Leibowitz: The rich aren’t interesting — until they are

We grew up poor. I was the first son of married teenagers who lived in a three-room apartment in New York. My brother and I shared the bedroom and bunk beds until I was 12 and he was 9.

Our parents slept in the living room on a fold-out couch from Levitz. Our mother ironed patches over the knees of the jeans we bought at Sears not because that was the style, but because we couldn’t afford anything better.

Finally, about the time I hit my teenage years, we made it to lower middle class. I even got a couple pairs of Levi’s and Pro Keds as proof.

Fast forward 40-odd years. I’m not poor anymore. Yet I still find myself not trusting — or much liking — the rich. Maybe it’s envy.

Or maybe F. Scott Fitzgerald was correct in his story “The Rich Boy,” which begins, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.’’

To which I’ll add, “In ways that can be annoying as hell.”

This is precisely why I’ve enjoyed watching Elon Musk, the world’s richest human, struggle as his latest toy — Twitter — falls apart. It’s also why I avoid news coverage of the British royal family, especially now-Californians Prince Harry and his wife, former TV actress Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

Musk reminds me of a few fabulously wealthy folks I have worked for in my day job as a communications consultant.

A brilliant engineer who used his brain to make billions as the mind behind SpaceX and Tesla, Musk has confused his scientific genius and astonishing knack for making money with the ability to run the world’s most unruly social media cesspool.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the Peter Principle, a management concept that theorizes that workers rise in a hierarchy until they reach their level of incompetence — and there they stay.

Musk seems right about there with Twitter, doddering about as the self-proclaimed “chief Twit,” while his toy hemorrhages users, followers and cash.

Meanwhile, Musk’s every move — and his 10 kids, silly memes and personal bottom line, currently estimated by Forbes at $185 billion — churn out daily headlines that I work hard to ignore. At least with Musk, there are indisputable accomplishments in the tech and business worlds.

The Royals? If they’ve done much since they lost that war to George Washington, John Adam and Thomas Jefferson, et al., 245 years ago, I must have missed it.

Prince Harry and Meghan seem especially loathsome, given that both whine constantly about problems that are so far beyond “First World,” they’re not even of this galaxy.

Yet somehow a good number of folks seem fascinated: Netflix is releasing a tell-all doc on the pair as I write this, and Meghan’s podcast won a People’s Choice Award. People magazine — nope, not a subscriber — breathlessly reported on the couple “having a glamorous night out in New York City” in a story I passed on, along with everything else Sussex related.

Disliking the rich may not be a popular stance — newspapers are full of “news” about bajillion-dollar home purchases, massive sports salaries and profligate spending — but personally, I find the rich uninteresting until precisely the moment they aren’t so rich anymore.

One story I did read was about one of the wealthiest fellows in Arizona, Ernie Garcia III, whose personal bottom line dropped 98% this year as his company, Carvana, teeters near bankruptcy. He dropped from being worth about $7 billion to less than $120 million.

That I find fascinating. And sad.

Though now-multi-millionaire will probably make out just fine. Rich folks, I learned a long time ago, always do.

Written by David Leibowitz for West Valley View ~ December 19, 2022

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Please allow me to introduce myself; I am Jeffrey Bennett, President of Kettle Moraine, Ltd., the parent of Sierra Madre Precious Metals. I have been married for 52 years with two children and four grand-children, a veteran of Viet Nam, student of history (both American and film), and was host for fifteen years of Perspectives on America on the alternative airwaves, covering such subjects as, health and wellness, news, political satire, education and editorial commentary on current events through the teaching of history, and Protecting Your Wealth. In early 2018, I took a several month hiatus to complete some family business but returned to airwaves April 17, 2018). At the age of ten, I sat in a bank-vault in the Citizens Bank of Mukwanago, Wisconsin with my grandfather going through bags of old American Peace dollars, hand-selecting each coin as dated rolls of 20 coins were carefully put together and rolled. Learning of the history of these beautiful pieces of Americana, I asked my grand-father, "Why are we doing this?" to which he replied, "Because someday they are going to do the same thing with the silver in our money that, that (S.O.B.) Roosevelt did with gold in 1933." It took only six-years for his prediction to come to pass at the hands of a disciple of Roosevelt's... and what will a Federal Reserve 'dollar' purchase today - and what will that old 90% Silver Peace Dollar purchase? Although at the age of ten, there was little understanding of the meaning of it all, over the next half-century I became well-versed on the subject matter. During this summer of my education, I began to purchase silver coins as a collector and some small, international gold coins two years later - not an easy feat in the shadow of the Roosevelt confiscatory policies of 1933. Although those policies remained in effect until the mid-1970's, it was not until 1991 that I found that one could make a living providing precious metals and collectible, historic numismatic coins to a willing and concerned clientele. It was also during that year, that I began a relationship with one of the first Trust companies to give the public access to gold and silver as part of an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) - and Kettle Moraine, Ltd., founded in 1995, but have ceased providing service due the the intense change-over of the provider. In November 2011, after a 15 month broadcast on another network, I returned to the airwaves with my then revamped program, Life, Liberty & All That Jazz, and for over a quarter-century, I have been proud to serve the family of listeners of my numerous broadcast programs for physically-held precious metals for investors and collectors alike. On March 23, 2020 I launched my brand new - appropriately named program, The Edge of Darkness on the Republic Broadcasting Network, and thus continue to  remain available to our long time clients and their families. Ah yes - find out what "inter-generational" wealth provision has done for our clients over the past three decades. Don't buy the sizzle of that steak until you understand the cost! In other words, don't buy the bull being dispensed by the 'rare coin' pitchmen until you understand the full story. We, at Sierra Madre Precious Metals, will be proud to serve your needs.
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