A Special Request for Margo Howard

Are we living in a new age of robber barons? Our esteemed columnist sounds off

I received the following letter from a reader, which I felt compelled to respond to at length. I’ll be interested in hearing your reactions:

Dear Margo: “This is not about your ‘Dear Margo’ column. I was hoping you would write your thoughts on wowOwow.com about the economy —  not as an economist or columnist, but as a person of means, and as someone who also works for a living when you don’t need the income.

Do you think we are in the new age of robber barons? Are the CEOs and CFOs of billion dollar companies fundamentally corrupt and without moral fiber? Is the deciding factor individual greed? Does their leadership justify their salary, bonus, and perks? Is the exception Warren Buffett, and the rule Bernie Madoff? Are fortunes in the hundreds of millions of dollars a threat to the middle class?

The reason I’m asking is that the few wealthy people I know believe it to have been their actions alone that brought them all that money. They feel entitled, though for the most part they are trust fund babies. With all the hype, and being of limited resources myself, I don’t know what to believe. So I’m asking you: Is too big to fail too big to exist? — Sincerely, Bill Myers

Dear Bill: Good that you don’t want me to write as an economist, because I am not one … but I knew what you meant. Where to start? This very well could be the new age of robber barons, probably ushered in by the tech boom. I am old enough to remember when being a millionaire was to be considered quite rich. I have also been floored (like you, I imagine) to see so very many identified as “billionaires.” And for reasons I find unfathomable, some of these Daddy Warbucksian characters have no qualms about publicizing that “mine is bigger than yours.”

Birthday parties, for example. Steve Schwarzman comes to mind with his multimillion dollar birthday party. I have never met him or his wife, but I would not consider them desirable friends. Would I seem Victorian if I said I thought them vulgar? I find their display of … everything … to be nouveau riche in spades. (Schwarzman’s wife, by the way, previously dated Henry Kravis, suggesting, at least to me, that she had her heart set on a certain lifestyle.) Lloyd Blankfein is another one who comes to mind. I don’t know Schwarzman’s background, but it has been reported that Blankfein came from nothing – which shows – and perhaps explains the (misguided) instinct to buy, overdo, and flaunt. Interestingly, I know one of the Rockefeller cousins well, and one thing I have always admired about her (and she worked, by the way) is that there was never an effort to be in-your-face about her financial wherewithal. But there was also no need to. I probably have particular antipathy to Blankfein for both the uber-conspicuous consumption he and his wife indulge in, along with some of his statements during the investigation into Goldman Sachs. The very best one was that “he was just a banker doing God’s work.” I would say, “That’s rich,” but it would seem too punny in this context. I am wondering how you get to be a person who even thinks like that. Maybe what he meant to articulate was that money was his god? And not to go all John Simon on you, but he physically reminds me of a lawn ornament … which might explain his insecurities and his need to feel important – which many people these days equate with “rich.”

You ask if these lucky (and I believe often accidental) billionaires are “corrupt and without moral fiber.” I would say they are “morally corrupt,” with the help of their hand-picked boards, because they are grossly overpaid, and often for failing. Their golden parachutes, which really should be renamed platinum and diamond-studded farewell balloons, are a disgrace. Many of these top guns are essentially being paid for failing. It is called “failing up.”

There are remarkably few innovators in the Bill Gates/Steve Jobs mold among the fabulously wealthy. The idea that the Goldman Sachs guys and their ilk could rake it in on derivatives that they knew were dicey drek is beyond appalling. One might even call it criminal – an idea the Justice Department is pursuing. You ask if this is greed. Well, it’s greed plus. When you’ve made a certain amount of money, it becomes a game. My father told me this in the 1960s when he sold Budget Rent-a-car to Transamerica. When you’re making way more than you need to live, and live well, you are playing a game, and the money is how you keep score. I do think this kind of funny money is deleterious to the middle class. (Paul Newman, referring to movie business salaries, also out of this world, referred to it as “fuck-you money.” It is so out of proportion that it loses all meaning.)

We are getting to the point where there may be no middle class. I think it is bad public policy, if you will, when the 1% are living an entirely different life than the 99%. There is something new, different and bad going on that is unlike what used to be the norm with “regular” rich people and those on the rung below.

