In another fiery speech from the Senate floor this week, Florida's Marco Rubio urged President Obama to respect America's tradition of earning one's keep as opposed to redistributing the wealth earned by others:
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Like Rubio, I'm shocked at the president's assumption that people should have to pay more simply because they earn more. Likewise, I'm worried about the unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences of demonizing a certain class of people simply because of how much money they earn. These worries were exemplified this week as I watched a number of liberal bloggers launch a vitriolic campaign against David Tepper after supposedly stumbling upon one of the hedge fund manager's discarded ATM receipts.
Now I know nothing about Tepper as a person, who he is or how he treats people. These are the general guidelines I use to judge a person's character. But to numerous bloggers, none of that mattered. All that mattered was Tepper's bank account balance.
The fact that his savings account has a nearly $100 million balance was enough for Gawker's Brian Moylan to classify Tepper as a "jackass" and a "motherf***er." Moylan described the multi-millionaire's ATM receipt as "rage-enducing" and warned readers it would "make you hate yourself." The fact that a man had $100 million in his bank account was even enough to warrant mention on Good Morning America:
Dealbreaker, the blog who made the discovery, not only wanted to know what Tepper spent his $400 withdrawn cash on, but also went out of its way to identify the receipt holder.
Some blogs even speculated that Tepper was "embarrassed" to claim the ATM slip as his because he felt guilty his business was doing well while so many others weren't. Have we really become a country that begrudges individual success?
Granted keeping $100 million in an ATM-accessible savings account isn't the wisest investment decision, but who really cares? The guy could stuff his throw pillows with dollar bills if he wanted to and I wouldn't care.
So why all the attention and even blind hatred?
The only half-way logical answer I can think is envy -- a sin which brings me back to the point of this post: class warfare.
In dividing the country into two camps -- the haves and the have-nots -- the president might think he's simply making a political point. But the fact of the matter is that he's sowing the seeds of real jealousy and hatred.
Those rich people have money you don't so we're going to take it from them.
Those rich people fly around on jets none of you can afford so we're going to punish them.
While Obama tries to cushion this harsh rhetoric by claiming it serves the general welfare, it only serves to drive wedges and divide the country.
The Ten Commandments tell us not to covet anything that belongs to our neighbor, including his house and his wealth. But what kind of Christian example is the president setting when he bases his budget case on taxing corporate jet owners? (He mentioned them six times in one press conference!)
Jealousy is not a good color on you, America, and this nation has generally always been above it, placing a premium on work ethic over bank account balances. The election of 2012 will not only pick the leader of our nation, but will also chart the course for the nation's future -- Will it be a future based on covetous jealousy or one that does not begrudge the hard work of others?