Billionaires reinvest their wealth
There is little indication that the money amassed by billionaires, whether in cold hard cash or liquid assets like investments and shares, ever makes its way back into the economy. Money makes money, and if you have millions laying around untouched because you physically couldn’t spend it all if you tried, you might as well sit on it for the interest. Like Smaug.
Billionaires work harder than everybody else
Logistically, most billionaires have probably had to work pretty hard at some point, just like everybody else on Earth. At a certain level, the money itself becomes the worker, going to other people for the things you can’t do until your life just becomes meetings with them. They don’t even have the threat of homelessness and starvation to motivate the grind like we do.
They are self-made
For the term “self-made” to mean anything, it has to be taken literally, and there is no way to amass a billion dollars through purely your own labor. If you worked hard enough to earn $180,000 every single day from the birth of Christ, you would still have less money than Jeff Bezos. That surplus value has to come from somewhere else.
They are innovators
We often think of billionaires in attachment to their companies. Bill Gates is Microsoft, Mark Cuban IS the Shark Tank. While it’s true many did have a hand in the initial creation of a product or platform, many billionaires are simply the ones that took over an established idea. Zuckerberg famously elbowed out the Winklevoss twins, and Elon Musk’s entire life was colonized.
They care about the environment
Everybody stands to lose when it comes to climate change, except billionaires. As the chaotically harmonious balance of nature shifts, we’ll see more of what we already do in terms of natural disasters, food shortages, and climate refugees fleeing death. Well, not billionaires, obviously. Who emit more than one million times the emissions of the bottom 90% of people.
They have more to lose
The idea of risk and reward is central to the idea of entrepreneurship. To strike out and make it, you need to offer up some collateral to get your idea off the ground. You would think billionaires’ stakes would be enormous, and they are, but the associated risk of losing sometimes a percentage of a percentage of their riches is hardly worth losing sleep over.
American billionaires work harder
While it looked for a little while like China’s explosion in billionaires might outpace the US, it’s clear America still lead in the number of overall billionaires. It doesn’t necessarily follow that they’re the hardest workers, however, as six of the ten wealthiest Americans inherited their wealth. Most of which was likely generated by a history of slave labor.
They’re all famous
While many billionaires have become incidentally or intentionally famous as the faces of their empires, not all of them are eager for the spotlight. There are around 3000 surplus value black holes in the world, Francis Bettencourt Meyers for example, is heir to the L’Oriel fortune of just under 100 billion. Many make the intelligent decision to keep their heads down.
They’re good for the middle class
Much of the middle class feels indebted to the ultra-wealthy, in the same way a hostage might feel grateful for only being kicked in the head twice that day. The upper management jobs created beneath them are often the most viable way of becoming middle-class, but with so little of their excess wealth being reinvested into job creation, they maintain their mobility stranglehold.
They’re a sign of a healthy economy
The idea that one person might amass more money than some countries is thought of as a sign that the free market is operating at peak efficiency. The power that capital amasses, however, leads to less competition, as companies conglomerate and the barriers to entry become insurmountable. Economic prosperity requires collective wealth to mean absolutely anything, which is made impossible by billionaires.
They’re good for the lower class
While the anti-billionaire sentiment is growing among the lower classes, some argue their job creation makes up for whatever orca-skin fridge they have in their house. The lower class is saddled with low-paying, zero-progression, unsafe gigs with high turnovers. Income inequality has reached the levels of the Pharaohs while productivity is higher than ever. The DOW Jones is looking pretty sick though.
They have high IQs
IQ is real in that there is a number we measure based on a bunch of different tests, that we use to approximate another number we call ‘e’ or general intelligence. Billionaires love it because it makes them feel special, but a Swedish study pointed out that the positive correlation between wealth and IQ caps out after $64,000 a year.
They create jobs
As mentioned, this is true to a degree, though forgetting the standard of those jobs lets us focus on numbers. The top billionaires have created somewhere north of 2.5 million jobs worldwide. Much of that will be in manufacturing overseas, not great for domestic workers but sometimes necessary. Then there are layoffs of multiple thousands at a time, and automation to consider.
