,000.00
Food $12,500,000.00
Clothing, Servants $50,000.00
Clothing, Men $2,000,000.00
Clothing, Ladies $6,000,000.00
Education 1,500,000,00
Holidays $6,000,000.00
Health Insurance 4,000,000,00
Subtotal $120,450,000.00

There are also, of course, unexpected expenses.  That special necklace for the 40th anniversary. A daughter's wedding.  Legal fees.  Costs for lover’s expenses, clothing and housing, abortions, many other things.  Therefore, I will add a whopping 20% to this total

$25 million to round it up.

For even numbers' sake – Let’s give the family $150 million for its fifty year lifetime.

Remember, children will inherit all the “stuff” that was purchased as well.  Then the round starts again!

So there we have it. To live pretty close to the same way as might a prince – all any family needs is $150,000,000.00 over 50 years.  They can of course save some it as we have been quite giving.  I am sure there will be at least 15-30 million in banks, and bonds at the end of our family’s parent’s lifetime.

There is one more thing to decide because there are two ways to place this limit on this family.

The first would be to allow them to earn $3 million a year, or $250,000 a month, for 50 years.

The second method would be to place enough money in a moderate yield very safe  investment (if there are any) that provides income at some fixed level –let’s say 10% for the purpose of discussion.  That would take a one time deposit of  only $30 million.

“But wait!” says Warren Buffet.  What about taxes?  He’s right.  The family needs to clear $3 million a month!  If the income tax rate on all income is 35%, they will need more in that single deposit and will need to earn more.  Let’s go back.

Okay.  We know they need to take home $3 million a year.  That means they must be allowed to gross  $4,750,000 a year in order to take home that $3million.

Thus, we have to deposit  $47,500,000 of thereabouts to make this happen.

Hey – let’s make it an even $50 million!  I think that’s enough to make any family feel very very special, don’t you?

So here’s how it would work.  The man or woman who wants to seek riches would be allowed to earn $4.75 million per year.  However, if that man or woman inherited money and fungible property there allowed income would decrease by the same amount of either side of the equation – whether it be earned at the job, or simply deposited by a relative or very good friend.

Let’s take Mr. and Mrs. Y for instance.  Both are out of college at age 21.  Both will live an average of 71 years.  For fifty years, they can earn as much as $4.75 million a year adjusted for inflation.  However, Mrs. Y inherits $100 million dollars on her 21st birthday.  Oh my.  That’s $50 million more than allowed per family.  That means two things.  First – Mr. and Mrs. Y can get salaries of ZERO during their lifetimes if because they are married.  In addition – Mrs. Y must give the Treasury a check for $50 million of her $100 million inheritance.  While  it is fair and still leaves the family with $3 million a year in spendable income – somehow the mindset of Americans and others will be against this.  If you think about though – that’s the way it should be.

To put it into perspective – let’s look at the poorest family with two children under this plan.

  1. Home: Poor families usually have only one home.  In our example case, this home will be 1,200 square feet.  The worldwide cost of building is less than $80 a square for a nice solid house. However, let’s make it $100.
  2. Transport: The family will be allowed one car, one motor scooter, and two bicycles for a total of  $20,000 every five years.  Or $200,000 over a lifetime.
  3. Yachts:  One four passenger canoe – $2,000
  4. Staff: none
  5. Food:  Four people at $15 a day
  6. Clothing:  Four people at $500 per year – $1,000 men, $1,000 a year for the ladies (poor women also like to dress up!)
  7. Education:  This is tougher.  How will the kids be educated?  I vote again for private schools, but these schools would be a lot less expensive as salaries are lower.  I believe it would cost less than $2,500 per child for their education each year.  So here we have a total of $5,000 a year for schooling for both kids for 21 years – the same as our achiever family.
  8. Holidays:  Two a year, with the whole family.  Even the poor should be able to travel to far off places.  – say one foreign and one domestic vacation.  The foreign vacation will cost 2,000 for air fare, and $1,000 for hotels.  Let’s make it $3,500 total per year.
  9. Health Insurance: This will be the most expensive but most needed new expenditure.

