FT154: “If you have wealth these days you better act like a liberal on the outside of the voting booth even if you don’t on the inside.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 25th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Narcissistic Celebrities enjoy the Adoration but they still want the Obscene Wealth

Being rich.  It’s what everyone wants to be.  To be rich.  From the women that go to Hollywood to become rich actresses.  And the men who try to become rich actors.  To the musicians who try to make it big and become rich musicians.  It’s why people become a better athlete than anyone else.  To get a fat paycheck.  And endorsements.  So they can be rich.  And why women want to break the glass ceiling in corporations.  And get their face on the cover of Forbes.  So they can become richer.  Everyone wants to be rich.  For the expression is ‘rich and famous’.  Not just famous.  It’s the reason why ordinary people buy lotto tickets.  So they, too, can be rich.  For apparently being rich is where it’s at.  As everyone is trying to get there.

Being famous is one thing.  Having everyone know who they are and shower them with adoration is nice.  It’s why celebrities take to Twitter.  So everyone can read their pearls of wisdom.  For it strokes their narcissistic egos.  But they still want the Hollywood mansions, vacation homes throughout the country, the luxury cars, luxury yachts and the private jets.  In short they want to be able to afford anything that tickles their fancy.  So they can live lives better than the average schmuck out there.  They want to live like royalty.  And they want to be treated as royalty.

That said there is a war on the rich in the country.  The Democrats have demonized the so-called 1%.  Which would include all of the above.  In an effort to raise tax rates on those who can afford to pay more.  To make the 1% pay their ‘fair share’.  And the people are so in favor of this that they reelected President Obama.  So he can continue to right past wrongs.  And make the rich pay their fair share.  So they gather in support of their president.  With their torches and pitchforks.  Figuratively, of course.  And woe to anyone with a lot of money.

The First Rule about being Rich is Don’t Complain about your Taxes even if you pay Confiscatory Tax Rates

And they will do that right up until the day they come into money.  Then it’s, “Guess I didn’t hate the rich as much as I thought I did.  I mean, here I am.  I’m rich.  And I’m a pretty nice guy.  Nothing to hate here.  So let’s leave these good people alone.  At least, let’s leave me alone.  Put down those torches and pitchforks.  And let me enjoy my obscene wealth.  Because being filthy stinking rich is awesome.  My only regret is that I wasn’t filthy stinking rich sooner.”

Ah, yes, here’s the quandary.  How do I enjoy being everything that’s wrong with this country?  Being someone who is filthy stinking rich?  While not having people attack me for enjoying it?  For being filthy stinking rich?  How do I enjoy such great wealth inequality while being all for equality?  In theory at least.  Not in reality.  For equality is okay for the poor people.  But not for us filthy stinking rich actresses, actors, musicians and athletes.  I mean, one of the reasons of becoming so rich was to get away from the poor people.  Because who wants to live next door to one of them?

Well, first of all here’s what you don’t do.  You don’t complain about the taxes you pay.  Phil Mickelson (professional golfer) learned that lesson quickly.  After expressing a certain discontent that he can only keep about 37 cents of every dollar he earns he quickly issued an apology.  Because the sports media went ballistic when this rich guy complained.  So the first rule about being rich?  Don’t complain about your taxes.  Even if you pay confiscatory tax rates.  Because that will only invite people to get out the torches and pitchforks.  Figuratively, of course.

Celebrities are Openly Devout Liberals so they are Free to Enjoy their Filthy Stinking Wealth

That may be enough for some.  But if you want to be really rich as in filthy stinking rich you have to do more.  Not only do you NOT complain about your high tax rates you campaign to raise them even higher.  All while hiring some good tax accountants to figure out how not to pay your taxes.  Because you want to keep what’s yours.  Warren Buffet is one of the richest men in the world and yet no one picks on him.  Why?  Because he says we should raise taxes on rich people like him.  People like rich people that attack rich people.  So they will give this rich person a pass.  And reserve their hate for other rich people.

But if you really want to enjoy conspicuous levels of wealth you have to do more.  If you want to show off your mansions.  Your cars.  If you want to go to the finest restaurants and eat the finest foods.  Drink the finest wine.  The finest liquors.  Smoke the finest Cuban cigars.  Hang out with the most beautiful people in the world.  At the most beautiful resorts.  On the most beautiful yachts.  If you want to gamble at the big boy tables and get the red carpet treatment from the casinos.  If you really want to flaunt your wealth you have to do more than just support high tax rates.  You have to go all the way.  And be a liberal.  And support all the liberal causes.  And campaign for them in public.  Even campaign for liberal Democrats.  You do this and no one will attack you for your conspicuous displays of wealth.  Even while they’re attacking other rich people for their conspicuous displays of wealth.

