A wealthy American's advice to his peers: Let's stop hoarding opportunity

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  • Kim Cedar Park, Texas
    Nov. 16, 2017 4:20 a.m.

    bass 679,
    Great comments.

    Thoughtful people realize that their success is a combination of luck and work. No one is suggesting that they send their children to poor schools to experience the worst. The answer is not to pull down the good, put to strive to improve conditions for the worst. There are many organizations striving to help those less fortunate.

    Large inheritances to children in many cases is the worst thing that could happen to them. Leave your wealth to a foundation or non profit that will do some good in the world.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2017 12:42 p.m.

    After doing silly financial things like teaching math, pounding nails, and driving trucks, I realized that our society disproportionately rewards investors over workers!

    This hunch was correct, only the foolish punch a time clock, the real rewards go to those who understand how to utilize capital to gain income without all that hard work!

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Nov. 14, 2017 8:26 a.m.


    He has had 1 job in the 4 years that I have known him. He worked for 1 week and then my father-in-law went in and quit for him. Yes, he couldn't even quit the job himself. My in-laws provide for him and in the event of their deaths he will have a home (on a lake) and a stipend to take care of him.

    I don't want my son to turn into that. Even worse, I don't want him to think that because of MY hard work, he somehow deserves a free ride. I would much rather the money spent to keep my idle brother-in-law afloat was providing education or training to someone who would appreciate it and contribute to society.

    I don't know how to do that, I don't think it's an easy problem to solve and I don't know the answer but it IS a problem.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Nov. 14, 2017 8:19 a.m.

    This is actually something that concerns me greatly. I grew up poor, like... we didn't always have enough food to go around poor. I have been homeless twice, once as an adult. Currently I reside in the top 5% income bracket. I got here by hard work and luck in fairly even measure. Had I not been lucky all the hard work would have not amounted to much. Had I been lazy I would have squandered the lucky breaks.

    Knowing that a whim of the economy could eliminate my economy always sits in the back of my mind. It is a driver and a motivator. I have no idea how to pass that on to my son. Clearly as a responsible parent he will never have to worry about a roof over his head or food on the plate. Sure, I can teach him the value of a dollar, the difference between want and need. But he will, at least until he moves out, probably never truly have needs unmet.

    My wife comes from a much more affluent family and her brother is pretty much be embodiment for every entitled millennial stereotype. He doesn't work, he just games and goes back to school for a semester or two every few years but it never results in a degree or a job.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    Nov. 14, 2017 8:02 a.m.

    How many of US put our money where our mouth is? Or, for that matter, put our money where our "post" is?

    Just asking.


  • Max Upstate, NY
    Nov. 14, 2017 7:55 a.m.

    My dream was always that through my hard work and innovation that my kids could be born on third base. What is wrong with that???

  • Common sense conservative Herriman, UT
    Nov. 14, 2017 7:29 a.m.

    1. Individuals who become wealthy typically get there by working hard, creating companies, and thus creating opportunities for others. This is the opposite of hoarding.
    2. Google charitable giving of conservatives vs. Liberals. You'll see who puts their money where their mouth is.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2017 6:18 a.m.

    So, at least he picked actual zero-sum examples--placement in colleges and land use.

    But as Vermonter points out, our most basic (and beneficial) aspect of human nature plays out here--our desire to give our children the best we can.

    No matter what he says, he's not going to live with his young family in a neighborhood with bad schools and a lot of crime so as to reduce the "advantage" of living in a nice area. He's not going to tell his children to forgo a great education because their family name might have helped get them in.

    And why should he? Would you? I'm going to give every advantage I can to the people I see as most likely to not squander them--my kids. Anything else is a recipe for disaster.

    But hey, as long as he isn't using the government to try to force the creation of this mythic species that denies its own desires because strangers tell them to, more power to him.

  • Common sense conservative Herriman, UT
    Nov. 14, 2017 6:08 a.m.