I disagree with you about “trust fund babies.” Today’s big rich have some of those (i.e., the Koch Brothers) but most of the billionaires positioned themselves, either on Wall Street or in real estate, to make it … and often, I believe, by nefarious means. I didn’t used to, but now I think Balzac nailed it when he said, “Behind every great fortune is a great crime.” And some trust funders, like Ted Turner, to name but one, started with a large inheritance and increased it a hundred fold. The friends you mention who believe their fortunes accrued through their own actions are in many cases rationalizing – because it would be too emotionally harmful to think of things any other way. Who, after all, wants to acknowledge his wealth by saying, “Thanks, Dad?”

So to your question, is too big to fail too big to exist? I would say the thrust of the question is on the money. (Sorry, again, for an infelicitous phrase.) What’s going on now (i.e., the “Occupy” movements worldwide) will change some basic structures: compensation, among them. It seems that things as they have become finally reached a boiling point, and let us hope the revolution is an orderly one. — Margo, earnestly

45 Responses so far.

  1. avatar normadesmond says:

    sounds right to me.

  2. avatar Grace OMalley says:

    While I don’t always agree with every column you post, I have to say that I admire the hell out of you for being so brutally honest.  People may not always agree with your politics, but they can’t fault you for being truthful.  I tip my hat to you Margo.

  3. avatar B.eadle says:

    I agree and disagree. Are the salaries of some of these folks WAY WAY WAY out of line for failure? Absolutely!!! I also know that those people don’t decide on their own salaries. That decision is discussed and voted upon by the Boards of Directors of these various companies. Board members are elected by the shareholders of public companies. They are the ones that should be getting the brunt of all this ill will. They shouldn’t offer up these huge contracts to begin with.

    I disagree, however, with your stance that having a huge party is in some way immoral. While it certainly may seem to be in poor taste, as long as they have the money to pay for it then they should go right ahead and do so. So many of our economic problems were because credit was extended to individuals and corporations that could NOT afford it. If I have a billion dollars and I throw a $5 million dollar party so what. I’m paying my bills and covering costs myself, without a government handout.

    There is also something to be said for taking responsibility for positioning yourself well. Before choosing that underwater basket weaving major in college, maybe you should look around and see if you’re going to be able to afford food on the salary that job is going to get you. I have a regular job, with an average salary in the back office of a company that employs some pretty well of folks. But I don’t resent them for having studied and worked hard in fields that paid more. They positioned themselves well to do well right from the start. If they were smart enough to do that, why should I hold it against them? Most of them didn’t have silver spoon childhoods. They went to local colleges, some of them to state schools. But they selected a course of study that would be in demand and that paid well. If I’m going to be mad at anyone, maybe I should be mad at myself for not following in their footsteps.

    • avatar carol grzonka says:

      since when? most of these big businesses are functioning on government money. whether it was a diectt bailout, huge tax breaks for creating and maintaining jobs (which they promptly outsourced) or importing people from foreign countries via special visas.  i don’t think you can even discount the starvation wages that are being paid so that people have to access gov’t resources for basic survival needs.

  4. avatar Yvonne Faye says:

    Finally, the truth…not the lie.

  5. avatar Miss Lee says:

    Certainly the super rich are totally out of touch with what it takes the rest of us to survive but I don’t think you really have to be all that rich, not to have a clue.  I live in an inner city, working class neighborhood best described as “Little pink houses for you and me” as in the John Mellencamp song.  My brother and his wife live about 20 miles west, in a suburb where the houses are on acre lots.  My sister-in-law recently remarked on how the folks out there really aren’t feeling any pain.  The current economic troubles are just not in their experience and so they don’t have any sympathy.  In my neighborhood, we all have friends and family who are out of work, lost their houses and we all are very fearful, waiting for the next tide to take us away.  Many of us have always lived on the edge of disaster and now see whatever promise of a safety net being blithely yanked away by those who don’t need any help.  I believe that we are seeing only the beginning of political unrest in this nation and unless the haves start to care out the have nots, many of whom used to be comfortably middle class, things will get much rougher in the near future.  Fearful people do fearful things.  Next summer could be very long and hot.

  6. avatar chipgiii says:

    The reason I’m asking is that the few wealthy people I know believe it to have been their actions alone that brought them all that money. They feel entitled, though for the most part they are trust fund babies. With all the hype, and being of limited resources myself, I don’t know what to believe. So I’m asking you: Is too big to fail too big to exist?— Sincerely, Bill Myers

    Wealthy people haven’t corned the market on feeling “entitled.”  That permeates all classes. 
    Many tend to take too much credit for their success, and not enough for their failures.  Perhaps that is just human nature. 