So if you’ve ever wondered why so many rich actresses, actors, musicians and athletes are such devout liberals this is part of the reason why.  They just want to be left alone.  So they can enjoy their filthy stinking wealth.  And even though they’re richer than most we leave them alone.  Because they support liberal causes.  Even if they don’t believe in them.  Even if they’re Republicans.  Or closet-conservatives.  Even if they vote Republican once they enter the voting booth.  For as long as they act like a liberal on the outside of the voting booth people will leave them alone.  And they will be free to enjoy their filthy stinking wealth.

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FT132: “To settle CEO pay once and for all we should peg it to the pay of athletes, the Hollywood elite, musicians and authors.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 24th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Sports Stars only Work Part Time yet they Earn almost as Much as CEOs

It’s open season on rich CEOs.  From the Occupy Wall Street movement to the Obama Campaign attacks on Republican candidate Mitt Romney.  CEOs are too rich.  They don’t pay enough in taxes.  And they hate children.  Because they oppose higher tax rates on their income.  Which can only mean one thing.  They hate children.  At least if you listen to those on the Left.

So how well paid are they?  Well, they are paid well.  But not as well as some well-paid rich people.  Especially those typically associated with the Left.  High earning sports stars.  High earning Hollywood elites.  High earning superstars in music.  And high earning authors.  There are some conservatives in these fields.  But it’s hard to know who they are.  Because they tend to hide their politics to avoid undue attention on themselves.  Whereas liberals can be as outspoken and as critical of conservatives as they wish and never bring any undue scrutiny on their incredible high earnings.  Why?  It is the great unspoken rule in being filthy rich.  If you are an outspoken liberal you can be as filthy rich as you want and you will never hear an unkind word about your obscene wealth.  So let’s look at some filthy rich people.  Let’s look at the top 10 annual earners in the following sectors (see links above for source information):

Of the sectors shown CEOs are only richer than sports stars.  But not by much.  Which says a lot about the earnings of sports stars.  For sports are seasonal.  They have off-seasons.  And yet they make almost as much as CEOs.  Who work year round.  But other than the part-time sports stars the filthy rich CEOs are less filthy rich than the Hollywood elites, superstars in music and authors.

No One says that Musicians Earn too Much even though they Earn More than CEOs who Earn too Much

The median household income at the end of 2011 was $ 51,413.  Some may say this is rich.  If you’re making minimum wage perhaps it is rich.  But it’s a long way from those noted above.  Interestingly many of these people will say CEOs earn too much.  Some may even say these sports megastars earn too much.  But not many.  Few if any will criticize Hollywood elites, superstars in music and authors.  Even though they live a far better life than they could ever imagine.  Why?  Because these rich people say they care for the little guy.  And support Democrat candidates for office.  Which, of course, takes the spotlight off of their obscene wealth.  And they can insulate their lives from the policies of Democrats.  Which tend to be anti-business.  Including high taxes.  A complicated tax code.  And high regulatory compliance costs.  So CEOs tend to support Republican candidates.  Who tend to fight the anti-business policies of Democrats.  Because they hurt the businesses they’re responsible for.  Which, of course, makes them look greedy.  And like they hate children.

So how do these filthy rich people compare to the median household income?  Like this:

The sports megastars are the pauper of the group.  They only earn 780 times the median household income.  Musicians are the filthiest of the rich coming in at 1,701 times the median household income.  Meaning the average income of the top ten superstars in music equal the median income of 1,701 households added together.  Another 687 households more than the average income of the top ten CEOs.  Yet people say CEOs earn too much.  But no one says that musicians earn too much.  Even though they earn more than those who earn too much.

If CEOs are Overpaid then so Must Everyone who is Paid More than Them

People tend to pick on CEOs.  Because they are highly compensated.  Not as highly as musicians, the Hollywood elite or authors.  But highly.  They get those high compensations for a reason, though.  A few bad decisions at the top can ruin a successful business.  Whereas the CEO who consistently makes good decisions will make a business grow.  Creating wealth.  And jobs.  At the CEO’s business.  And all the businesses that feed into it.  Thanks to the stages of production.  So a good CEO can create a lot of economic activity.  Wealth.  And jobs.  Not to mention a whole lot of tax revenue.  Which fund all those Democrat programs.  Including the ones for children.

