The Difference between the Haves and the Have Mores

by Chris McGinty of

Life is not fair, no matter how
fair we try to make it. Life does have a strong and believable illusion of
being fair though, and this is where we fail as humans to understand what we’re
truly up against. Particularly in the United States, we have this sense of
fairness that states that everyone should have the opportunity to do well, and
by the way, everyone who doesn’t do well with that opportunity should also do
well. And while we’re on the subject, there are those who believe that if some
people do more well than others then those people should be penalized for the
sake of those who did less well. Grammar correct hates that last sentence.

Modern comforts are insane, and
they’ve been insane even as long as I’ve been alive. I’m not even talking about
the internet, or smart phones. I’m talking about clean water and the ability to
travel almost anywhere on Earth in less than 24 hours. If you go back even 100
years in our history, travel wasn’t all that easy, and clean water was not as clean
or available. When you start getting into the ability to talk to people in
video chat long distance, and to binge watch almost any TV show whenever you
want you should realize that life is pretty fucking easy now.
This is why I’m a little confused
by the way that we argue about societal rights on the internet. We have freedom
of speech and a platform for everyone to possibly read what we have to say, and
we use it to talk about how oppressed we are. I mean it. If you are on the
internet for any amount of time you start to realize that everybody believes
they’re oppressed.
The poor are oppressed because
they have to buy the $200 iPhone rather than the $700 iPhone, which they don’t
really have to because there are $30 a month payment programs since the
companies don’t so much make the money on the hardware as the service
The rich are oppressed because
they pay more taxes than the poor do, even though I would rather pay 50% of
$100,000 than 15% of $24,000 any day, because I understand basic math and fixed
White people are oppressed
because everyone believes that they have some undefined privilege, and
non-whites are oppressed because… white people.
Men are oppressed because
everyone believes that they have some undefined privilege, and women are
oppressed because… vaginas. And if you’re not one of those two genders then
you’re oppressed because science only recognizes two genders.
We hear about the “haves and the
have nots” often from the news media, but what they really should be saying is
the “haves and the have mores,” because that’s more accurate. I believe that
here in the US,
we’re one of the least oppressed cultures in the world. We have so much going
for us. You can work a 40 hour a week minimum wage job and have the basic needs
(food, shelter, clothing) covered.
Somehow that doesn’t feel very
oppressed, but the media and the politicians don’t want us to think that way.
The best way to keep a people oppressed is to tell them how oppressed they are.
The best way to keep someone oppressed is to tell them

that they need
someone else to come to their rescue, because this person or group of people
over here has it out for them. No one will ever love you as much as I do.