    Those making obscene amounts of money, including Warren Buffett, are rarely worried about the same day-to-day struggles as the rest of us.  I doubt Buffett wakes up wondering if he will be able to make the car payment at the end of the month. 

    And the recent 60 minute interview with the author of Steve Job’s biographer clearly shows that Jobs was a bit of a tyrant in his own right.  Perhaps he didn’t live as a billionaire, but he certainly wasn’t the most warm and fuzzy person either.  Just ask the garage partner he had who Jobs refused to give any stock…. 

    Hollywooders often make obscene amounts of money too: 20 million for a movie made in a few short months?  That’s kinda nice.  And yet they seem to get a pass, as do some very wealthy atheletes.  In fact, the only obscene rich people are those we don’t like politically, or don’t know.  Of course, everyone is leading the “hate the wall street gang.”  I’ve often wondered what people in hollywood think of huge amounts of money they receive for “pretending” to be someone important; or what a ball player thinks of his income for hitting a ball with a stick? 

    Meanwhile most of us fortunate enough to have a job are often doing things much more important than pretending, or hitting a ball. 

    The top 1% certainly live differently than the other 99% – but then the bottom 1% do too.

  7. avatar Lila says:

    Margo, I agree. You touched on several of my peeves, including obscene money for “failing up.” I don’t see why we pay these goons $40 million or so to run a bank into the ground. I mean – I could do it cheaper than that!

    The Bush tax cuts were patently unfair in that they deprived this country of significant tax revenue during the exact same period we have been engaged in two major wars. the supposed reasoning at the time was that – among other things – if the rich had more capital freed up, they would generate jobs and feed the economy. HA! What tripe that has proved to be. In addition to the ultra-rich feeling an often undeserved sense of entitlement, they also see no need to “give back” in the form of taxes, despite the fact that our country and our business environment made their success – or continued income – possible. And then on top of that, there is the class of ultra-rich who have made millions off of losing other people’s money; not just the Madoff scam but all kinds of failed investments, bad loans, and underwater mortgages as well. This pretty much describes parasites, doesn’t it? Thriving at the expense of others?

    We are not quite to French-Revolution status yet but the natives are getting restless. And this kind of inequity between the have-alls and the have-nothings is EXACTLY what brought down the French nobility.

  8. avatar Deeliteful says:

    I have been rich and I have been poor – rich is better. Who can deny that?

    Here’s my position. I grew up lower middle class, but didn’t know that until I was older. I thought my family was average. My father was blue-collar and my mother was a homemaker. We had enough to eat and clothes to wear. My parents saved all year for a 2 weeks vacation for us. I never felt deprived.

    I grew up, went to college, went to work and then got married. My husband and I worked hard. We exceeded our parents in income in mere years of what it took our parents to acheive. That’s part of the American dream. right?

    We had a child. We continued to build our future. Hubby far exceeded our parents’ dreams. Never once did we forget or take for granted our blessings. Thru no fault of ours we lost everything, including our marriage.

    Even if you do everything right, something can go wrong. I spent the last 20 years in recovery; then I lost my job a few months ago. I’m 60 y/o; where do I go from here?

    I’m not looking for sympathy, just understanding. Yes, I was once part of the upper 1% and I gave generously to family, friends and others. I’m not looking for acolades since most was given anonymously. It would take way too long to explain my background. Part of the lower 1% again, I just don’t know how things are going to turn out.

  9. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    Well, I have no idea who these people are that Margo thinks are flaunting their wealth too much. I  have never heard of the people she named  but I do think that given the economic times it is pretty foolish and unseemly to be flaunting wealth no matter whether you earned it honestly or just happened to win the lottery in the gene pool or at the local 7-11.  I don’t even know what *rich* is anymore.

    I do know that making someone who is profoundly *rich* poor is not going to make me rich.   I’m sure there are many profoundly rich people whose money is ill-gained but I do know people who have worked very hard and taken risks and become successful honestly.  And it really isn’t my business how they choose to spend their money.  I can and do tsk tsk behind my hand at people who want to flaunt anything, including money, but they are entitled to spend it how they want to.  

    As for those in the suburbs not suffering, I think that we don’t know what is going behind closed doors of many of our neighbors and friends these days.  Admittedly, I only know average Joe types of people but nearly everyone I know has suffered to some extent in this economy.  I can empathize with Deelightful because we are not so far removed from her story as are friends of ours.

