Bill Murchison

Vulgarity, wretched excess, shamelessness -- it's the price a capitalistic society pays for the accomplishments of capitalists. And bloody well better go on paying if we're to maintain our reason and our liberties.

The best way to cope with the shortcomings of the highly placed and magnificent is not to guillotine such folk, it's just to ignore them as much as possible, while remembering the large number of wealthy people who do actual good with their money, using it in valuable and creative ways, instead of running their status into the ground.

In the long run, it all comes out about even. No pockets in a shroud -- that sort of thing. We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

In the short run, the necessity is to fend off politicians who blast the rich for no worse offense than that of being rich. Regulation, confiscatory taxation -- politicians can use such tools to make the rich feel, at a minimum, more uncomfortable -- and everyone else feel even worse through the disappearance of incentives to work, invest, plan, grow, do something no one else ever did before.

In an odd way, rich politicians (John Kerry, Jay Rockefeller, etc.) and the aspiring rich among them (Bill Clinton, etc.), probably, in an accidental way, extend capitalism's life span. No capital, no wealth. No wealth, no campaign contributions. The end of capitalism probably isn't just yet.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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