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Hammertime: Moore’s National Resources

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  • Hammertime: Moore’s National Resources

    Opinion piece by May Katherine Ham

    This week, Michael Moore offered a simple and elegant solution to our debt problem.

    Calling the assets of wealthy Americans a “national resource,” he suggested our problems would all be solved if we could just have access to all that money.

    “What’s happened is that we’ve allowed the vast majority of that cash to be concentrated in the hands of just a few people, and they’re not circulating that cash. They’re sitting on the money,” Moore said. “That’s not theirs, that’s a national resource, that’s ours. We all have this… we all benefit from this or we all suffer as a result of not having it.”

    “America’s not broke,” he told a cheering crowd of pro-union protesters in Wisconsin.

    So, we decided to try Moore’s solution. Laying aside the moral objections to the government simply appropriating the wealth of private citizens, could it work?

    The United States of America has about 400 billionaires. Moore calls them “400 little Mubaraks.” About half of those have less than $2 billion each, and those with a net worth in the double-digit billions is an exclusive club of about 30.

    Still, as Moore says, “there’s a ton of cash out there.”

    The grand total of the combined net worth of every single one of America’s billionaires is roughly $1.3 trillion. It does indeed sound like a “ton of cash” until one considers that the 2011 deficit alone is $1.6 trillion. So, if the government were to simply confiscate the entire net worth of all of America’s billionaires, we’d still be $300 billion short of making up this year’s deficit.

    That’s before we even get to dealing with the long-term debt of $14 trillion, which if you’re keeping score at home, is between 10 to 14 times the entire net worth of all of the country’s billionaires, combined. That includes the all-powerful Koch brothers ($40 billion between them), the all-powerful George Soros ($14.5 billion), all the Walton family (of the Wal-Mart fortune), Steve Jobs, Oprah (at a paltry $2.7 billion), the Google Founders, Michael Bloomberg, and the Mars family (of the candy bar empire).

    So, what if we try to solve a smaller problem? Across the nation, 45 states are projecting over $100 billion in shortfalls, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If the government just redistributed the wealth of the top three American billionaires—Bill Gates ($54B), Warren Buffet ($45B), and Larry Ellison ($27B)— it could solve that problem in a jiffy.

    Of course, the 260-275,000 people employed by Berkshire Hathaway, the 105,000 employed by Oracle, and the 100,000 or so employed by Microsoft, might have something to say about that (to say nothing of the thousands of non-profits, charities, and causes that benefit from Gates’, Buffet’s and Ellison’s fortunes). That’s over 400,000 people out of a job.

    Moore would argue, of course, that those jobs would simply be nationalized and “belong to all of us” after the wealth of their creators is sapped, but who exactly would have an incentive to make Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft, or Oracle profitable if all of the money they made was considered a “national resource?”

    One could also close the state budget gap with the wealth of the bottom 100 or so billionaires, who have but $1 billion and change each. But good luck processing the payment because you’ve just wiped out Paypal’s founder (Peter Thiel, No. 365). Also, the owners/founders of the Colts, the Eagles, the Redskins, the Saints, Campbell’s Soup, Home Depot, and the entire ironic t-shirt empire of Urban Outfitters. Those products, brought to you by the country’s billionaires and currently enjoyed by all of us, would be sacrificed to Moore’s plan to almost pay for the 2011 deficit.

    So, Michael Moore, you’ve wiped out the country’s richest Americans, millions of jobs, and billions to charity. What are you going to do next? Go to Disney World?

    Nope, that’s gone too. The Mouse makes billions, and that money is ours, not theirs.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/11/ha...#ixzz1GP0JRetU
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    he never called for "confiscating" money from the wealthy.
    Nor for redistributing all their assets

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."
    - Warren Buffett
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/bu...y/26every.html

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dlo View Post
      he never called for "confiscating" money from the wealthy.
      Nor for redistributing all their assets
      Ok, genius, please enlighten us what Mr. Moore meant when he said this:

      “What’s happened is that we’ve allowed the vast majority of that cash to be concentrated in the hands of just a few people, and they’re not circulating that cash. They’re sitting on the money,” Moore said. “That’s not theirs, that’s a national resource, that’s ours. We all have this… we all benefit from this or we all suffer as a result of not having it.”
      Originally posted by kontemplerande
      Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
        Ok, genius, please enlighten us what Mr. Moore meant when he said this:

        “What’s happened is that we’ve allowed the vast majority of that cash to be concentrated in the hands of just a few people, and they’re not circulating that cash. They’re sitting on the money,” Moore said. “That’s not theirs, that’s a national resource, that’s ours. We all have this… we all benefit from this or we all suffer as a result of not having it.”
        He means exactly what he said. That we've allowed policies to be implemented that have gradually, over many years, concentrated money into the hands of the few.
        And that the country is not broke.
        which is true

        If you read a little further, he calls for having the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes:

        "But if those who have the most money don't pay their fair share of taxes, the state can't function. The schools can't produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs. That too caused a reduction in tax revenue. Everyone ended up suffering because of what the rich did."

        and nowhere does he call for taking all the wealth away from the "rich"
        or simply appropriating money from them to pay off the debt
        as the article in the OP claims

        Comment


        • #5
          What does "fair share" mean?

