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March 14, 2012


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Way too political.

And I'm suspect of the 'facts' presented without sources. I'd like to know how many "rich" don't even have a high school diploma or GED.

"The vast majority of the 234 U.S. billionaires whose education level is tracked by Forbes magazine through 1999 finished college; 100 have some form of advanced degree, but 41--that's 18%--never got their college diplomas and two never even finished high school. "

J.R. Simplot and Alan Gerry are 2 billionaires in the US who did not finish high school.

That article is 12 years old but its probably not changed much since then. I doubt there are any newly minted US billionaires who didn't finish high school.

I'm not even sure what his point is about the education levels of rich people. *shrug*

"That is why the single most important economic issue of our time, one that directly impacts the poor and middle class alike, is how we treat the very rich among us."

Wow. I think that sentence there pretty much sums up how wrong this whole series is.

One of the author's comments that really stuck out to me was that "today’s college students are being indoctrinated with the notion that socialism can succeed this time if everyone just works together." I really have know idea where he's getting this from. Is it that college students were featured prominently in the Occupy movement? I've had a non-traditional college career that has taken me a bit longer than it should have, but after attending three undergraduate institutions, I can't recall a single instance of being explicitly or implicitly told that increasing socialism is the way to go. If anything, my own political views have moved relatively much more to the right (though still ending in the center) during my time in school. Even though this is a single point of data, I feel that if some nebulous liberal-socialist force was trying to indoctrinate me, that its effort wouldn't have ended in complete backlash.

I liked the premise of this series, but I find it hard to focus on the good parts when slapped in the face with such rhetoric.

I will concede this article exaggerates.... It is generally not true that most wealthy people didn't finish high school. Most have college degrees, and many have graduate degrees.

However, they do make some good points. I do believe most colleges indoctrinate people into socialism. It's usually a subtle but steady drip feed of information that leads people to believe the only way to fix certain problems in society is through more government. It's definitely pretty blatant in the social sciences & liberal arts (I was a Sociology major in college). It's probably less blatant in business/engineering.

But most college professors are pretty far to the left politically, so even if the bias isn't intentional, it's definitely there. More conservative folks just don't seem to attracted to the academic world.

I think the article is very good but find myself disagreeing with the political aspects of it.

I was born into a very working class family in England, no one in our family's history had ever attended a university, let alone obtain a degree. England was ruled by the aristocracy and the working class were not encouraged to better themselves. The prevailing attitude was that only 10% of the population need education beyond high school.

This all started changing after the soldiers came home victorious at the end of WWII. They voted out Winston Churchill, the conservative (i.e. republican) party leader in 1945 and elected a socialist leader that was the son of a coal miner. The socialist party then started on a program that led to the creation of the National Healthcare System, and started building universities in all of the major towns and cities in an effort to better educate the working class.

This came too late for me, there was no university near enough for me to attend even though I had an excellent academic record. Fortunately there were apprenticeship programs available. I became an aircraft apprentice and 5 years later when it was over in 1956 I had a Higher National Certificate in Engineering that was accepted in the industry for technical positions. Also fortunately for me there was a great shortage of engineers in the USA because of the Cold War. My wife and I emigrated first to Canada, then to the USA where my qualifications were accepted and I was able to have a long and successful career as an aerospace engineer as well as going on to get my MS degree at the company's expense.

We were always big savers and lived frugally, and then after I retired I became very good at investing and went on to become a multi millionaire by 1999 when I was 65. At that age you don't suddenly go from being frugal to being a big spender.

Bottom line - my wife and I are Democrats and are all for a universal healthcare system and affordable university education opportunities for young people from working class backgrounds.

"As long as Steve Jobs is in charge of Apple, it will probably grow in value; but put some random manager in charge of Apple, and within minutes, the company would be worth significantly less than its present value."

When Tim Cook took over as CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011, AAPL closed at $376.18. Today, AAPL closed at $589.58.

What exactly could a reader seeking to become wealthy take away and use from this claptrap?

I certainly got no supposed socialist indoctrination in my college. But I was in engineering.. maybe they kept all the red marxists professors over in the humanities building. Maybe somehow going to a public school funded 90% by tax dollars and having my tuition paid mostly for by state financial aid dollars somehow lead me to think that government isn't all evil?

In any case I think its really hyperbole to pretend that raising the top marginal tax rates by 2-3% is now considered socialism.

