America is falling out if love with billionaires, and it's about time.
Many people don't understand what that kind of wealth even means. Most people would consider themselves rich if they had some money left over every month, drive nice cars, live in a nice house, and be able to travel and not think twice about random small Amazon purchases.
In reality, everyone is living one paycheck or chronic illness away from total. fucking. ruin. No one has any cash for anything, it's all charged. No one buys cars outright, it's all loans and leases. No one goes to school without loans. If you step back and for the sake of argument ignore whatever equity homeowners built up in their homes, everyone is underwater and everyone is broke, which means even those of us who are doing better (own a home, have steady jobs with 401s, etc) are one financial crisis away from foreclosure and eviction.
Meanwhile, what does it really mean to be near-billionaire rich? Well, for starters, it means not having to punch the clock. That right there removes ALL issues related to transportation, childcare, work-related stress.
Money-wise, any equity you own, such as stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, etc, will pay dividends. I just got a 2% divident on a Vanguard retirement fund, but it didn't make a dent because I'm broke. But if I had $100M in that fund, the dividend ALONE would be $2 mil.
Now consider you needed a little money. You just sell a little of that stock, pay barely 15% cap gains, buttress that tax with prior year loss carryover and "business-related deductions", and boom, you're paying sub-10% tax, if at all.
That's what people don't realize. Being that wealthy doesn't mean boats and luxury cars. It means complete freedom to tell everyone to go fuck themselves while removing 80% of all common stressors out of your life.
For an average person, it wouldn't take that much to get out of the rat race. Two-three grand a month would be lifechanging. It would mean daycare for the kids, more freedom to go to school, more freedom to work on the house, travel, take care of the aging parents.
IMO the reason some people are poor is not because other people are wealthy. Money is not wealth, rather it is an accounting system whereby contributions to society are repaid in kind.
If a person wants more they ought to think of ways to contribute more. Sitting there in envy will get you nowhere. The options are to either learn to be happy with little (maybe the best option) or find a way to contribute something that people value.
That C&W song about not counting your money at the table delivers a potent message. Thinking about money is a distraction that impedes productivity.
I realized what you were saying many years ago, and spent my whole life working toward eventually eliminating money stressors (all indications so far is that I hit escape velocity financially in July 2017--but I always realize I could be kicked in the teeth at any time). I have been lucky in places, though--or if not exactly lucky, always taking every opportunity from those times I was unlucky...and turning it into luck. (Dad was rated 100% disabled through the VA in 1996, but I had already finished my undergrad program by then, commuting and paying cash for everything as I went. I went back to school after that and used dad's VA benefits, increasing my job prospects and increasing my knowledge base.)
I know Suze Orman always said, "People first, then money, then things," which I've lived by. I know that Christian financial radio dude says, "Live like nobody else...so you can live like nobody else," which I have also done, although I think his religiously-infused view of money is weird. Also realizing that money literally comes from you as a person, and values and economies that are not directly connected to money. I had students just this week who asked me how they are ever going to use "Romeo and Juliet" in their lives. The real answer, as I see it, is far too complicated for them to understand as 9th graders. But reading widely and deeply in college and independently over years and years has given me a very strong sense of empathy--of understanding how others are thinking and feeling, and taking all the best wisdom humanity has ever had to offer. That is the most valuable skill I think anyone could ever have. It creates stability in your life in every way, including financially. Even in investing, the markets are powered largely by fear and greed. If you can master those two emotions in yourself (within a larger context of information and other emotions), and understand them well in others, you will rarely fail. "Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will always be victorious." (Oddly, setting both fear and greed aside seems to be the best way to make money. It also seems to be extremely, extremely difficult to do.)
It’s Capitalism. We’re fed the line that if we do what we’re told, work hard, we too can get rich! And, anyone who’s rich is obviously more deserving than us; cleverer, harder working…
Communism fails due to collective laziness and few incentives.
Socialism is the answer, as practiced in most European nations. Allowing for the perks of working hard or being clever, but limited - so as not to leave the remainder of society impoverished. Shared healthcare, guaranteed education, birth & retirement benefits…
The heydays of Wild West Capitalism have ended, there’s no longer enough to go around when wealth is hoarded by the walled-off few.. We busted Monopolies a century ago, and with societal support & political leadership - we can do it again ~