Comments about ‘Is the 1% greedy? Study says yes’

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Published: Sunday, Feb. 2 2014 12:10 a.m. MST

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Plano, TX

Thou shalt not covet.

Laura Ann
Layton, UT

I admire people who get rich by doing so honestly. The question really is: Is using the money to help others more important than getting rich? Making money is great, but those who are willing to use that power to help others are on a higher moral ground. It is hard to judge someone unless you know them. I do know this: It is wrong to covet someone else's material wealth. Serving others is truly the highest gift one can give. Each of these wealthy people have the agency to do as they like with their wealth. To take that agency away is stealing, in my opinion. (And the scriptures, too.)

Bountiful, UT

Having been poor in ones lifetime doesn't guarantee a person will have empathy. Look at Glen Beck.

Salt Lake City, UT

"He said that the main findings of the study were that rich Americans would rather reduce deficits by cutting entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare instead of raising taxes on the rich." Not only that, the wealthy want to and have largely succeeded in chopping private pensions to pieces.

Those of us who are concerned about wealth concentration are often criticized as being "covetous." I deny being such. My opposition to the 1% is based on their determination to destroy all types of support for retirees like me. I think the 1% sees retirees like me, drawing a pension and receiving social security, as a drag on their profits. The 1% want guys like me dead, and the sooner the better in their view. So my view of the 1% is not due to covetousness on my part, rather it is based on my own instinct for survival.

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

What a flawed and ridiculous conclusion to draw from this study! To conclude that wealthy people are "greedy" because they support certain political and fiscal policies is absurd in the extreme. Greed is not defined this way. Well-considered opinions on what constitutes wise government fiscal policy may not support the measures the survey authors obviously consider "compassionate" or "generous," but those opinions are just as valid as any. And they have nothing to do with greed.

No One Of Consequence
West Jordan, UT

Wow. What a bunch of hooey! Talk about a biased world view...

The wealthy create jobs, provide venture capital, endow scholarships and make other charitable contributions.

Of course they don't favor having government shake them down for redistributionist schemes.

Santa Monica, CA

What a lovely spin most of the posters on this thread have weaved. The 1 per centers aren't greedy! They only want what's best for everyone! And they worked so hard for what they have. Every single one of them. Now, you want to talk about greed? How about all those lazy people who think that the government should help our poorest and help make sure our kids are educated? Seriously, folks...get real. The state of utah takes cow towing to a whole new level. The rich aren't waiting on pins and needles for you to join their club. This thread reminds me of the house slave who saw himself as special and tsk tsked at those no count field hands. Folks, that guy was still a slave. And what's more, you aren't going to be having dinner with the one per centers any time soon.

Brigham City, UT

"The property of this country is absolutely concentred in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downwards. These employ the flower of the country as servants ... They employ also a great number of manufacturers and tradesmen ... But after all there comes the most numerous of all classes, that is, the poor who cannot find work.... I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable, but the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind.... Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.... The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. If for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be provided to those excluded from the appropriation" - Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, Oct. 28, 1785.

Go Utes, CA

Consider the parable of the talents.

Salt Lake City, UT

I am grateful but a little surprised that the Deseret News would publish this study. I applaud the newspaper for their integrity in doing so.

As a former Republican (now conservative independent) I could no longer stomach the attitude of many in the GOP and such selfishness on the part of many wealthy Americans as reflected in this quote from the study:

"the main findings of the study were that rich Americans would rather reduce deficits by cutting entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare instead of raising taxes on the rich".

That selfish attitude runs counter to the teachings of the Book of Mormon as I understand them. While I do not support President Obama in his beliefs about "marriage equality", I certainly believe he is more in tune with the teaching of the Book of Mormon and the Bible when it comes to being concerned about the needy and those with second class opportunities in this country.

That is why in good conscience I could not vote for someone like Mitt Romney who seemed to me to be out of touch with ordinary working Americans.

Thank you Deseret News for sharing this insightful column.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

This article is misleading. The article claims that since these wealthy people are against government-forced redistribution of wealth through taxation, that these people are therefore "selfish". On the other hand, these surveys tell us nothing about these same individuals' private charity! Nor does it acknowledge the negative effects that many of these government social programs have, and which many of these wealthy people understand. This survey does show that many wealthy people support capitalism, which is not surprising since many recognize that when a healthy capitalistic environment exists, it is the best way to give those who are poor the opportunity they need to improve their situation, and it often was exactly that type of environment that allowed them to succeed in the first place. Renowned author Arthur Brooks has observed, "... self-interest is not the same thing as selfishness.... In fact, the millions of Americans who advocate for private entrepreneurship and limited government—whether they are rich or poor—may be stingy when it comes to giving away other people's money through state redistribution, but they are surprisingly generous when it comes to giving away their own money privately."


