Comments about ‘John Hoffmire: How the rich view the poor’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 30 2013 12:05 a.m. MST

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I really enjoyed this article. I expected it to be blatantly in favor of the wealthy (i.e., the wealthy are so misunderstood; they're more than generous, blah, blah, blah...); the kind of excuses I've heard most of my life. I feel more generous after reading this.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I saw a study recently that examined the charitable giving of the wealthy. It found that while the wealthy give a great deal to their alma-maters and to cultural and arts organizations, they actually give very little to institutions like homeless shelters, food banks, etc. When most of us think of charity we're not thinking of Harvard Business School or the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, yet that is where the charity of the rich tends to go.


I've often wondered if there is a higher incidence of sociopathy among the successful and wealthy. Sociopaths lack empathy. Jonathon Turley wrote about it recently iin an article, "Selfish or Sociopath Does it Make a Difference?" In the article it states:

"1) Sociopaths are charming. #2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. #3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. #4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. #5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and “win” at all costs. #6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent #7) Sociopaths are incapable of love #8) Sociopaths speak poetically. #9) Sociopaths never apologize. #10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth."

My spouse has worked in the corporate world for many years with many different people. It would be fair to say he has worked for and with people who exhibited some/many of these traits.

Church can provide opportunites for people living in different circumstances to associate with each other. However, in places like UT where ward boundaries encompass very small areas this may be less common. Society has become more politically and economically segregated as well.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Amen and Amen.

BTW --
The wealthy who came from poverty, maintained sympathy, empathy, compassionate and were more likely to be charitable than those who inherited everything.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

More welfare, is that what the poor want from the rich? You want more welfare, move to Greece! If you want opportunity to become wealthy by your hard work and being rewarded for your creativity, America is your best. Having said that, the "poor" in America are very rich by most standards of the world! So, if you choose to sit on your backside and whine, America is the best nation on earth in which to be poor!


It is good to have a survey that confirms exactly the teachings of scriptures on this subject.

When the Nephites first were established in America those who became more wealthy than others believed themselves more righteous, a doctrine roundly condemned by God through their teacher Jacob, when he instructed them in the temple.

We are taught of the wealthy: Because they are rich they despise the poor. Exactly so.

King Benjamin well characterized the reaction of the wealthy to the importunities of the poor in that they often say: this man has brought his poverty upon himself therefore I will not help him. Barker 3 perfectly demonstrates this view as do many others on these forums.

The solution is to create jobs for others, if you have the means, in these awful economic times, providing opportunities for all to become wealthy, opportunities that are NOT always there for the taking. Instead of this many wealthy individuals seem intent on "joining house to house that there is no room", buying up cheap properties to flip them and turn them into far from cheap rentals, creating rental "Pottersvilles" throughout this and other states. Sociopaths? Maybe so.

Payson, UT

The story is seriously lacking a discussion of cause and effect.
Could it be that those who naturally have better cognitive ability under stressful situations end up being more wealthy because of this ability?
I find it more likely that those who have less compassion also end up more wealthy. Given two poor people, one who spends most of their time trying to build relationships for the purpose of financial gain would probably be more wealthy compared to one who spent a large share of their time trying to help others in need, whether it helped or harmed their chances of being wealthy.

Also need to remember this is a study, and very likely that some of the rich people were more empathetic or suffered worse cognitive performance under stress when compared to the average poor person and vice versa.

American Fork, UT

The wealthy think that anyone who is poor is poor because they are lazy. They can't wrap their minds around the fact that two people can work equally hard their entire lives and one can succeed and the other may not, that's a completely foreign concept to them. Not everyone can be rich.

Chance, Luck, the particular talents you have been blessed with (A person with a talent for business will be more successful than a person with a talent for the arts), the situation you just happen to be born into, and sure, even divine blessings or intervention can all have an impact on where someone ends up in life. I don't subscribe to the Ayn Rand philosophy that it's all 100% our own work that earns us success in this life. Sure that's a big part of it, but there is much more to it than that. Frankly I am sick of hearing from the far right that anyone who is poor is poor because they are lazy.

Seattle, WA

As I see it, the greatest obstacle to reducing poverty, is that for the most part, charitable contributions to the poor only sustain them in their poverty. Whether it's forced charity through taxation, or some form of philanthropy, it is insufficient.

When those that give understand that the solution to poverty is to help people help themselves, and those who receive earn what they are given, then there is a chance to reduce poverty.

No one has a right to the labors of another. Willing sacrifice by those who have, and willingness to work by those who have not can lead to a society of equals.

Humility, understanding and compassion, with a clear sense of the objectives can make the difference. These are required of both rich and poor.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Thid Barker
The US has one of the lowest rates of mobility (i.e. people shifting from the bottom 20% income bracket as a kid to the top 20% as an adult) in the industrialized world.

The best country to be poor would be one like Germany or Sweden that has a much stronger safety net.

Farmington, UT

One size does not fit all.

That said, too many rich people worry about their investments, the stock market, the effect of daily government actions, etc. They worry about their MONEY more than they worry about others or their opportunity to help the less fortunate.

