The Anti-American Dream

Today, it is just as popular to be focused on ideas of income inequality and socialism as it is to be focused on the trappings of capitalism and the grandiose lifestyle depicted daily on social media. Everyone is focused on the haves and the have nots today.  So much so that the impact  social media has had on generations of people has created a disconnect between reality and fantasy.   But there is a distinct difference between striving to be successful and hating people just because they have more. 

              Some pundits today argue that is no longer acceptable to want to achieve the American Dream while others cannot.  To go from having nothing, to becoming successful in one generation is now frowned upon.    Part of the issue of course is the social inequality argument that corporate managers, technology inventors and other market disruptors have so much more than most, even very successful people earning high six figure incomes.  Why is that?  Well we could discuss that for months to come as there are multiple factors that can be attributed to it.  

              From the likes of Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, there are many more technology inventors that have done well, just not as well as these people.   You see, with the constant daily usage of social media, everything everyone does is basically at our fingertips, in our faces and plastered all over the world.   Entertainers and professional athletes have made fortunes of money for playing their sport, acting, singing, and promoting who they are for generations.  There is nothing new there other than now a celebrity can be on a reality television show or a social media influencer and make seven to eight figures annually.  The whole concept is based on how many followers you can garner and how much you can promote products and services.   Let us face it, advertising and promotion have permanently changed. 

              Even with all of that though, it is now a popular concept to look down upon the titans of corporate empires as in today’s world chief executives of the world’s largest companies make an average of 320 times what the average worker makes at the same company.   What no one tells you though, is that that calculation is typically based on an individual’s net worth is not just from a salary it is from capital appreciation of stock ownership.  Meaning, they started the company, so they have a ‘founders’ stock position, which translates to a large percentage of ownership of the company and/or they are a seasoned corporate executive and manager who was given options to purchase stock in the company they help run at different price levels.   These individuals are compensated based on their overall contribution to the value of the company they work for. 

              Now which one of us reading this would not sign on the dotted line if the board of directors of Tesla wanted to hire us to fill some position?  As well you would have the ability to be represented by the best employment/compensation consultants and lawyers that would get you the best deal you could get.   The same as if you were the number one draft pick in the NFL and you were signed to a team for a large bonus with a tiered package of compensation that was directly related to how well the team did in ranking and statistics.   Or the movie star that takes less of an upfront salary but takes equity or
‘points’ in the movie, based upon its popularity and profitability.   So, if you are Robert Downey, Jr. and you are amazing at playing Iron Man in the Avengers movies for Marvel/Disney, and were insightful enough to take a well negotiated deal, whereby your share of the profits is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  Should we hate you for that?  Should we care?  NOT AT ALL. MORE POWER TO YOU.

              What is interesting is it seems to be ok to pay a baseball player $50,000,000 to play a game they have been playing their whole lives for free, or to pay an actor hundreds of millions for continually acting in a role, and to charge hundreds of dollars for a concert ticket so you can see an artist sing live.  But if you invent something, go through blood sweat and tears to build it.   Spend every waking hour building it.   Giving up your life to do it, and then by luck your business takes off and you, owning a large piece get to make a fortune in stock value appreciation when it goes public; how in this world is that a bad thing?   But it is ok for the Kardashians and the Jenner’s to be worth a couple of billion dollars for makeup, clothing and let’s be candid, discussing their life on camera for many years.  (Or a sex tape but that is a whole other story)

              Do not get us wrong, we at the Institute take our hats off to reality tv stars,  social media influencers as well as we do sports stars, actors and music artists.   They have all done something to deserve being paid what they are being paid to do what they do, make no mistake about it.   They also all have had or still have their own personal journey that none of us know and can judge.  We are sure life is not simple and easy as the press, social media and gossip makes it out to be.   Yes, even successful people have to deal with disappointment, set back, pain, anguish and tragedy. 

              How these possible outcomes became a bad thing, is quite strange and bizarre and I am sorry, makes no sense.   Anyone who grew up in the United States or came to this country as an immigrant has had the same chances to go to school, get an education and/or be able to achieve success as a technological entrepreneur, singer, song writer, actor, lawyer, accountant, newscaster, influencer, reality tv star, or business owner.  

In our free society it is none of our business how you achieved your success.  No one can judge you for making it big in whatever way you have.    It is not the system that is flawed or the people who are successful that are wrong, it is the counter intuitive on contradictory concepts that are suspect.   Just ask Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who recently wore an outfit to the ridiculously expensive Annual Met Gala, where it costs $30,000 a ticket to get in, that stated ‘Tax the Rich’.   Because somewhere it became ok to look down upon people for achieving success and amassing great wealth.

 It does not ever occur to people like Representative Cortez that Mr. Bezos’ company employs tens of thousands of people full time and part time people.  It also does not seem to register that these large businesses that did not exist twenty-five to thirty-five years ago did not exist.   These are technologically advanced businesses or have, in the example of Amazon disrupted every market.

              Shame on the world for giving our young people a contradictory message.   Take it from us you can achieve success and still be charitable doing the right thing by others even though you are in the top 1% of the income earners in this world.  It is also ok to achieve as much success as you deem is necessary for you.   If money was not an important factor in life, things would be for free, and taxes would not be based on your income level.   All things in our society revolve around payment for products and services, so the concept that the pursuit of wealth is something that is not normal, is completely flawed.  One would have to restructure everything in the economy to change the paradigm that capitalism is based on.  We are a free-market economy which means we can get compensated, sell a product or service or value something based on many factors.    

              You all keep right on working on your American Dream and respect to those that have achieved it in one form or another.    The masses do not really hate you after all….  Despising you is just a form of flattery.  In all actuality most just want to be you…..

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