Granted, some (but not all) wealthy are selfish and some (but not all) poor are lazy. It's a complex issue. Many good points have been offered on both sides. Having lived in France for 4 years I have seen that the nanny state is alive and well there. And I have seen up close and personal how it has stifled among its people, on a broader scale than here, the initiative, creativity and the willingness to work hard. I know plenty of French who are industrious and hard-working. But I definitely observed that their nanny state has bred widespread malaise. I hope we don't end up with that irreversible slippery slope here in the USA. That said, I too have concerns about how much lobbying power wealthy corporations have in the USA, but I have similar concerns about the lobbying power of public sector unions and certain categories within the legal profession. I wish I could offer a magic solution. I doubt there is one, and some degree of dynamic tension on policy issues is vital and useful. The two (or more) sides will need to keep bargaining in good faith for a long time.

the truth
Holladay, UT

The 1$ are not any more greedy than the poorest 1%.

They just as human and have all the same human foibles and weakness and behaviors as the poorest.

Its scary how the left teaches hate and judges others, and wants treat certain others as less human and take from them.

And then hypocritically ascribe those same traits on those others to justify their actions. ( even mass murders, and mass theft, of the French revolution and the Russian revolution, Cuba, Cambodia, china, Lithuania, nazi germany, and dozens of other places that have claimed to impose "equality" described by their leftist ideologies)

I know of no far left government that has ever made the poor rich. No matter the claims of how they are for the little people. Only the leftest leaders have ever gained anything.

If you want to truly change the wealthiest 1%, or the poorest 1%, they only true way is change hearts, their is no other way that doesn't lead mass murders and mass impoverishment, great loss of freedom and liberty.

Long suffering Love is the answer, teaching hate and to take is not.

high school fan
Huntington, UT

As for me and mine, I do not want to be taken care of, I just want the government to get out of my way and I will take care of myself.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

I agree, Mr. Barker, that people who "lust after the wealth of others" are greedy.

But, that greed goes both ways. The company owner who lusts after the labor of his workers, taking a greater portion than s/he is entitled to have, is also greedy and a "taker." If people are turning to governments to help them it is because they have given up on the trickle down that was promised 30 years ago.

Labor is entitled to own their value as much as the richest investor, perhaps more so, since it is all that they have.

provo, Utah

Thou shalt no covet also means you don't covet more than your share of what the Lord provided for the entire human race.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Opposing government programs that have demonstrably FAILED to solve the problem of poverty, and indeed, made them progressively [pun intended] worse cannot be taken as proof that someone is "greedy."

Unless, of course, you are a member of the liberal media, or someone riding in the wagon instead of helping to pull it.

Nor, does this study take into account the voluntary charitable actions of the [evil, greedy] rich people.

This is the sort of agenda driven advocacy I would expect to find in the "other" paper, especially since it lacks the balanced perspective of opposing views, or revealing the actual survey questions and results.

Greed is a very serious character flaw, be it in a rich person, a reporter, or the masses who expect that someone else will give them their daily bread, a free phone, a prepaid credit card, and free housing.

A more telling study would be to survey the attitudes of a random 1,000 people who are living off the money confiscated from the taxpayers of this country. See if they are appreciative and working their way off the dole, or disgruntled that they are not getting as much "free stuff" as they think they deserve.

Grand Rapids, MI

"Increasing the minimum wage" would make income inequality worse, not better. The same with expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and government jobs programs for the unemployed. The entire premise of this article is wrong.

Ed Grady
Idaho Falls, ID

Rich conservatives clamor about America being a "Christian" nation when the issue involves something like gay rights, same-sex marriage, etc. However, when the issue involves feeding the hungry and clothing the poor, these same people all of sudden become Social Darwinists.

North Salt Lake, UT

Nosea said:
"The 1% would like to re-write the scriptures as well, to say: "where much is given much more should be given, and where little is given much more should be taken away" versus actual scripture: "where much is given much is expected." ..."

That is a disturbing distortion of scripture. Using taxes to force people of means to "give" is not at all what those scriptures are saying. To "give" implies using our free will to do something good. We live in a free country where we reward innovation, not punish people for being successful. Undoubtedly there are people who in a Scrooge like fashion oppress others to tilt the odds in their favor to accumulate more wealth--just as there are poor people whose "eyes are full of greediness and will not labor with their hands". There is no simple solution for the problem of economic inequality. But for the majority to vote to force-ably redistribute wealth from the minority is *not* a good solution either from a democratic or religious perspective. This would have lots of unforeseen consequences, and it bothers me to see LDS scripture used to justify such a position.

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