They’re savvy spenders
Some billionaires have earned their reputation for miserliness. Marvel and Disney chairperson Ike Pearlmutter has reportedly been dissatisfied with guests at press screenings being given free refills on their drinks. They tend to be fiscally penny-wise, despite a penny being an atom within their universe, and extremely pound-foolish, losing millions and destroying lives overnight without noticing.
They give huge amounts to charity
Philanthropy is the billionaire cheat code for good PR and optimized accounting. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped people, as even MLMs do occasionally, but Gates writes the checks to himself and benefits from tax reductions while fighting patent-free vaccines that would do more global good for less money. Also, Musk wanted to give dirt from his dumb tunnels to poor people.
They’re just like us
Power and money have long been known to cause… erm… psychological distortions in people. Many billionaires spend their life chasing them and suddenly have them at the cost of being surrounded by people equally as bloodthirsty, with no possibility of ever needing to manage their material needs again. It’s an isolation and detachment few ever feel.
They already pay a lot in tax
They do, technically! Just proportionally not enough and often find ways to skirt a lot of it. The IRS and equivalent agencies have had decades of intertwining clauses and exemptions forced upon them by the rich, while simultaneously being gutted of the resources necessary to even chase them up. A lot of their wealth is tied to speculative assets for this very reason.
It’s hard to stay a billionaire
This is only sometimes true for non-legacy billionaires. In 2021 around 254 people lost their billionaire status out of the roughly 2,500. It usually takes something quite monumental, like the collapse of FTX or even a real financial institution, for them to feel any real substantial loss. Even then, they benefit from bailouts and bankruptcy to minimize the impact.
They pay income tax at least
The great thing about being a self-made, working billionaire is how staggeringly little of your money comes in the form of a paycheck. When they instead choose payment in the form of say, stocks or shares, or take advantage of capital gains loopholes, it leads to years where Musk and Trump can, shockingly, pay absolutely zero income tax!
They’re held back by regulations
It’s a well-known fact that billionaires hate regulation. For Elon Musk, the so-called disruptive genius mind anointed to save humanity, things like workplace safety guidelines and sensible checks and balances get in the way of him hemorrhaging government money, selling carbon credits, and blowing up launchpads.
Nothing can be done about them
Even people who dislike billionaires believe this idea, that if they were taxed they would leave the country, taking the money and jobs with them. Now, they already horde all the money and jobs, even if they leave they’re still citizens and subject to the law, and we have had much higher progressive tax rates in the past. Should the economy be a hostage situation?
They’re all similarly powerful
Though the overall number is small, there is a lot of diversity amongst the ultra-rich. Though once they reach a certain level of wealth asset appreciation does the rest of the work, that initial step could have been in textiles, tech, commerce, or anything in between. Kim Kardashian clearly does not have the same kind of power and interests as Trump, despite their recent collaborations.
They’re for small government
On its face, this is a ridiculous assertion. When billionaires and their companies involve themselves in foreign affairs, or local, state, and federal politics, trying to dictate the allocation of public funds, social safety nets, minimum wage requirements, and the laws surrounding the preservation and increase of their riches, they definitely do not get to claim to be for small government.
They all hate taxes
Some billionaires do recognize the immense amount of income disparity in the world as a bad thing, as crazy as that sounds. Mark Cuban and Warren Buffet have both on numerous occasions commented on how they should be paying more taxes. Buffet himself famously said if someone couldn’t live on $500 million a year, he would write a how-to book for them.
Wall Street is the easiest way to become a billionaire
The movie no doubt helped the notion that wall street is a get-rich-quick factory, that’s if you can hack being around those kinds of people for more than five minutes. Regardless of cinematic misreadings, only around 9% of billionaires made their wealth in the financial sector. Real estate and consumer goods make up the majority of older billionaires.
They’re “good” businessmen
They’re obviously all very successful businessmen, but that’s only one metric by which a person’s character is measured. People mistake affable TV appearances and tweets as them doing “business”, and not Bill Gates’ predatory early practices, which monopolized the software industry. The “business” of how they got their billions is rarely good.
