Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why Do We Hate The Rich?

My grandfather was a high school physics teacher, and he loved teaching. One Christmas his kids asked for a swimming pool, and he decided to build it himself. He negotiated with subcontractors, did some research and built his own swimming pool. Neighbors and friends started asking him to build their pools, and my grandpa realized that he could make more money building pools than teaching physics. My grandpa Steimle slowly became an innovator in the swimming pool industry and started the most awarded swimming pool company in the U.S.- California Pools and Spas.

Starting his own company, didn’t make him rich at first, but in his later years he was able to provide a comfortable lifestyle for his family. Never ostentatious, he always was out looking for a deal- milking his senior citizen discount for all it was worth. He donated a great deal of money to charities and organizations, making huge strides for the City of Hope. His financial success not only benefited him but the community as well.

My grandfather worked hard, was innovative, and in turn reaped financial rewards. It’s self-reliance that made him successful not looking for the hand-out. (For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting me:I did not inherit some swimming pool fortune- due to a Y chromosome my grandfather's company is in 'other' hands. We'll just leave it at that.)

I have a friend who’s father is brilliant,hilarious, and very financially successful. He didn't inherit his wealth, but gained it through hard work, education, and tenacity. His family gives a great deal of money to charity, they are exceptionally generous and his daughters have the biggest hearts I’ve ever met. Again, his financial gain has benefited the less fortunate.

We all have sympathy for the poor, but you can’t ignore that the world needs Bill Gates, not just for software, but for his charitable contributions- his foundation. If you look around the best way to donate service is not to bake a casserole, but to donate money- and who has the money? The wealthy.

Why do we begrudge the well-off? Why is it when flames ravage a wealthy community in southern California people lack empathy because those that own the homes have wealth? Is it a mere case of the haves and the have nots?

The majority of evacuees in San Diego have not turned to the Government for help, they’ve turned to themselves, to friends and to family. Only ¼ of all evacuees are in government facilities. Is it because they have money that they are not in government facilities- or is it because they are not in government facilities that they have money?

The only way to escape poverty is to do it yourself, those that turn to the government for help will always be reliant upon others generosity and will never escape their poverty. Those that think they can do things themselves, taking responsibility for their own lives will be successful. By no means do I begrudge those that have had to take refuge in government facilities, for some there is no other option- but the difference between San Diego and other parts of the country is that turning to the government is not the first option, it's a last resort.

After hearing some comments this week about the lack of sympathy towards those loosing of their homes due to their financial status I ask: Why hate the rich and take joy in their misfortune, when the best way each of us can help the world right now is to write a check? It's the wealthy that contribute the most financial resources to the poor. These people pay far more taxes, and give a great deal more to charity than you or I ever could. We loose the wealthy, we loose welfare, we loose social security, we loose hand-outs. Before you take joy in the fires, realize that its your meal-ticket that's burning.


ThomCarter said...

This is a very good point. While money does not make you happy, hard work does. Those waiting for hand-outs or feeling that they deserve something will not find happiness until they work for it.

You've been tagged!
A. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning. B. Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves. C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

chloe elizabeth said...

Not only that, but I would add that money comes with it's own problems. Not that the poor don't suffer from these as well, but no lifestyle is perfect. And, I second everything you say. And I second ThomCarter. I was blessed to have a successful (and kind and generous) dad, and I was also raised to be self-reliant. And while I do understand that I was given opportunities others' have not been given, I do get frustrated when I am treated like I'm spoiled or like my trials must not be that hard because I'm okay financially.

Sorry...I kind of have strong feelings!

kdub said...

Funny you mention this Kory... cause just yesterday I had a feeling in institute that I needed to leave. The next topic he brought up as I left the class; can the rich get into heaven?

I was relieved I left.

Salt H2O said...

Don't worry Kelsy, Institute and Seminary teachers love giving lessons like that, it makes them feel better about only making $13 an hour.

(Good thing Laura doesn't read blog, or she'd be ticked! Man I'd get it at thanksgiving...)

crazy4danes said...

Fantastic post! Exactly what I was feeling when I left the comment about being steamed that people had the nerve to say this to inlaws included! There are some people that have been blessed to inherit great fortunes..but a lot of it was built with hard work and sweat. And I love your last statement about their meal tickets burning...fabulous!!!! :D

Will & Natalie Giddens said...

Right on! I agree with everything. You should totally listen to Neal Boortz, if he's syndicated in SLC. He completely agrees with you too.

Mikie said...

I've really been kind of surprised by the people who just say "oh it happens every year" and dismiss it-- I don't recall hearing about fires this bad every year. And the ones who are unsympathetic... I think president Benson referred to that as pride from the bottom looking up? It's unfortunate.

You know, there's no virtue in poverty. I totally agree with you-- those people who are successful and wealthy can help others in so many ways. I've come to think it's almost selfish to consume everything you produce and to aim only to make enough for you (and your family if you have one) to survive.

While prosperity is not limited to the material realm, we read over and over in the scriptures about how when God's people are righteous, they *prosper*. And usually that includes material wealth and abundance. (And often they get comfortable and forget God... but that doesn't change that their prosperity first came from God as a result of living righteous lives).

I honestly don't believe those times mentioned when there were "no poor among" the people that there was anyone who was just taking handouts. I'm sure everyone that was able was productive.

Instead of hating on the rich, those people should perhaps stop and ask why that person is wealthy... and as you and others have mentioned, it isn't a result of luck (and money is not the root of all evil).

Thanks for your post-- I hadn't thought about it, and appreciated you pointing out the difference between those people who depended on the government (Katrina) and those who were prepared and able to solve their own situations. The victim/entitlement mentality truly is debilitating... again, great post :)