This thought process for me began when I read in the paper the other day that the most recent Powerball Jackpot winner was in South Carolina. It did kind of suck for me personally that it was some guy in Lexington and not me, but it was certainly a good day for him.
If that person had taken the lump sum distribution, after taxes he would have had $123 Million Dollars, a rather princely sum.
I began to think to myself "Self, what would I do with $123 Million Dollars?"
One of the first thoughts that floated to the top was the idea of getting 50 Cashier's Checks for $1 Million Dollars and giving those to 50 people I know. I mean why not right? Even after that gesture of generosity I'd have $73 Million Dollars free and clear!!
Given that this would be roughly 1800 times my current net worth, I think I'd be doing ok.
When you stop and think about it there are only a few real classifications of wealth.
- Poor. These are the 49 Million Americans who rely on Food Stamps to feed their families.
- Making Ends Meet. This is where I fit. I don't need government assistance to survive, but I am living largely paycheck to paycheck.
- Middle Class. These are people who have enough left over to save a little.
- Affluent. These are people who have quite a bit more left to save, and at this level of wealth you see people making personal lifestyle investments (luxury car, vacation time share, etc)
- Wealthy. Anyone with a net worth over $1 Million Dollars. If you qualify for this distinction, you are wealthy compared to the overwhelming majority of Americans.
- RICH AS FUCK!!!!® This is a special classification that requires more explanation.
Imagine yourself as an individual who just turned 20 with $100 Million Dollars net worth or greater. Now, imagine that you could turn that net worth into liquid assets. COLD HARD CASH. Now lets imagine a game where you are limited to spending no more than $500,000 of your cold hard cash on any given thing. You cannot donate to charity either. Think of this as a modern reboot of the movie "Brewster's Millions."
It doesn't take too much pondering to realize you'd have to be the most colossally irresponsible person in the world to go broke before you reached your 80th Birthday.
At this level of wealth, wealth itself begins to lose its meaning. And, as you move further up the wealth ladder, this trend continues.
Look at Bill Gates. At an estimated net worth (at this moment) of around $72 Billion Dollars, he's had to establish a charitable foundation to deal with this specific problem. The William F. Gates Foundation was established to allow him, and other participants such as Warren Buffet, an avenue to do something meaningful with their wealth.
But it goes beyond merely adding meaning to wealth. This is essentially a structured effort to get rid of wealth, not only in a meaningful way, but in a practical sense. It's difficult to figure out WHAT THE FUCK to do with such an obscene level of wealth. At this level, wealth is little more than an abstraction on a spreadsheet, similar to George Carlin's idea of the "Bigger Dick Theory Of Foreign Policy" except applied to economics.
And the problem here is a much greater issue than merely avarice. When you note that the Fortune 500 comprises wealth greater than the GDP of entire countries (like Russia), and contrast this with how we've let Detroit descend into the kind of town Mad Max wouldn't want to visit, you begin to realize that we've lost the ability to understand what wealth even is.
So here's my plan. At the moment in America there are roughly 29,000 Individuals with a net worth greater than $100 Million Dollars. Nearly 600 of these people have net worth greater than $1 Billion Dollars. Doing some quite conservative napkin math gives me a great idea.
Have all 29,000 of these RICH AS FUCK!!!!® people give away 1/3rd of their net worth in $1 Million dollar increments to non-wealthy people. No need for complex and expensive tax attorneys. No charities at all. No need to even liquidate your assets. Just give it away in the form it's already in. Let the beneficiaries figure out what to do with it.
I feel that many amazing and positive things would happen, but I can guarantee with 100% certainly that two things would happen, and they are the most important facts to consider.
1). You'd create around 2.1 Million new Millionaires in this economy. Let the absurdity of that number jiggle around in your skull.
2). Everyone who gave? Would still be RICH AS FUCK!!!!®
Other things that would happen?
1). Incalculable billions would be SPENT INTO THE ECONOMY. I can guarantee you that 2.1 Million random out of the blue new millionaires have some bills to pay, and they'd be paid off like a motherfucker!!
2). Real investment would occur. New homes. New cars. Helping that wacky cousin with his new business idea. An Ivy League education for your kids, etc...
3). Charitable contributions would increase.Drastically. Why? Because people who have a real sense of what money *IS* would have disposable worth.
4). You could guarantee millions less on government programs.
5). You could guarantee millions more real jobs.
What would not happen?
1). There'd be no need for new taxes. Real people spending real money have better things to do with their time than dodge taxes.
2). No need for new regulation.
3). No need for angst ridden new political parties who really like tea.
But *ONLY* if such a thing could actually happen. And it can't....and won't.
We have an obscene amount of wealth in our country in essence held hostage by social, cultural, political, and economic ideologies. Forty years worth of bad ideas got us here. Until we can drastically change the zeitgeist, no amount of anything is going to make a significant improvement in how things currently are.
p.s. If any RICH AS FUCK!!!!® individuals come across this blog and disagree with me, don't waste time trying to debate me. If you fail to see the brilliance here, you obviously have some overarching reason to believe you "deserve" to be so obscenely wealthy. In actuality you're just a greedy self righteous prick! :)