They’re all well educated
Ivy League schools produce much of the middle and separate ruling class across America but are by no means a prerequisite for becoming rich. Many decry the need for higher education all together, like Musk who said colleges are about proving you can do chores, not learning. Musk grew up with maids, but it tracks he would be averse to anywhere ethics are discussed.
They’re debt free
It seems ludicrous that somebody could own that much money and still be in debt, but that’s basically how the economy functions on a grand scale. Many billionaires are in debt to other billionaires for things they could have bought normally but would have been taxed and vetted for. Then there are the legal battles and the rare “got done for tax stuff”.
Silicon Valley disproves the “silver spoon” idea
A popular statistic cited by Wealth X states that 63% of billionaires are self-made. This includes figures like Mark Zuckerberg, who categorically, did not make that money himself. Much of that figure refers to beneficiaries of the Silicon Valley boom like Sam Bankman-Fried, who built an insecure platform that made money, and then stole the rest until he was a billionaire.
They all own mansions
Some of the ultra-rich, like Bill Gates, Rhianna, and Ron Burke are all known for their enormous megamansions, built or purchased for only a few hundred million. Others like keeping it simple, however, like Buffet who still lives in the Nebraska home he purchased in the 50, or Chuck Feeney who still rents an apartment in San Francisco.
Their wealth grows slowly over time
While the first few million, or even that golden, elusive billion, can take time to grow, the amount of money heading toward the top is only growing in momentum. Oxfam estimates that since 2020, two thirds of all new wealth went towards the 1%, at a rate of around $2.7 billion a day. This of course increased during the Covid pandemic.
They are immune to economic fluctuations
Billionaires can lose their money, as mentioned a small amount is made and destroyed every year, though they tend to stay hovering around the hundreds of thousands figure. This is rare, though, as the pandemic saw the worst economic decline since WWII, and billionaire wealth grew 33% as we saw grocery and energy companies double their profits and dish out huge shareholder bonuses.
They refuse to give up
Many a fawning profile mentions the impeccable work ethic and tenacity of billionaires as responsible for their enormous wealth. We’ve already mentioned that this isn’t exactly how it works, but it would benefit them to be able to let go. Facebook’s enormous pivot to the metaverse is looking to be a multi-billion dollar sinkhole, but Zuck trucks on.
They have a growth mindset
Another useless platitude meant to make them sound impressive and different, a ‘growth mindset’ means nothing. First-year business students have a ‘growth mindset’, that’s where all the Instagram hustler accounts come from. Besides, physics will tell you that exponential growth is unsustainable, it requires a high energy maintenance cost to sustain, and we are the fuel to be burned.
Their wealth will trickle down, eventually
Ah, Mr. Raegan, the Earth has finally rejected your corpse. The idea of trickle-down economics has been an absolute disaster for mankind, serving only to enrich a minuscule percentage of people while the rest of us are left chewing the dog’s table scraps and led paint chips. Now get back in the mud, Ronnie.
They focus on the big issues
Musk said we would be on Mars and have full self-driving cars that don’t explode by now. He also dangled $6 billion in front of the UN to solve world hunger in response to reports that $5.7 billion had been paid out, tax-free, to Tesla shareholders. He takes public money away from infrastructure to build tunnels for his cars. Truly “Looking into” the big issues.
They can fix everything themselves
In tandem with the last point, it’s unlikely that anyone billionaire can ever actually achieve the goal of eradicating whatever disparity they set their eyes and egos on. It would take worldwide collaboration, time, and a lot of paperwork, with no end return on investment. A small handful of billionaires could, and yet they have not.
It’s just the free market working
The “free market” has become the “self-made” of economic conversation. What makes it free? The rules that govern it are influenced by the rich. You can price gouge, you can make millions in stock buybacks, engage in market manipulation, crash and be bailed out, nearly consequence-free if you’re a billionaire. Free market who, baby? Where is she?
Billionaires spend more on daily essentials
It’s easy to imagine that with even budget grocery chains raising prices on daily essentials, that billionaire’s local stores must sell a bag of sugar for the price of a small house. The rich are actually able to spend less on normal essentials over time, as they can buy produce in bulk, and afford quality goods that last much longer than cheaper equivalents, like clothing.