The other filthy rich create jobs, too.  And wealth.  But nowhere near what a good CEO can create.  For few of them are singularly responsible for building their industries.  Unlike a John D. Rockefeller.  An Andrew Carnegie.  A George Westinghouse.  Or a Steve Jobs.  These people changed the world.  And put hundreds of millions of people to work through the years.  Compared to the limited economic activity a pop star creates.  A movie star.  An author.  Or an athlete.

So a CEO creates more wealth and jobs for others than most filthy rich people.  And they create more tax revenue at all levels of government than most filthy rich people.  So one would think they would deserve higher compensation for all the good they do.  But no.  At least according to those on the Left.  So what would be fair?  Call them musicians?  Movie stars?  Authors?  If so then we could even pay them more.  For no one complains about their high compensation.  Or should we cut their pay?  As well as musicians, movie stars and authors?  And sports stars?  Pay them all less.  For if CEOs are overpaid then so must everyone who is paid more than them.  Of course that probably wouldn’t go over well with the athletes, the Hollywood elite, the musicians and the authors.  So perhaps to settle the CEO pay issue once and for all we should peg it to a weighted average of the pay of athletes, the Hollywood Elite, musicians and authors.  So the amount of compensation just doesn’t matter anymore.  Because they will be as filthy rich as the people the Left has no problem with being filthy rich.

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FT115: “If you like the arts vote Republican because corporations need profits to make charitable donations.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 27th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Starving and Suffering Artists

There’s a reason starving artists are calorically challenged.   There isn’t a large demand for them.  One of the greatest Post-Impressionist painters, Vincent van Gogh (1853- 1890), sold only one painting during his lifetime.  He suffered bouts of depression.  And in the end killed himself.  He was a man that truly suffered for his art.  He existed for his art.  And died a failure.  Of course, that was then.  Now if you stumble across a van Gogh in your parent’s attic you can probably retire early.  And live very well.

Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the park with George is a musical based on Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–1886).  The musical is a multigenerational piece.  The story is part fact and part fiction.  In the first act Seurat loses his girlfriend, Dot, to Louis the baker because he can provide for her.  Unlike the starving artist.  Well, that.  And the fact that his art can’t share the artist with anyone else.  Though Dot leaves George with something of his.  A daughter.  The second act opens with George’s great grandson displaying his new sculpture and schmoozing with rich people who can fund his next work.  Because art costs money.  Like everything else in life. 

Georges Bizet was a French composer who died young.  And a failure.  At least he thought so.  During his lifetime he did not earn much of a living from his skills as a composer.  Instead he made a living by transcribing other people’s music.  Working long hours.  Through depression and ill health.  In his last years he completed an opera unlike any of the time.  He was very proud and pleased.  But, alas, the people and critics weren’t.  Shortly thereafter he died from a heart attack.  A young man of 37.  Sure that his works were as great failures as was his life.  But history lamented the early death of Bizet.  For his last opera, Carmen (1875), is one of the greatest and most beloved operas of all time.  And packs opera houses around the world whenever it’s performed.

Art Belongs to the Wealthy

Artists not only starve.  They suffer.  And it’s often their suffering that produces their greatest art.  As their art provides an outlet for their pain.  Which keeps them going.  At least for those who don’t quit life.  So when they can’t find rich patrons to fund their art they hunger and suffer more.  For it isn’t the poor who buy their work.  Not when they’re struggling to put food on their own tables.  Leaving them with little if any disposable income.  No.  Art belongs to the wealthy.  Some modern art has changed this.  Such as the music industry.  Where musicians can sell a work of art millions of time.  Something that just wasn’t available to van Gogh, Seurat or Bizet.  Though in the world of digital music some artists are experiencing what it was like during the times of van Gogh, Seurat and Bizet.  Where people copy their music from others instead of buying it.  Though their starving and suffering today is not quite what is was in the days of van Gogh, Seurat and Bizet. 