          If someone has $1 billion is assets and earns $1 million, what should he pay in taxes? If his businesses lose money, does he get a refund of prior-year taxes.

          Given that billionaires can afford to live anywhere they choose, why would they choose to live in the US if it confiscated their assets?

          Beyond all this, the notion that we can spend our way to prosperity is wrong. We need to create wealth, not dissipate it.
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DAL View Post
            What does "fair share" mean?

            If someone has $1 billion is assets and earns $1 million, what should he pay in taxes? If his businesses lose money, does he get a refund of prior-year taxes.

            Given that billionaires can afford to live anywhere they choose, why would they choose to live in the US if it confiscated their assets?

            Beyond all this, the notion that we can spend our way to prosperity is wrong. We need to create wealth, not dissipate it.
            I don't honestly know what "fair share " is
            and Moore didn't try to quantify it either.

            But I think he is right, in many respects.
            Wealth is being progressively concentrated in the hands of few
            It is NOT trickling down

            They take care of each other (re: Wall Street bailouts, etc)
            And somehow the national discourse is about how "rich" public school teachers are, and that they don't deserve it

            Don't you find it a little odd when you have millionaires like Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, or Republican politicians -- calling for middle class earners like public school teachers to give up more of their money ? Or suggesting that these teachers, fire fighters, etc are overpaid and under worked ?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DAL View Post
              What does "fair share" mean?

              If someone has $1 billion is assets and earns $1 million, what should he pay in taxes? If his businesses lose money, does he get a refund of prior-year taxes.

              Given that billionaires can afford to live anywhere they choose, why would they choose to live in the US if it confiscated their assets?

              Beyond all this, the notion that we can spend our way to prosperity is wrong. We need to create wealth, not dissipate it.
              Did you read that NYT about Buffett.
              I thought this was interesting:

              "Mr. Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.

              It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn’t use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. “How can this be fair?” he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. “How can this be right?”

              Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.
              "

              Comment


              • #8
                When you boil down what Moore said to its simplest terms, he said those rich people have money and we don't. We will just take it because we want it. That is theft pure and simple. What progressives fail to incorporate into their philosophy is human nature. What is not earned is not appreciated. Income redistribution does nothing to advance the human spirit on the contrary it degrades it. The very programs intended to "empower" the masses tend to limit their ability as individuals to rise in society. Without economic freedon there can be no political freedom.

                In the article the billionares listed earned their money by doing something better that anyone else. Why would you want to punish someone for excellence. Rather than punishing billionares they should be held up as examples of how to succeed. I'm not saying that the only definition of success is the amount in ones bank account but it is one legitmate measure of success. Oprah Winfrey is the daughter of unwed mother who worked as a domestic servant. No one handed her her success or her billions. Warren Buffett is the son of a small business man who spent his childhood learning business practices by selling chewing gum and delivering newspapers. He by choice is giving most of his money away as is Bill Gates. The point is that these people have either aquired this wealth by their own efforts or have maintained or increased family wealth and through the process provided millions of americans with jobs. If you punish these people you will not only affect them but you will discourage future entrepreneurs who provide jobs in the future.
                When Society makes war on its police, it better be prepared to make friends of its criminals.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dlo View Post
                  Don't you find it a little odd when you have millionaires like Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, or Republican politicians -- calling for middle class earners like public school teachers to give up more of their money ? Or suggesting that these teachers, fire fighters, etc are overpaid and under worked ?
                  Not at all. They are greedy, but they admit that their philosophy is that people who earn money are entitled to it. Moreover, the compensation these personalities receive is not paid through compulsion and threats to withhold essential services.

                  Teachers and firefighters are no less greedy. When have you heard teachers call for a reduction in salary so that students could have better books and facilities, or calling for some of their salaries to go to poor people? They always want more from the government.

                  And government employees buy Democrat politicians, who look out for the union members at the expense of the public.
                  Last edited by DAL; 03-12-2011, 02:04 PM.
                  Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                  Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How much of his $50 million net worth does Michael Moore give to charity?
                    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DAL View Post
                      Not at all. They are greedy, but they admit that their philosophy is that people who earn money are entitled to it. Moreover, the compensation these personalities receive is not paid through compulsion and threats to withhold essential services.