This is what the media and the
politicians do. Hey poor, 1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth and
they aren’t giving it up. You need me to force them to give you more. Hey rich,
the poor hate you even though you create jobs and give millions to charity
every year. You need me to protect you from those with a selfish spirit.
Have you ever wondered why it is
that non-Hispanic white people make up more than 60% of the population of the United States,
enough to win any given election, but the politicians don’t focus their
messages on white people? Seems counterproductive. It’s because most white
people fit into the category of poor, as we have defined it. You’re not part of
the 1%, you’re being screwed over.
We have so much going for us. We
have great lives. Even without health insurance you can walk into an emergency
room and be cared for. We’re not denied education, which is why the media and
the politicians divide us on the subject of “higher” education. Think about
that for a moment.
We’re being divided as a culture
over the idea that somebody out there gets to take more vacations than we do.
We’re being divided as a culture over the idea that someone gets to drive a
nicer looking car than we do. We’re being divided as a culture over the idea
that no matter what the politicians do, there will always be shit jobs that
have to be worked. Even if everyone had a four-year college degree, we would
still need people to ask if you’d like a new mocha latte yogurt mega shake with
your order.
Life is not fair. It’s not fair
to the starving child born in the rural parts of Africa when there are people
who were lucky enough to be born to a poor family in the USA where
malaria isn’t a common threat. That’s the saddest part to me about the nonsense
that we argue about on social media. We were lucky enough to be born into a
society, or to end up in a society, where social media access is probably more
common than owning a car. Yet we argue and fight over whether or not it’s fair
that some people have to drive a car that doesn’t have an extended warranty.
We’ve had it so good for so long
that I think we’ve forgotten how to be grateful for our basic needs being met.
Let me tell you a story. I’m very opposed to giving money to beggars. In spite
of this, I have sometimes. I’ll get into a weird, weak moment and actually help
someone a little. It’s not that I’m selfish. It’s that if I gave money to
people every time that I saw a beggar or someone on the side of the road with a
sign, I would not be able to pay my bills. They are everywhere; especially, in
some of my older delivery positions where I was delivering on bad sides of
town. One example of this is that a long time ago, I was approached by a woman
at a stoplight while I was delivering. I generally would have just ignored her,
but for some odd reason I wasn’t feeling very cynical that day. I handed her
$5. I probably had to borrow that $5 from my dad later, but I gave her $5. On
my way back from the delivery, I saw her walking out of a convenience store
lighting a cigarette. This is why I’m way less likely to give beggars money
these days. I would later have to wash dishes for a half an hour in order to
get that $5 back, and she wasted it on cigarettes.
This is what I mean by the haves
and the have mores. She clearly wasn’t starving. She clearly hadn’t even gone
without cigarettes long enough to lose the nicotine addiction. That $5 may have
been better spent helping to vaccinate an African child against malaria, but I
unwittingly bought someone cigarettes.
We’re like the bratty child who
ruins their own birthday party because they didn’t get the exact video game
they wanted; and more important, we’re the grasshopper who gets mad at the ant
for not sharing the food. Except that in this particular fable, the grasshopper
has plenty of food, Netflix, enough money to buy weed every weekend, and a
phone for keeping up on Facebook. The grasshopper is just mad at the ant
because the ant can hire a private chef, but the grasshopper doesn’t have
enough money to order Uber Eats every night, so he sometimes has to eat
Right now, in the US, we have a
comparatively low tax rate, and there are no laws that prohibit us from
accumulating wealth. We have two choices how to proceed.
The first is to gradually raise
taxes until we’re at 70% and let the government run everything. The problem
with this is that we’re already against the idea of 1% of the population
controlling 90% of the wealth. Why would we want to give away even more of what
we make? The government is in charge of a lot of the wealth right now. They
want to be in charge of more. They tell you that they wish to create programs
to make life fair to everyone, but in all seriousness, how can they? There are
two ways that things can be made “equal.” One is to give more to everyone. The
other is to take more from everyone. If we start giving 70% of our income to
the government, which option do you honestly think they’ll implement?
The second way to proceed is to use
our incomes wisely, live a lifestyle that is consistent with our earnings, and
start most months in a better financial position than we were the previous
month. This way gives us more in the long run. Our purchases mean more, because
we do fewer impulse buys. As we accumulate an emergency fund, life’s little
setbacks aren’t as devastating. As we accumulate wealth, we’re more empowered
as consumers and decision makers.
If 100 million US workers
saved $10 next month that they would not have normally saved, there would be a
wealth shift of $1 billion. It would be a very small shift in the grand scheme,
but it sure does seem like a lot. If 100 million US workers that currently do not
have any savings were to keep a simple emergency fund of $1,000, it would be a
shift of $100 billion in wealth. And I know this from personal experience, an
emergency fund of $1,000 isn’t really all that great of an emergency fund. It’s
just better than most US workers actually have. It’s sad that if you could get
$1,000 saved, you would be doing better than so many people.
Take back your own power. Stop
living in a place of envy and start living with a perspective of
self-improvement. In the United
States, it is very, very unlikely that you
will ever be a “have not.” You can either sit around lamenting that you’re only
a “have,” or you can work a little harder, save a little more, and become a “have
a little more” continuously throughout your life.

Note: I wrote a follow up, somewhat counterpoint, to my own post to give my other point of view.

Chris McGinty is a blogger who
delivers pizza for a living. In addition to paying income tax, he pays
somewhere around 40 to 50% of his income in child support, depending on how
much overtime he gets, but he still manages to go to concerts and experience
other small luxuries sometimes. He’s had to live with roommates for the last
decade and a half, but somehow he actually feels gratitude for having lived a
reasonably good life.

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