    Politicians in DC know what's best for us better than we do. Too much reward for hard work just isn't fair. Those of us born with all the advantages know that we really don't deserve all our success, because we didn't really earn it. We were born on third base and think we hit a triple. The federal government really should decide what's fair, and everyone should be equally taken care of. Rather than invectivize our own hard work and ingenuity, the government should help us focus on our neighbor. If he has too much, we need to this injustice to be corrected. I was happy with my life before reading this article, but now I think I've got it all wrong. I do have a nice house but my neighbor's is a little bigger. That's not fair! The audacity of him...to hoard all that money he earned and not give some to me. He obviously had more advantages at birth than I did.I could go work a little harder today to correct this injustice, but instead I'll just wait for DC to swoop in and take from him and give to me. That will instill a good healthy sense of pride and self worth for me, knowing that I brought my rich neighbor down. Justice served!

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    Nov. 13, 2017 11:55 p.m.

    Well Gary O, you have narrowed it down to 400 families but still havnt provided any real dollar numbers.

    I have no problem with having an Estate tax with a reasonable amount money exempted. What is that number? It currently is $10M I think and might be doubled by the new tax bill.

    As regards wealth, I asked that income numbers be given because I dont think that income of $200,000 for a family is "too wealthy". No need for that family to lose out on child tax credits. lower social security payments, or other federal benefits etc.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Nov. 13, 2017 3:12 p.m.

    I appreciate your post, and plead guilty as charged. But, there is something to be said for "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy, i.e. hypocrisy.

    As for the counter-argument you could not find in my first post, see my second post on Vietnam and Cambodia. I recognize that I am citing extreme examples. But, its hard to deny that one stated goal of the leaders of those countries in those days was to stop the opportunity hoarding that is the central point of Reeves thesis. And, even in less extreme examples, is the notion that we are only doing unfair things to individuals to a lesser degree an adequate justification for collective action?

  • Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 13, 2017 2:26 p.m.

    @Vermonter, "If Reeve's cannot pass these deeply held values to his children and have them act on these values, then he will be a moral and ethical failure as a parent."

    You just exemplified the ad hominem logical fallacy with your comment.

    From wikipedia: argumentum ad hominem, is an argumentative strategy whereby an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Nov. 13, 2017 1:01 p.m.

    Hey Back Talk -

    RE: "Would be nice if liberals would use income levels rather than just complain about “classes” all of the time. Maybe they could help define what 'too wealthy' really means. "

    After Reagan slashed the estate tax and gave other huge tax breaks to the wealthy, America's wealth disparity steadily climbed to the current unsustainable level.

    "According to PolitiFact and others, in 2011 the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.[22][23] Inherited wealth may help explain why many Americans who have become rich may have had a substantial head start.[24][25] In September 2012, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, over 60 percent of the Forbes richest 400 Americans grew up in substantial privilege." - Wikipedia

    THAT is "too wealthy."

    By the way, instances of huge wealth inequality have presaged bloody revolutions since the beginning of time.

    Wealth inequality is what gave power to Communist revolutions.

    THAT is "too wealthy."

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    Nov. 13, 2017 11:22 a.m.

    Would be nice if liberals would use income levels rather than just complain about “classes” all of the time. Maybe they could help define what “too wealthy” really means.

    Upper Middle Class- as a definition of wealth, dies that mean over 250k a year? Is it $150k? How about net worth? Should savers be punished for trying to save for retirement or for the benefit of grandchildren etc? No.
    Save the criticism for people who have far in excess of what they need.
    I agree with the problem of Legacy acceptance in private colleges. However, other critters should be close to the same.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Nov. 13, 2017 11:22 a.m.

    Hey Mind Baggage -

    "If you want fix this problem. Start with reducing an overly involved government. If government power is reduced, it gives us all more opportunity."

    A weak government gives billionaire vandals, brigands, and gangs of thugs more power.

    We don't need that.

    And don't forget, the very purpose of the U.S. Constitution was to greatly STRENGTHEN our central (federal) government, because the Articles of Confederation had left our nation far too weak.