Conversely, poor people tend to whine and complain that they need more and want it handed out to them routinely without any effort on their part.

The resistance expressed to living a united order type of situation always revolves around person's fear of "I don't want to be poor." When properly implemented, the society gradually becomes rich "and there was no poor among them."

What gets us in trouble in when we determine we don't have as much as someone else (greed, envy and jealousy) instead of if we have enough for our needs. Just because the neighbor has a boat, an SUV, skidoos and snowmobiles doesn't mean we necessarily need them. The same is true of the size of our house, the big screen TV, where we buy clothes, jewelry, exotic vacations, etc. Gratitude for one's blessings is missing from such an equation.

Neither group is particularly happy.

  • 9:02 a.m. Dec. 30, 2013
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LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

I'm reminded of the sinking of the Titanic.

In the ideal world,
those who make it safely into the life-boats, turn and immediately start helping others into the safety of the life-boat too.

In the Telestial world in which we now live,
The rich have made it into the safety of the life-boats,
and then charge rent or a life-time of indebted servatude for other to have the luck or good pleasure to merely hold onto the side of "THEIR" life-boat to survive.

God has gave us the lifeboats,
There is room enough and to spare - as he promised -,
it is the greed of the 1% that is stiffling the 99% of the rest of us.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

The best choices you can make NOT to be poor.

#1: Get married and stay married, and don't have children out of wedlock. The largest demographic of people living in poverty in America are single mothers. Live the law of chastity.

#2: Obtain some marketable jobs skills. The higher paying vocations are technical jobs, not fast food service. Get all the education and improve your marketable jobs skills all you can whenever you can.

#3: Stay off drugs and alcohol. Live the word of wisdom!

#4: Get a job and keep it. Contribute to your employer's productivity and you will become valuable to him/her and will be paid in direct proportion to your contributions.

#5: Pay an honest tithing to your church.

#6: Stay out of debt. People who don't understand interest, pays it! Those who do, earns it!

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

Just ask Sen. Osmond. His new education bills provides an excellent into how the rich view the poor.

Durham, NC

I know many rich, who at a personal level, are very compassionate and charitable people. But there in lies the problem in that we don't treat the problems at individual levels. It is one things to say we cant afford to endless support over 1 million people disenfranchised from the work force. On the other hand, if you look at these same million but at a one on one level, sentiments change dramatically.

Again, anytime you tribe to clump people together into nice little neat piles, you have a distorted view of the world. Whether it be poor and rich, republican or democrat, liberal or conservative, or even christian and non christian - these types of discussions don't paint accurate pictures.

Thats just my opinion... I could be wrong....

Phoenix, AZ

Some very compelling and insightful quotes from the BOM on how to live in a social community of human love equal respect and care. How is it that none of this is exhibited in the hearts or politics of Utah, the center of Mormonism. There must be more to it than that the poor have poor ways and the rich are greedy self-righteous sociopaths.

Tooele, UT

Re: "The discussion over rising inequality in the U.S. has captured headlines . . . ."

Not because it's true, mind you.

There has never before been a time in world history in which the poor and rich of a nation are as indistinguishable as are American rich and poor.

By every important measure, rich and poor Americans are the same. The difference between rich and poor Americans are who don't have access to decent housing, hot/cold running water, indoor plumbing, light, heat, and air conditioning is statistically insignificant.

Rich and poor are just as likely to have access to health care, schooling, transportation, vacations, leisure activities, and sporting events.

Rich and poor are equally likely to have sufficient, good quality clothing and food, starvation being limited to those cases in which a person refuses food, or a crime being committed against him/her.

The fact is -- rich and poor from America's past would likely have a hard time identifying ANY modern American poor, and would call us ALL rich.

Blather about a "rising inequality" is nothing more than a leftist scam to disingenuously spread hate and discontent.

wj, UT

If you think you're "poor", there will be not enough money in the world to change that until you can change that mentality yourself. The victim mentality will never get you anywhere in life.

@LDS Liberal "I'm reminded of the sinking of the Titanic.
"In the ideal world,those who make it safely into the life-boats, turn and immediately start helping others into the safety of the life-boat too."

A terrible example -helping someone into the lifeboat is a one time effort. If the guy you helped decides to jump into the water, would you help him again? Helping the poor is an ongoing effort because unless the person who receive the help make good use of your effort, you're not motivated to do it again and again and again and again indefinitely

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

wj, UT

OK - You don't like the Titanic metaphor.

How about "King of the Hill"?

After scratching and clawing your way to the Top,
You defend your position by pushing, shoving, kicking anyone else trying to reach the top also.

And like money,
No matter how much you have, it's never going to be enough.

God gave us enough, (and to spare),
and just like we do with our own children,
it's a test is to see if we are will and able to figure out how to get along and to share.

one old man
Ogden, UT

procura, only in your fantasy world is this line true: "There has never before been a time in world history in which the poor and rich of a nation are as indistinguishable as are American rich and poor."

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