    I’m not sure the income disparity has changed much over the years.  Nor have the morals.  There have always been the profoundly rich and the profoundly poor.    Perhaps the media, which has always idealized the wealthy (remember those Cary Grant movies in the depression years) having become so much more saturated and reaching so many more people, makes it seem so.  Certainly the media (and I’m not exempting this website) exalts wealth and fame.  

    I don’t see any upside in speculating about the potential felonies or misdemeanors of the rich. If justice is done, as in the Madoff case, then I’m all for it but I’m not going to assume that every rich person, no matter how much they violate societal proprieties, is some sort of villain.  

    I’m just going to try to keep my own modest nest together and enjoy family and friends while I have the health to do so.    


  10. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    The robber barons of yesterday stole from the poor to give to the poor. The robber barons of today steal from the rich to give to themselves.  The robber barons have moved on to the casino and rigged the roulette wheel.  And are raking it in.  As for their “Marie Antoinettes” they have taken vapidness to new levels of vulgarity.  As for justice in the Madoff case, well, there is no justice for those who will get little back. And as someone pointed out not long ago, Bernie Madoff had a stellar reputation for over 30 years. So if you couldn’t trust him, makes you wonder who you could trust. Had made a lot of money for a lot of people until he lost a lot of money for a lot of people and thought he could win it back by playing roulette.  The real crooks are not in prison. The real crooks are serving in the cabinet and on commissions in the Obama Administration.

    • avatar Anais P says:

      The new robber barons are also stealing from the working class by laying off people so they can save on their wages and benefits and thereby make even higher profits. I would be interested to hear if these rich people the writer knows are ever asked how much they donate to help their fellow man or how many jobs they have created, since those Bush tax cuts were to benefit the “job creators.” I’ll bet those rich friends would answer nothing and none. Margo, thanks for your response. These people who are lucky — and that’s what it is, luck, to be a trust-fund baby — enough not to worry about their next meal are morally empty.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        Morally empty and mentally vapid. Their entire sense of self-worth as opposed to net-worth can be summed up by the maxim most Americans live by, or hope to live by, which is “I have, therefore I am.”  Even with billions, some are still not.  

  11. avatar chipgiii says:

    It just occurred to me that our First Lady is spending obscene amounts of the taxpayer money on vacations, even listing family as staff to avoid having to pay out of pocket: isn’t that obscene?

  12. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Here are few quotes before I get started: “Various sociological statistics suggest the severity of wealth inequality “with the top 10% possessing 80% of all financial assets [and] the bottom 90% holding only 20% of all financial wealth.” —wikipedia, via Hurst, Charles E. Social Inequality: Forms, Causes, and Consequences, 2007

    And: “The Wealth Distribution In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2010).” –UCSC Sociology Dept. Updated 2011

    I do so hope that everyone can read this for comprehension. These are both based on sociological studies over a number of years. I was careful not to use sources that were heavily biased either way.

    I do not give one damn about the personal excesses of individuals, nor are these things in any way limited to that top 20% of the wealthy. Since we’ve touched on them, can we talk about the following…the simple country folk who are on government subsidy (read welfare), but have a $60,000 truck (polished to a mirror sheen that’s never seen a day of work) a $2000 TV or two, satellite, an extensive firearms collection, and a matched pair of $20,000 ATV’s? Who supports the Tea Party and Revisionist History, and depending on location, has a confederate Flag on everything (there are plenty of this genus up North too), but bitches incessantly about not being able to “provide” for ten kids, or get medical care, or a job…the very things the people he supports will continue to prevent him from doing.

    Let’s talk about Black people (I am not PC, and these are American Black People…or I’m an Italian/Polish/German/Russian/Jewish American…because generationally I’m much closer to Europe than most “African Americans” are to Africa. And Africa is a continent…not a country. Semantically, and geographically, a ridiculous, PC bit of nomenclature, and one not a single Black person I know uses) in a certain segment of society who spend ungodly amounts of money on status symbols such as designer clothing, gold, platinum and diamond “grills” and jewelry, rims, purses and shoes…and consider themselves entitled to free everything because they are oppressed by white people. People with no jobs, and a completely warped society. The people who, after Katrina, turned down perfectly good, brand new underwear for their children because it wasn’t designer. People I knew…people who would be labeled die-hard liberals (like me)…saw this. They’re mad at Obama too, a lot of these Black people. He hasn’t conquered the White oppressors for them.