    It's interesting, isn't it? . . . That America's enemies AND the GOP want a weaker federal government here in America.

    Don't you Republicans EVER get tired of taking the side of our nation's enemies AGAINST American interests?

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Nov. 13, 2017 11:15 a.m.

    The most aggressive and straightforward examples of Reeves' philosophy are 1970s Vietnam and Cambodia, replete with forced re-education camps for society's elites (i.e. doctors, college professors, think-tank executives). Cambodia went a step further than Vietnam with the wholescale "elimination" of those elites deemed un-re-educatable.

    These 2 examples were massively "successful" in virtually eliminating the hoarding of opportunity, and equalizing society in terms of income, education, religious belief, and family relationships.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 13, 2017 10:57 a.m.

    @Flying Finn,
    Your negative analogy of social governments is not consistent with the reality of the happiest nations in the world: the Scandinavia countries and other Socialist nations. Plus the USA is a quasi socialist/captlist nation. And it seems the better half of America is the socialist caring and not the heartless super rich capitalist greet for wealth an control. The world needs more cooperation and less competition. Jesus was a socialist. If the world were to follow his example it may be a better world. Who would you give as a good super rich captlist example to follow.

  • storm3033 Vernal, Utah
    Nov. 13, 2017 10:25 a.m.

    This article is completely opposite view of the DN latest editorial supporting the current tax reform efforts in Congress. Why is the DN in favor of hoarding opportunity?

  • Flying Finn Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 13, 2017 10:04 a.m.

    skeptic - Phoenix, AZ

    "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" - Karl Marx

    Liberals always seem to ignore the fact that in countries governed by socialists there are 2 classes: The governed who manage to scrape by, and those who govern them and live high on the hog.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Nov. 13, 2017 9:54 a.m.

    The article failed to tell us what Reeves and his family are doing about this problem.

    First, hopefully Reeves has no children or extended family to whom his wealth will go when he dies.

    But, if Reeves does have children, they must not inherit his wealth. That just perpetuates the problem Reeves is concerned about.

    Additionally, Reeves' children must turn down educational opportunities after high school. Also, his children must aim to get work that collectivewly pays their household no more than $60,000 per year, and where they report to someone who comes from a disadvantaged sector of American society.

    If Reeve's cannot pass these deeply held values to his children and have them act on these values, then he will be a moral and ethical failure as a parent.

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Nov. 13, 2017 9:51 a.m.

    Interesting article.

    Climbing out of poverty is a marathon. Until you have really seen it up close you wont understand how difficult it is. There are ways of supporting people out of poverty without creating systems of dependency.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 13, 2017 9:31 a.m.

    Let’s hope his message is heard loud and clear. The super rich need to head his message for the good of the citizens and the prosperity of the nation. It is real sad that this good man is the exception and not the rule.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Nov. 13, 2017 9:29 a.m.

    Just another limousine liberal. . .

  • Mind Baggage Bentonville, AR
    Nov. 13, 2017 9:18 a.m.

    Mr Reeves says it all when he says...

    "And I am a new American, so I probably am looking at it in a slightly different way. I would like to understand the new class system as opposed to the old one I left behind."

    Here's the problem-- America was not designed to be a class system. We are supposed to be a classless society. It is not the "upper middle class" that is attempting to create a class society in the US. It is big government and big business. It is the elites in our society. The rest of us are simply trying to play the game as best as we can. The whole idea of class comes from Europe (both the Feudal system and Marxism), not America.

    If you want fix this problem. Start with reducing an overly involved government. If government power is reduced, it gives us all more opportunity.

    Finally, it is crazy to think that parents aren't going to do whatever they can to help their children be "borne on 3rd base." Any attempt to legislate this motivation away could only result in a socialist Venezuela or Cuba.

    And last I checked the working poor in Venezuela were eating their pets and diving in dumpsters. I am not aware of any US poor having to do this in 2017.