It will cost about $250 per year per person.  That’s $300 thousand over a lifetime for the parents, and for 21 years for the kids – $126,000 for a total of $426,000 over the family lifetime.

Homes $120,000.00
Cars $200,000.00
Yachts $2,000.00
Personal Staff $0.00
Food $275,000.00
Clothing, servants $0.00
Clothing, Men $50,000.00
Clothing, Ladies $100,000.00
Education $105,000,00
Holidays $175,000.00
Health Insurance $426,000.00
Subtotal $1,453,000.00

This is $29,000 per year per family lifetime.

Today, the poorest of the poor earn only $400 a year over an entire lifetime, about a dollar and change a day.  We need $80 dollars a day for them.  We’re 78.50 per day short!  Not only that, but there are billions of people that are this poor.

Rounding the figure to $80 a day for four people, each needs $20 a day on average to lead a healthful and safe life.  Even if everyone works – at current low wages for in developing and worse countries, we are short at least $75.00 a day.  Where will it come from?

That’s simple.  It will come from the rest of us.  Each of us will earn less but live better.

Moreover, as each nation matures and sets higher standards of living, less and less money must come from the wealthier nations.

In the beginning, it will seem impossible.  For this means that each of us will have to sweeten the international pot by about $90 a day or $32,850 a year.  Few people can afford this. In fact, if it was the case, many Americans and Europeans would starve and lose their own homes.

What’s to be done?  We know that the average family needs about $30,000 2008 dollars to survive, as they should.

Westerners earn about $45,000 per capita.  We could postulate that each could give up $15,000 a year and barely survive – but that would not make up the shortfall which is over $100 billion a year.

In fact, the total I assume is only 15 billion a year – the total adjusted gross domestic product of the United States!

However, there is one thing we’ve forgotten, and that’s that maybe we could build the 5 billion new homes, towns, grocery stores, etc – and would certainly profit by them.

Our grandchildren would at any rate.

So it’s the tough question. Can two working parents make it on $60,000 or less for awhile in America, or Italy, or Germany or England?  Only if prices for the basics go down.

This is the role for a character -filled government – not a profit minded one.

Somehow, the world’s wealth can be carved up more evenly so that people don’t go insane with poverty as they do today.  This is what causes wars and civil unrest.

If you had to go home to a mud hut with running feces next to you, you would also take up arms – far more often than do the poorest of the poor.

Let me add some thoughts about big “D” Democracy.  In essence, it’s a fraud.  Not because the people should not decide how they want to live collectively and respectfully, but because the kind of Democracy practiced today represents only the wealthiest and more important the smartest and greediest of us.  Poor people notoriously do not vote.  They work, or they stay home – already crippled from participation by poverty.  The poor are not as well educated.  They fall victim to propaganda which is what politicians offer you today.  No truth, just convenient lies.

One or two democracies make it mandatory to vote.  I think that is a good idea.  I also believe that voting should take place over a month’s time – not 12 hours.  This is part of the fraud of the Democracy.

The worst thing however is that corporations – which is another way of saying the richest people on earth – control nearly everything we learn about our societies, even today they are hiding the gruesome truth about our economy built on quicksand.  We must stop business interests from controlling the new media – and they do.

So there it is.  A little plan for a big change.

It means regulation with a capital “R”.  It means making some sacrifices, but haven’t we been the lucky ones for these past several hundred years?  Do we not owe the rest of humanity a decent life?

I think we do.

In addition, I believe, that if the day ever does come when we put fairness like this in place, all of us will be so joyful.  Our generation will be gone, and so will our children’s, and most likely our grandchildren’s who might just see the beginning of a world of true relative equalities rather than just nations of false equality.

You see, it’s not Democracy or free markets that make a wonderful world.

It is brother and sisterhood.

Be your brother’s keeper and you will assuredly live in heaven on earth.

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