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Wealthy speak a different language

Perhaps I’ve written too frequently about the immoral, growing wealth inequality in our country. I hadn’t received too much response, but recently received one from one of the culprits in my estimation — one of the richest of the rich.

He made the case for the wealthy elite; they are acting as role models for Americans seeking the American dream. Could we continue to brag about the Golden Dream of America if we didn’t have unusual examples? Without media and eye-catching examples, wouldn’t we be perceived as making false claims.

He is selflessly establishing and setting a role model for strivers of the American dream.

In our conversation, I tried my favorite response about Jesus and his feeling about helping those in need — feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick and visiting those in prison.

It didn’t faze him; he said he is not religious, and repeated the value of living and breathing unusual examples for promoting the American dream.

I tried my second justification — reducing the growing wealth divide and the great number of Americans now working and living in poverty. He gave me the usual position of the wealthy — the Reagan famous and fictitious story of the lady driving up in a Cadillac to pick up her welfare donations — too many suckling on an overburdened nation. Dead beats need to get off their butts.

I tried the last on my list — why not cut off the excess examples of wealth: Five and 10 bedroom homes in splendiferous, gated communities, vacation homes in exotic locations, large yachts with a plane on the outer deck, money in Cayman Island tax havens, hiring professional tax experts to get legislation passed for lowering their taxes and more. I even mentioned reading something about art rental tax havens in Switzerland and other spots. There’s no end to selfishness.

He merely repeated the need to set motivational examples for Americans who could be doing much more for themselves with sufficient effort.

I asked him if he couldn’t agree to some maximum wealth on the top end. Couldn’t the wealthy be just as happy with only $50 million a year? He said that I evidently had just missed his point totally. A role model has to be adjusted upward.

How high does a mountain have to be for a mountain climber? There is no end to it. Once the highest mountain has been climbed some other more physically demanding challenge is necessary.

He told me in conclusion that I evidently didn’t really understand the role of role models — seeing is believing. Talking won’t carry the day with ambitious Americans wishing to live a glorified existence and with sufficient examples of foundation good works that they support. Many foundations now have tax advantages too, but those were only more motivational examples on that ladder of achievement.

Good works are important showpieces, but extravagant personal examples appear to be a most necessary aspect and motivational tool.

I believe he left me thinking that with my limited understanding of the capitalistic system, there was, obviously, no hope for me.

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@