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An Open Letter to America’s Really Rich People

In Politics on September 15, 2010 at 11:21 am

Dear People With Several Times More Money Than Me,

We have had our differences.  There were those nasty incidents back in college when I was all hopped up on Marx and proclaimed mostly non-ironically that we should “eat the rich.”  I also used to have a Che poster and have used the term “capitalist pig-dogs” on more than one occasion.  Sorry about that.  I feel differently now, but I believe in getting the elephant in the room out of the way.

Especially because now I (and indeed, all of America) kind of needs your help.

Our economy is not doing so well.  Yes, we’re recovering, but rather slowly.  A while ago, when the stimulus was passed, I hoped that one of my favorite economists was wrong.  Paul Krugman said over and over again that the stimulus was going to be too small to get the economy going,  I love Krugman, but in this case I really, really hoped that he was wrong.  Incorrect.  Not on it.  Erroneous.

Alas, it seems like he won that Nobel prize for a reason, and the stimulus really was too small.  We need another one, but there presently isn’t the political will for such a thing.  If the government isn’t going to start feeding the economy, then the demand is going to have to come from somewhere else.  In this case, you guys.  You massively rich humans who go to sleep on beds made out of Benjamins and have doorknobs that cost more than me.  You guys are sitting on approximately ten bazillion-bajillion dollars of wealth, and that money really needs to be spread around.

As yourselves:  Do I have every XBox game ever made?  Does my cat own enough sweaters?  Are there enough melon ballers in my life?  Do I really own enough blenders?  Is my life really complete if I don’t have my very own sushi franchise?  I can tell you right now- the answer is no.

Rich people, for the sake of us all you need to do what you do best- spend.  Spend widely and freely.  Spend with abandon and excess.  Spend because the rest of us can’t.  Go out to eat and order dessert.  Tip your server well- they will put that money into circulation, trust me.  If you’re eyeing a new gadget, go ahead- buy it.  Buy the pro version, even.  Get yourself a new set of drapes.  Or a summer home.  Or a velodrome.  If you happen upon some crazy entrepreneur with a wacky business model, go ahead and invest in her idea.  Who cares if it doesn’t work?  You’ve provided much-needed liquidity.

Would it be nice to live in a hippie-utopia zero-growth economy not dependent on consumption in order to sustain itself?  Sure.  That’s not the world we live in, though.  In the meantime, us normal people really need you guys to start being profligate and excessive for the sake of America.  I wish that we could have another stimulus- a nice big one that incorporated high speed rails and alternative energy.  That would be fantastic.  But, I know it’s not going to happen.  In the meantime, though, while the rest of us are doing less than awesomely it’s up to you, rich folks.  It’s up to you to spend and spend and spend until we’ve got money again.

So when you go out to Restoration Hardware and buy a bagload of artisinal hammers, remember- you’re not just helping yourself.  You’re helping us all.  You’re doing what’s right for America.


-Joe Streckert

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