Friday, March 20, 2009

Draining wealth and brains

Nothing like hard truth to put things into perspective and to make a lesson crystal clear.

My first solo novel comes out in July and I decided to get the jump on marketing. In order to put over a novel in this market, it takes work, hard work, and a lot of time (there goes my vacation) to talk to people, put together book signings, contests and products as a gift with purchase. I don't expect businesses to host a book signing for free, but I also do not have the money to pay for a lavish book launch, and neither does my publisher. At this time in this world the writer must not only write the books but promote and sell them as well, and that takes ingenuity, time and a lot of work, which brings me to the hard truth and the crystal clear lesson.

The new government is all about hope and change and that means attacking the people who are successful and work hard for their money. I know. It's easy to hate the rich, but not everyone who seems rich got that way by cheating people or manipulating money, stocks and politics. Some people actually worked hard for their money and they're entitled to enjoy it. Why? Because they earned it.

If I am successful in selling lots of books and building a fan base that will keep buying books, then I will end up with a good sum of money, enough money to quit working as a wage slave and work full time as writer. If I'm very successful marketing and promoting my books and gain some name recognition, then I will have earned every single dollar I make, so why would I want to let the government have it to redistribute it to people who don't care enough about themselves or have something to sell, people who will not and do not want to work as hard as I did? Why? Suddenly, I understand what it's like to work hard and become successful just to have the government come along and take away what I worked so hard to earn.

America is a wonderful country full of opportunities to build wealth -- if you're willing to work hard for it. I'm not talking about real estate schemes or pyramid schemes or Ponzis or selling something for nothing, like junk bonds. I'm talking about a real product with real worth, like a book or an electric car or new kind of motor or something tangible. Since the 1960s with the expansion of welfare and food stamps and other government entitlement programs people have expected the government to take care of them instead of working hard and finding their own way to make money. And everyone wants to be rich quick, and you can bet they will hang onto their money as if their lives depended upon it. Wealth looks very different from the other side.

If the current trend to rape and pillage the wealthy in the name of equalization of opportunity and redistribution of wealth continues, America is going to see the world that John Galt created and the brain drain will become a reality here as it is elsewhere in the world were brains and opportunity are just another way for government to rape and pillage their greatest and most prolific resource. No one wants to work hard and watch someone else take their hard work and earnings and give it away to some lazy schlub that would rather be a parasite on someone else's backside than work. Why work when the government will hand it over to you because you need it more? Where's the incentive to work, to earn, to become something more?

I'm as guilty as the next person when it comes to damning the wealthy. I've looked at someone with more than I have who can go out for a meal in a nice restaurant or go on a nice vacation or buy what they want without juggling the budget. And it's not just money or a house or things that I wish I had that someone else didn't, sometimes it's more personal. Why them and not me? It's my fault. I chose to accept less and not to strive for more because -- and here come the excuses, all of which boil down to one thing: because I didn't want it enough.

It's easy to want what someone else has and hard to get off the couch, stop whining and complaining and go get your own. Not everyone who has made a success of their lives and has some money is a greedy parasite out to cheat people out of their money. Some people worked hard for what they have and they shouldn't have to defend it or apologize for it. I see that now as I spend hours on the phone talking to business owners and companies in order to get their cooperation in promoting my books. The long hours of planning and research that go into marketing and promoting a book that isn't even available yet, finding someone to create a stunning book trailer and going over my budget to see how much money I can free up and what I can afford to buy and give away in order to entice people to buy my books take time and effort and brains, and it is a lot of hard and grueling work for someone like me who just wants to write. Every dime I make I will have earned the hard way and the only reason for working so hard is because I want my books to be successful.

The hope is that when all is said and done I will be financially stable and free to quit a job I tolerate to do a job I love. If all this work and effort makes me successful and I become wealthy, why should I be willing to let the government -- or anyone -- tell me I have to share it with people who aren't so fortunate? Yes, it's selfish. Yes, it's self serving. And I do not care.

Those people who aren't so fortunate have the same chances that I do to dig in, work hard and become successful and wealthy, or at least comfortable, but first they have to stop blaming the wealthy for their problems and get off their dead hind ends and work for it. The majority of the wealthy who didn't inherit their wealth or steal it by shady deals and con games are decent people who worked long and hard. They're decent people who put themselves first and did whatever the work required to become successful. They should be treated as heroes, as evidence that hard work pays off, not as marks or private ATMs for the lazy and shiftless parasites that expect something for nothing. They should be respected and honored and held up as examples of what is possible, not envied and hated.

When -- not if -- my success comes, if the government decides to redistribute my wealth, they will find me gone. Maybe to Ireland where artists and writers pay no income tax or to a country where hard work and wealth are no longer a crime. I'm selfish. I intend to keep what I earn.

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