    Let’s talk about a vast number of my immediate neighbors. Like me, they are far from that top twenty percent. Unlike me, they have $50,000 SUV’s that gets 9 mpg…highway. With two children, no trailer hitch, and no car pool in sight. Jetskis, ATV’s, and that $32,000 Harley Davidson Special Edition Trike that they have professionally hauled to meets so as not to ding the finish. Three wide screens in the house, $400 cell phones for everyone…and a righteous anger if mom with her $200 hair cut and $300 streaks gets pulled over for running a stop sign while she’s texting her daughter about this blouse she saw on sale at Neimans and actually gets a ticket.

    All of the people who gun their motorcycles up and down my quiet street because they feel entitled to do so. All of the people who stop traffic for 25 minutes for a time on main roads on Saturday nights, and Sundays, at least twice a day, because church is letting out, and they’ve done their duty to their god…now they can inconvenience everyone else while they rush home to backyard blow outs and foot ball parties. All of the people who want retain the status quo because they don’t understand that the middle class is shrinking…and suffering…and it isn’t parties, and toys. They’ll vote Republican, even for an insane woman like Michelle Bachman, just to keep things the way they want them, to keep their status symbols and their fun.

    The entitlement is astounding. These people will all suddenly be looking around saying, “Where did it all go?” when they realize that their taxes have crept higher and higher, and their lives have become impossible. Because of their entitlement. Because of avarice. I am not a radical liberal, (no one who believes in both the Death Penalty and the right to bear arms is a radical liberal). I am not a Democrat. I vote independently, based on wading through mountains of information each election, and critical analysis…not media demagogue talking heads, religious fanatics or campaigns speeches written by manipulators. Barack Obama has made mistakes…but he is not a critical failure. The only person who can possibly run against him is Mitt Romney (there isn’t a single, solitary Republican candidate besides Romney who I would not consider at best incompetent, and at worst clinically insane, dangerous and a theocrat)…and I am convinced that there will be a split ticket if he wins the primary, with one of the mad brigade running on a third party ticket. I don’t trust Mormons (Mormonism, per its history, is an enormous cult, based on science fiction, formed by a confidence man and criminal, that bears a striking resemblance to Scientology. Do a comparison sometimes…it becomes quite clear. Beta clear, to coin a phrase), but Mitt Romney is a terrible Mormon, just as Barack Obama is a lousy church-going Christian. Or Muslim. My personal feeling is that he pays lip-service to religion, and is an Atheist. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking.

    In the end, I don’t think we’re actually suffering from outrageous moral decay, just better media coverage. At the Palace at Versailles, the wealthy royalty defecated in the halls, on the marble floors, and waste matter, corpses and rotting food was piled against the outer walls. No one bathed…ever. And games of sexual intrigue that ended in agony and suicide were a popular pastime. In China, the wealthy bound the feet of girls into reeking five inch miniature monstrosities. The stench of bound feet was utterly appalling, but to the aristocratic men, it was considered an aphrodisiac like no other. Everyone knows about the French Revolution…but one really ought to read Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth” to read about what happened to China when people had to watch their children starve outside of elaborate walls for lack of a spoonful of rice…while the rich got stoned on the smell of corruption.

    It IS coming people. I am not an End of Days doom-sayer. But the times are in need of changin”.

    • avatar chipgiii says:

      Not so sure I agree with a lot you write, but this was the most refreshingly honest post I’ve read in ages! 

      “In the end, I don’t think we’re actually suffering from outrageous moral decay, just better media coverage.”

      I’ve wondered that a million times: is it better media coverage?  or, is it the media bring more attention to the specific so to speak?  Remember the rant of Howard Dean?  The media played that so much one would have thought the guys was a loon.  Reallity was that it was a single exhuberant, maybe silly, moment in his political career – that doomed him.  I struggle to know what is media accuracy, overkill, or tantalizing news for viewers….

      • avatar snowwhite4577 says:

        This may sound really ignorant, but you kind of lost my attention when you needlessly shouted out black people.
        There are people of ALL cultures/races/ethnicities, etc. who do the things you mention here. So I am not really sure why you did that.

        • avatar Briana Baran says:

          “There are people of ALL cultures/races/ethnicities, etc. who do the things you mention here.”—snowwhite4577

          Well, I guess you missed the part in which I specified a certain element of black society, just as I mentioned my mostly white neighbors, just as I mentioned a certain element of rural “poor”. Commonly referred to as “rednecks”, or alternatively, “white trash”. I do believe I also came down without mercy on “boomers” and Generation X-er’s. I was being absolutely honest. I did not use any pejoratives. I was not needlessly singling out any group, nor was any minority my first, or primary example.