                      Teachers and firefighters are no less greedy. When have you heard teachers call for a reduction in salary so that students could have better books and facilities, or calling for some of their salaries to go to poor people? They always want more from the government.

                      And government employees buy Democrat politicians, who look out for the union members at the expense of the public.
                      Originally posted by kontemplerande
                      Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        First of all Mary K. Ham is hot...
                        Second Mary K. Ham is hot...

                        Ok, this guy is a commie, which I hate, I hate commies...Why does he want to take other peoples' money?...Commies and haters are the same, the hate people b/c they do well (in this case money), b/c they have more, they more b/c they did something that earned it...I can't stand Michael Moore...Hey Dal, you should have poseted the video on the link...

                        This guy is a weasel, nothing like a millionaires hating on billionaires...If Michael Moore is about the people why do I have to pay to watch his movies?...I'll tell you what, I'll go to Best Buy get a Michael Moore movie, walk out Best Buy and tell the peopel that the movie is a national resource...

                        And what's this about him suing over farenheit 9/11 royalties?...
                        Last edited by Southflaguy; 03-12-2011, 03:18 PM.
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dlo View Post
                          I don't honestly know what "fair share " is
                          and Moore didn't try to quantify it either.

                          But I think he is right, in many respects.
                          Wealth is being progressively concentrated in the hands of few
                          It is NOT trickling down

                          They take care of each other (re: Wall Street bailouts, etc)
                          And somehow the national discourse is about how "rich" public school teachers are, and that they don't deserve it

                          Don't you find it a little odd when you have millionaires like Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, or Republican politicians -- calling for middle class earners like public school teachers to give up more of their money ? Or suggesting that these teachers, fire fighters, etc are overpaid and under worked ?
                          No!...You don't get into the public sector to get rich!...If you want to make money being a teacher, firefighter, cop, ect is not going to help you accomplish your goal of getting rich...Most of these jobs are a calling, especially teachers, police and firefighters...

                          Beck, Limbaugh, O'Riley are "entertainers", like football players, except they don't get paid millions to play a game, but rather to voice their opinions...They have many listeners (aka customers) that are willing to pay, so who am I (or you) to hate on them or their product?...You no liking the content of the product is another story, in which then you're entitled to your opinion...
                          sigpic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Not at all. They are greedy, but they admit that their philosophy is that people who earn money are entitled to it. Moreover, the compensation these personalities receive is not paid through compulsion and threats to withhold essential services.
                            a threat to withhold public services?
                            Cutting budgets for police and firefighters does withhold public services.
                            Even if the public employees submitted to those cuts without complaint
                            Why shouldn't those employees be vocal about the fact that cutting their budgets will reduce services?

                            Do you feel the same when Exxon mobile claims that cutting their subsidies will reduce jobs?
                            I doubt you view them with the same resentful viewpoint for such a statement

                            Teachers and firefighters are no less greedy. When have you heard teachers call for a reduction in salary so that students could have better books and facilities, or calling for some of their salaries to go to poor people? They always want more from the government.
                            actually, all the time.
                            I know many public school teachers who contribute their own time and money to support services to student after budgets are cut.
                            In fact, given that school budgets are often the first target of localities reducing spending, I'd say its the norm more than the exception.
                            all the time

                            And government employees buy Democrat politicians, who look out for the union members at the expense of the public.
                            i see. And if a corporation buys a Republican politician, who pushes for tax cuts for that corporation - then there is no "expense to the public" in that transaction ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No!...You don't get into the public sector to get rich!...If you want to make money being a teacher, firefighter, cop, ect is not going to help you accomplish your goal of getting rich...Most of these jobs are a calling, especially teachers, police and firefighters...
                              exactly. public employees don't take public jobs in order to get rich.
                              All the more incredulous you should be of people who actually are rich, saying that public employees are "rich" and can handle pay cuts

                              I know many quality people who have moved from the private sector into public employment, and accepted pay cuts, in order to have a more stable job, or for job satisfaction, etc
                              The more you support cutting the pay and benefits of the public sector, the fewer quality employees will choose that line of work.
                              You want police forces to be forced to accept lower quality applicants b/c no one else wants to do the job ?

                              Beck, Limbaugh, O'Riley are "entertainers", like football players, except they don't get paid millions to play a game, but rather to voice their opinions...They have many listeners (aka customers) that are willing to pay, so who am I (or you) to hate on them or their product?...You no liking the content of the product is another story, in which then you're entitled to your opinion...
                              I wasn't hating on their product.
                              I was hating on the BS from people like them who claim that cutting their tax burden hurts America.... while cutting the salaries and benefits of teachers, fire, police helps America

                              how does cutting Limbaugh's tax burden, while reducing the pay of public school teachers help this country ?

                              Comment

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