I live in a country that has more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world, and it's a socialist democracy.

Who says it has to be one or the other?

One of the best articles I've read in a while...and if you disagree with the article, then you've already been indoctrinated.

I worked hard to get to where I'm at because what my wife and I do produce value. We took risk and are rewarded for taking those one is "entitled" to what we have. The economy is not a fixed pie...if you want more money, bake more pie.

Ah. Clicking through the amazon link gives me the answer to my question -- if I follow his first three suggestions, I'll need to (1) vote Republican; (2) convert my money to Swiss francs; and (3) move it to Hong Kong or Panama.

I'm sure that advice is super-helpful to the average FMF reader.

@OldLimey: "Bottom line - my wife and I are Democrats and are all for a universal healthcare system and affordable university education opportunities for young people from working class backgrounds."

I consider myself mostly Republican, but I too am all for a universal healthcare system and affordable education opportunities. (I say "mostly" because every time an election rolls around, they do something so incredibly stupid that I abstain.)

My thinking on healthcare and education is quite pragmatic: On healthcare - Until our society is ready to have emergency rooms turn people away and let them die on the sidewalk, we will all pay for everyone's healthcare. So if we are going to pay anyway, let's at least be efficient and catch them while they are still cheap to fix, and not incur the expense of emergency room visits.

On education - the most valuable resource we have is the combined brainpower of the entire population. If we squander that by not developing it, we all lose out. One of those working class kids is probably going to be my physician when I am older, so let's train him well. Instead of wringing our hands about all the advanced and technical degrees going to foreigners, why not make it easier for Americans to get them?

My wife and I have travelled to 3rd world countries and seen what happens to people that become very ill and have no access to healthcare. The USA has risen from nothing to being the most affluent and most powerful country in the world since the 6th. September 1620 when the Mayflower made its historic voyage from Plymouth, England. We also like to think of ourselves as being a civilized and humanitarian country that doesn't allow indigent people to die on the sidewalk.

@OldLimey: In case I wasn't clear - I don't see how any civilized society would ever let people die on the sidewalk, and I was most definitely NOT advocating that position!

I am all for universal healthcare in spite of my general preference that people earn rewards rather than receive them automatically.

On the line that Apple couldn't hire back Jobs fast enough - it took 12 years before Jobs was CEO again. No dispute though that Apple was much better off after Jobs came back.

I try to avoid politics on this blog but I think it’s fair to discuss fiscal policy as it relates to the focus of FMF. IMHO, both political parties have failed us miserably the last 13 years when it come fiscal responsibility, especially the last 3 years.

The most responsible I've seen in my lifetime was when Clinton was POTUS and the Republicans controlled both houses. Since I think both parties are corrupt I believe government works best when power is shared --- the parties keep each other in check. When one party is in total control things go haywire as corruption, hubris, ideology (which only benefits a few and not the majority) and self-interests take priority.

On the subject of universal health care, while it could be a good thing, the financial models used to support it are very flawed and have been proven many times as an unsustainable entitlement. Our country will fail just like Greece if there isn’t some sort of restraint on spending. This program will have to be adjusted to ensure that does not occur.

Here is a fair question, we all agree on the model for personal finances, what is appropriate for government? Save more than we spend, spend more than we save (current) or zero out each year?

You are absolutely right about the unfunded liabilities of much legislation already on the books, including the two wars launched soon after 9/11 that have cost between $3.2 and $4 trillion and the deaths of 7,721 coalition forces in an attempt to punish a mere 19 highjackers. At least Seal Team 6 got rid of Osama Ben Laden in less than a day without any losses.

The only thing that is keeping us afloat is that our dollar is the reserve currency of the world right now. Unfortunately there are major flaws in the way our government is organized and chosen. Can you imagine how our giant corporations would fare if their CEO had a 4 year term, their board of directors a 6 year term, and their remaining company officers 2 year terms, all elected by the stockholders, and with no age limits and no requirements whatsoever on their education, experience, or especially their ability to work as a team. We're relying on a hard to change constitution set up during the America of 235 years ago when our total population was less than 4 million and there's nothing we can do about it.

The education system in the UK is a world class breeding ground for socialism, from the subtle but powerful ideas reinforced to children at primary school such as "fair share", to university level courses in environmental studies plugging wealth redistribution policies masquerading under the umbrella of "sustainable development." I think at every level of education here the left have got their anti-rich claws well and truly dug in.

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