Also different today is that many artists don’t have to die before we recognize their talent.  Today you can make millions from your art.  While living to enjoy those millions.  Which for many is the goal of their art.  Today the artists live like the rich patrons did in the past.  Who didn’t create art.  But enjoyed it.  And paid for it.  Making art possible.  Today all it takes is to be popular.  You don’t even have to be good.  If you can ride a wave of popularity the people will shower you with money.  Which is a heck of a lot better than having to please a king or queen.  Or the rich upper classes.  So some artists are doing well.  These new artists.  While the old ones continue to suffer.  Well, not so much the old artists but the venues for their old art.  Where some things never change.  For this art is still the art of the wealthy.

Anyone can buy a ticket for the cheap seats at a symphony orchestra or an opera.  And they do.  Rich.  Middle Class.  Even the poor.  But these people aren’t patrons of art.  They enjoy some of it.  But not all of it.  They may buy a ticket for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  Or Bizet’s Carmen.  Or a showing of Post-Impressionism including van Gogh and Seurat.  So they’re less likely to buy season subscriptions.  And even less likely to make generous donations.  No.  These people enjoy a nice night out or two.  They don’t immerse themselves into the art.  Which is a problem.  Because art costs money.  Especially the ones with symphony orchestras.  Whose musicians tend to belong to unions these days.  Making a season of symphonic music very expensive.  As is a season of opera.  Which is even more expensive because they have very expensive singing talent.  Sets.  And all the people behind the scenes to make it all work.

Corporations and their Shareholders typically make the most Generous Donations to the Arts

Chances are if you went to a symphony or opera during the Great Recession you noticed some things.  For the recession caused great hardship for the arts.  Because when people lose their jobs they don’t buy tickets.  Or make donations.  When a corporation is losing money they make their donations less generous.  Or stop making them altogether.  Simply because the economy is so bad that their sales are down.  And they’re bleeding cash.  So just like people who lose their jobs cut out the nonessentials like vacations or going out to dinner, corporations have to make cuts, too.  Employee benefits.  Jobs.  And charitable donations.  Governments, too.  As unemployment rises more people fall into the social safety nets.  Unemployment benefits, food stamps, housing assistance, health care, etc.  Less economic activity brings in fewer taxes.  While the recession put more people into these programs.  They have to cut something.  And programs for the arts are high on their list.  Because human physical needs take precedence over spiritual needs.  For people can die if we don’t meet their most basic physical needs.

Art is a business.  Members in an orchestra don’t play for free.  Or cheaply.  If ticket sales and donations are down orchestra members may be unable to get the contracts they want.  And go on strike.  The orchestra, opera or ballet may shorten the season to cut costs.  And, of course, they will ask you for money at all times of the day and night.  Before performances.  In your email.  On the telephone.  Everywhere.  They’ll even approach you in a parking lot if you once made a donation but haven’t in the current year.  They will do this because people don’t universally love their art.  At least they don’t love it as much as they love their football, baseball, basketball or hockey.  Whose players have gone on strike.  But their seasons never lived or died from the affect of the economy on their rich patrons.  For sports is a business, too.  Only one with a far greater audience.  Which makes fundraising easy for them.  While it’s difficult in the arts.  For if just one corporate sponsor is struggling to survive bankruptcy and doesn’t contribute as they had in the past it could put the artistic business into bankruptcy.  Especially if they are already heavily in debt.  Which many are.

People in the arts eschew capitalism.  They say it is cold, harsh, cruel and callous.  That it’s all about profits and money.  Which they say is wrong.  And disgusting.  Not like their noble world of the arts.  Which is warm, caring, loving and nurturing.  For music has charms to sooth a savage breast.  As do the other arts as well.  The only problem is that so few people enjoy them.  Which means like in days of yore art still must rely on the generosity of rich people.  And corporations.  To make those big charitable donations.  Without which art cannot survive.  And what do rich people and profitable corporations need?  A healthy economy.  A free market economy.  That generates jobs for everyone.  Giving more people disposable income to try different things.  Like the arts.  And makes fat profits for corporations and their shareholders.  The people who typically make the most generous of donations to the arts.  The rich who don’t have to work.  And need something else to occupy their time.  Such as the arts.  So if you like the arts vote Republican.  Increase the pool of disposable income.  Where all charitable donations originate from.  So the rich patrons can pay for the Carmens of the world as well as the more obscure works no one has ever heard of.  Because these people love the arts.  And immerse themselves into them.  Giving life to more art than ticket sales alone could ever generate.  So thank these rich people.  These lovers of art.  And help them give us more art.  By letting them make money to give away.  And not demonize the thing that lets them do this.  Capitalism.

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