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We Smiths are a large clan. We are # 1 in the English-speaking world. We declared jihad on the Joneses and the Johnsons a long time ago.  They are chumps. We didn’t get to be the most prolific clan by sitting around eating Doritos and watching General Hospital. We are doers. Who was the greatest personality in the history of Miller Light commercials?  Bubba SMITH!  The most enterprising vixen of all time? Anna Nicole SMITH. The greatest lover of all time? Joseph SMITH. He had more wives than Carter’s has little pills. The guy was a stud.

Getting to the top of the pyramid and eliminating our enemies is no easy task. It takes great physical endurance, cunning, daring and trickery, but most of all it takes wisdom.  As paterfamilias of the worldwide Smith empire, my primary job (besides issuing fatwas against the Jones and Johnson infidels), is to dispense wisdom. Every moment is a teaching moment, but some moments are more opportune and salient than others. Thanksgiving is one of them.

Our family and extended clan has a tradition. After saying grace, we all tell each other what we are thankful for. When it is my turn, it is much like the Queen’s Christmas Day broadcast. Smiths tune in from all over the English-speaking world. In some areas, I am on the Jumbotron in football stadiums in heavily populated Smith provinces. When it was my turn this past Thursday, I stated that I was thankful for RICH PEOPLE. You could hear the gasps and groans for miles around Pasadena (Rose Bowl), Knoxville (Neyland Stadium) and Ann Arbor ( the Big House). “How crass! Did he really say that?” This was a teaching moment for me.

Rich people are generally rich because they have provided goods and services that others want to buy.   They serve humanity by enriching our lives and allowing us to have things that would simply not be affordable or plentiful but for their efforts. Rich people love us and want to serve us. There’s nothing they like more than pleasing the customer. But for rich people and their capital, you would be living in utter squalor and likely would have a life expectancy of 29 years old. You would not have attended a fancy university, nor would you even have a job. Your house would at most be made of mud and grass. Where do you think sheetrock, bricks, roofing materials and copper wire comes from? Rich people. Look around you. Everything you see exists because of rich people. As I write this, I am looking out the window at my mahogany stained back yard fence. I see lumber. I think of timber land, chain saws, sawmills, treatment plants, chemical processors, trucking, pallet manufacturers, distribution centers, nails, stain producers and dozens of other real live industries owned by rich people.

No product or service ever existed simply because someone wanted it. It existed because someone had the energy and drive to create it. Demand does not create things, the supply of capital to the driven and industrious creates things. Once again, look around you. On my desk is an Alexa device, a cell phone and a computer loaded with software applications. None of these products came into existence because there was great clamoring among the masses for them. They exist because someone risked capital to create them. Once created, people wanted these products. Let’s dig deeper. I also have a 20 oz bottle of Zero Sugar Vitamin Water on my desk. Water is essential to sustain life. One could say quite fairly that there is universal demand for water, and therefore Smith, you are wrong that demand didn’t create that bottle of water. But that bottle of Vitamin Water didn’t poof out of an ether of nothingness, it came into being because someone risked capital to create it, bottle it, market and distribute it.  Where does the capital come from to create these things and supply others? Rich people.

How about rich people who inherited all their money? Should we be thankful for them too? Yes, we should. Rich people don’t stick their money in a mattress. Their money is at work all the time. In fact, their money works harder than we do because it never rests, and it always flows to its most productive ends. Money in the bank creates liquidity for the banks to lend to businesses, not to mention to improve the lives of all us by allowing us to buy houses and cars on credit. Public companies and their shareholders receive rewards from rich people for jobs well done.  These rewards are called “investments.” Likewise, rich people tell these companies and shareholders when they are doing a poor job by selling their investments. This free flow of capital provides a kinetic dynamism to markets allowing capital to flow to where it will do the most good to produce benefits for you and me.

Housing, office buildings, shopping centers, industrial complexes, virtually everything you see while driving your car is a result of rich people. What about infrastructure? Most infrastructure is built by rich people who then give the infrastructure to the government. Infrastructure paid for by the government is funded through the bonds that rich people buy or the taxes they pay.

Rich people are generally smart or else they would not be rich. They commit less crimes than any other sector or demographic group. They don’t drain the public coffers because they don’t use public resources. Most of them are very nice people because they can afford to be nice. Virtually all philanthropy comes from rich people. A good many of them devote their time and expertise to help others.

The government produces nothing. It cannot provide any benefits without first taking from those who produce. It is the activities of the rich that fund the federal government; income tax, capital gains tax, payroll tax, excise taxes, etc. The rich buy the treasury bonds that allow the federal government to spend more than it takes in. So if the rich and their capital have supplied us with virtually everything worthwhile in the world, why does our government treat them so poorly? Whenever the government burdens productivity, the result is less productivity and advancement. The poorest among us suffer the most.

To truly understand economics and failed fiscal policies, one merely needs to read a certain book. The author is not Adam Smith, F. A. Hayek or George Gilder. While one could say it is a “divine” read, it is not known as an economics treatise, but yet, it is jammed packed with economic lessons. All economic activity is predicated on human behavior. In the opening chapters, mankind falls from grace. The result is our imperfect human nature.  Human nature never changes, and part of the duality of man are elements of our personality that make for bad economic decisions and misery, all stemming from jealousy.  How many of us covet what others have?  How many of us want to see the rich and mighty fall? There’s no logical reason for us to feel this way, other than we are imperfect beings. With me, the schadenfreude is visceral, then I must summon the left side of my brain to remind me that this feeling is unhealthy and counterproductive. I then struggle with the guilt of having such feelings in the first place.

If we were all like Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, it would never cross our minds to hate or be jealous of the rich. They provide us with everything. Contrast their societal contributions to the low life “so called” social justice warriors destroying our cities and debasing our culture. They are totally driven by hatred and jealousy. They produce nothing and are a terrible tax and burden on the rest of us.  Which group deserves respect?  Which group deserves government policies that foster and promote their societal contributions?   Without the rich, we cannot become rich ourselves. Most of the economic evil perpetrated against mankind is a result of tyrants using jealousy and hatred as weapons to consolidate raw political power unto themselves. History teaches us that this just leads to misery, poverty and death.

I am thankful that the good Lord has blessed my county with such abundance, and I am also thankful for the wisdom to understand what creates wealth and what destroys it.

Robert C. Smith is Managing Partner of Chartwell Capital Advisors and likes to opine on the Rob Is Right Podcast and Webpage.

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