In one of the weirder twists in our national discussion about leadership, the Republican party has been attacking their own front-runner on being too effective a capitalist. They want him to release his tax returns to show how the rich guy in the field has been paying taxes at an intolerably low rate (he is now indicating his millions of income have him paying somewhere around 15%, right about where Warren Buffet came in when he suggested that Billionaires shoulder more of the national debt crisis).
There have been huge–and hugely popular–articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal detailing Mitt’s deals as CEO of Bain Capital in which he bought companies with leveraged, fired a bunch of people to cut costs, and then sold those businesses at a huge profit before more than one company when broke.
It’s almost as if the Occupy Movement has invaded the Republican Party to start a popular revolt against wealth itself.
I may or may not be a supporter of Mitt Romney’s politics but I don’t buy the idea that just because he is rich he is evil or a bad candidate for President. As I pointed out in “I Hate Rich Guys (Or Do I?)”:
In 2001, just after making a fortune on the Internet bubble, I bought a brand new metallic blue Porsche convertible loaded with every available option. I had to wait for my car to be built according to my specifications. A few days after it was finally delivered and was safely in my garage, I found myself walking down Newbury Street in Boston, a high-end shopping district, and happened to see some other guy driving exactly the same car. “What an asshole,” I caught myself muttering as my instinct was to loathe the driver of such an extravagant vehicle until realizing that if he was an asshole, then I must be one, too.
Goodness, it turns out, is independent of wealth. So too is leadership. We probably want a President who has been successful. We might very well want to think long and hard about our tax code and the distribution of wealth in this country. But just because you are filthy risk doesn’t mean you are capable of great things. Looks at Steve Jobs, or the Gates Foundation, or even the great sage of our time Mark Cuban who encourages us all to:
Make a boatload of money. Pay your taxes. Lots of taxes. Hire people. Train people. Pay people. Spend money on rent, equipment, services. Pay more taxes.
When you make a shitload of money. Do something positive with it. If you are smart enough to make it, you will be smart enough to know where to put it to work.
I don’t care what anyone says. Being rich is a good thing. Not just in the obvious sense of benefiting you and your family, but in the broader sense. Profits are not a zero sum game. The more you make the more of a financial impact you can have.
Entrepreneurs are needed to create and grow companies to absorb those people in new jobs. If entrepreneurs don’t create those jobs, the government ends up having to spend more money to help them one way or another.
So be Patriotic. Go out there and get rich. Get so obnoxiously rich that when that tax bill comes , your first thought will be to choke on how big a check you have to write. Your 2nd thought will be “what a great problem to have”, and your 3rd should be a recognition that in paying your taxes you are helping to support millions of Americans that are not as fortunate as you.
I’m not saying that the government’s use of tax money is the most efficient use of our hard-earned capital. It obviously is not. In a perfect world, there would be a better option. We don’t live in a perfect world. We don’t live in a perfect time. We live in a time where the government plays a big role in an effort to help lead us out this Great Recession. That’s reality.
So I will repeat my point. Get out there and make a boatload of money. Enjoy the shit out your money. Pay your taxes.
It’s the most Patriotic thing you can do.