          So, based on your reply, either you have knee-jerk reactions to anything that might indicate that persons possibly belonging to a “disadvantaged group” can make insanely poor decisions and be irresponsible and lack accountability, or you have difficulty with reading for comprehension…or you really are ignorant about today’s society as a whole. Having read your later post, I am inclined toward the first. The “poor” are victims, and the “rich” are victimizers. I’ve been so poor that I’ve worked for less than minimum wage, doing a job “that Americans wouldn’t do”, with absolutely no money left at the end of each month. None at all…and no food-stamps or government aid. I was smart enough not to get pregnant (if all else fails, even if you’re married, abstinence is your friend…and I’m no Christian), walked to work because we only had one working car (which I fixed myself…and yes, I’m female), and we ate .69/pound ground beef, cheap spaghetti and .50/dozen eggs for weeks. That kind of poor. I’ve never been rich, but I’ve known plenty of wealthy people, and not all of them were as described here. Quite a few gave, a lot.

          I am what most people would describe as liberal. I fully support absolute separation of church and state, a completely secular public school system, absolute equal rights for the LGBT community (including, but not limited to marriage, insurance, adoption, hospital visitation, etc.), womens’ reproductive rights…including freedom of choice, an actual working universal health care system, and even the legalization of pot. Some of these apply to me, but some do not. But, I did say that “most” would call me liberal. I do not support “gun control”. I am absolutely for the death penalty, and yes, there have been a number of cases in which guilt was indisputable, and I could have pushed the button. I support one appeal only for such cases, and an expeditious carrying out of the sentence. I don’t believe in god, so don’t ask me who I think I am. I already know, and, again, yes, I’m sure. I absolutely think that we need to slow the flood of illegal immigrants into this country: by fining every soccer mom $10,000 for every under-paid and over-worked undocumented maid, cook, yard man and laundress she hires. The same fine should apply to roofers, construction foremen, factory owners, slaughter house owners. I think that $10,000 per person might sting a bit, actually. Yes, Americans will do those jobs. In Texas, thousands of people are bitter and furious because they can’t hire on at chemical plants and construction sites for jobs because they are being filled by undocumented immigrants being paid a third of the usual wage under the table, who are uninsured and receive no benefits. Women will clean houses, and there was once a highly respected society of black gardeners (not just yard men, professional gardeners and landscapers) in Houston that has been destroyed because it’s much cheaper to pay illegal immigrants a few dollars. I don’t blame the people who come across the border…they need the money. So, instead of aiding and abetting the more than corrupt, dehumanizing, terrorizing government of China in making cringing, helpless demoralized dolls out of its people…why not send our factories (if we must outsource) to Mexico? The young people there are anxious to stay and better their country, to stop the infestation of drug cartels, and to destroy the corruption. They are our nearest neighbors. If the jobs were actually there…and rich people stopped hiring for a pittance here…they would stay.

          A better border presence is also necessary…but not for poor Mexican people. Or even drug runners. That would be for the other people who come across the Southern Border. And to stop the Southbound flow of firearms…from here. O, and those Drug Wars? Do you honestly think that those poor people coming across the border are using all of that cocaine, heroin and pot? I’d wager that would be comparatively well-off Americans. Just a guess.

          I don’t base my opinions soley on my own needs, or wants, or objectives. I try to see a bigger picture. If my honesty is an issue, o well. It isn’t just white people, or rich people who can be corrupt, entitled, useless and disgusting. Just my thoughts for the day.

          • avatar chipgiii says:

            Again we are ideologically at odds (pretty conservative here), but this is good stuff!  Agree or disagree it reeks of honesty. 

  13. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    Oh Margo I so enjoy reading you. And should I ever get the chance to see you in NYC again, as I did this past year at Michaels, I will indeed introduce myself to you as you invited me to do so. I agree with much that you have written here. I also agree with Baby Snooks regarding the Robber Barons of old versus the current ones. However, and this is a small thing, I do have a problem with dressing down the folks who throw large galas/parties. Firstly, yes, it is vulgar. Shockingly vulgar considering what most Americans, the Count included, are going through economically. However, when one puts on these shindigs, a lot of people are employed. Caterers, florists, waiters, event planners, etc. These people are suffering too, as who can afford their services these days? So I don’t have a problem with them doing it, vulgar as it is. Though I will make one last comment to the men who throw these things to get press: 1) It will not make you taller 2) It will not increase the size of your penis. XOXO

    • avatar Baby Snooks <