Not to Them That’s Got It

Wonder why Warren Buffet thinks rich people should pay more taxes? Well maybe his fortune came to him too easy, and he feels guilty about it, sort of like survivors of an event in which others died. Myself, I can’t see feeling guilty in either instance, but maybe I’m warped. I suppose Warren has his own thing going, but I sure would trust his judgment about where to invest over that of Congress or the President (or the myriad of bureaucrats Congress has given discretion to spend). But here is a rather succinct colloquy from the 1955 film Giant (with Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson”

Leslie Benedict: Money isn’t everything, Jett.

Jett Rink: Not to them that’s got it.

Of course, the Jett Rink character went on to make his fortune by striking oil. Speaking of oil, the Washington Post op-ed page today had an essay by some guy named Bill McKibben who has a website dedicated stop stopping construction of a Canadian tar sands pipeline to the Gulf. There is believed to be a huge amount of petroleum in those sands in Alberta, but Mr. McKibben believes extraction and use it will contribute to global warming and other environmental harm. He avers that the President can unilaterally stop the pipeline without any Congressional action by withholding a national interest certification, or some such thing. If President Obama disapproves this pipeline, it will be sheer idiocy. It is a step toward lessening the dependence on Middle Eastern oil. I am not a global warming denier — I’m more of an agnostic in that regard. But that does not matter. We are not going to go back to living in caves and reading at night by candlelight; the people of this country will not stand for that — full stop, end of argument. Until we get off the dime and get serious about building more nuclear power plants (with appropriate safety measures), and continuing research into fusion, we will rely on hydrocarbons. There is a fundamental physical fact as to why. There is no substance other than petroleum that contains such huge quantities of energy in a portable, mostly safe, usable form. The “green” sources are pathetic and futile, and cause problems of their own which are vastly out of proportion to their benefits.

Cheers!

2 comments on “Not to Them That’s Got It

  1. SteveReagan says:

    Leslie Benedict: Money isn’t everything, Jett.
    Jett Rink: Not to them that’s got it.

    Ergo, money is everything to those who don't have it? The more you get, the less it means?

    Edna Ferber and George Stevens were really trying to make a point about the downtrodden immigrant laborers in Texas. The rich have the luxury of >pretending< that money isn't everything, while they have just made better use of the God-given gift of Greed.

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  2. Bob says:

    Anyone who saw the movie knows one point Ferber and Stevens were trying to make throughout. It was a valid one about racial prejudice, not economic status. Another point, whether it was intentional or otherwise, was that they seem to give more nobility to the “old rich” like Bick and Leslie who were wealthy by accident of birth, than to Jett, who made his fortune by grit and determination. And the use of the left-wing cliche “downtrodden” diminishes one's credibility. Who's doing the treading, is my first question?

    The point of referring to Leslie's and Jett’s colloquy was that money means less to those who have it and therefore it’s more contemptible. A wealthy person questioning why a poor man is striving to become wealthy is rather contemptible in itself. Warren Buffet's suggestion that wealthy persons should pay more in taxes is disingenuous because he could lose 90% of his wealth and still be in the top 1%. He has a long, long way to go before it hurts him to where he could feel it in the slightest. But then, he is a wheeler-dealer, and to quote from another movie from my early days “You don’t wheel and deal for money. You do it for fun. Money is just how you keep score.”

    And Buffet has not shown any inclination of donating any of his vast fortune to the government. I, for one, hope he doesn't, as he has shown far more acumen in making his investments than the boys in Congress, and that is much more beneficial to us. Of course, Buffet he is playing with his own money, so it might not be everything, but it certainly is something.

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