Some Lessons from the Great Population Migration

There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. Don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money - spend less time drinking, playing games and socializing and more time working.

Tax the Rich until there are Rich No More

The UK is trying to introduce an ’emergency tax’ on the wealthy, because the government is running out of money and forecasts a class war, while  an Australian female billionaire who likes to say it as it is, stated this week “There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working.Australia is in uproar over this! She also said that when governments target the rich, they really hurt the middle and lower classes.

In the UK, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party, has proposed a one-time emergency tax on wealth (rather than the incomes) of high-net-worth Britons. The details aren’t clear, but Clegg says the country is facing an economic war caused by a prolonged recession, and needs to tax the rich in order to avoid social unrest.(???)

Governments across the globe are firing up an interestingly dangerous chapter of pushing the rich to pay more taxes. The rich in turn, knowing that this push is powered by the move towards all encompassing government control of our lives, are threatening to leave their native countries or for now -as already is happening in large numbers- re-invest their wealth elsewhere.

The lessons of the Great Migration

There is historic precedence for the potentially unfolding scenario of our future. The aftermath of the Western Roman Empire marked the beginning of the Middle Ages in what now is Western Europe. Chased by Atilla and his advancing Huns and greatly attracted by the wealth of the dying Western Roman Empire, huge tribal migrations took place around what was then known as the center of the World, the Mediterranean.

Europe as it migrated between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance

Centuries of political overreaching had weakened the Empire to the point were previous allies turned their back on Rome’s demands and when the Huns pushed the Visi-Goths west, they in turn pushed the Germanic tribes into the remnants of the Roman Empire. Wealth moved first, followed by settlers and finally workers.

Today’s Migrations

Don’t be surprised to learn that recent history actually paints an interesting picture of what we may expect in the near future in terms of people migrations.

Chinese millionaires, oh yes there are about a million of them (!), are increasingly looking to leave that country for reasons of upward mobility and growing political oppression. Chinese millionaires learned from Russian millionaires in the 1990s that the risk of staying is equal to the risk of not only losing their wealth, but they could quite likely end up in prison as enemies of the state.

So this year alone already 3,000 Chinese millionaires have opted to apply for US Millionaire Investor Visas, in order to flee their homeland. In a world of crappy and incomplete comparisons, they still see the US and even more so Canada as better alternatives to safeguard their wealth. US millionaires however, afraid of overwhelming government control here and a certain hyper-inflation in our future, are looking at Africa and South America.

As a result Africa’s overall economic output is growing rapidly these days, but that’s another story for another day. I have a good friend in Uruguay who is a human resources director for a global yachting company and she reports a remarkable increase in North Americans settling in that South American country. Patagonia in Southern Chile as well as many of the remote wine areas in Argentina are attracting large numbers of wealthy Americans to build a pied-à-terre. Friends in South Africa report substantial American investments in the slipstream of Walmart establishing itself strongly there a couple of years ago. Apple Computers, one of the most admired corporations in the world, has put huge cash reserves out of reach of Washington’s greedy fingers, mainly in Southeast Asia.

Before everyone jumps on the government sponsored global push to demand that the rich pay more taxes, it may be wise to read and draw conclusions from a story my dear New Orleans friend Brian put on his Facebook page last year.

The ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

This one is a little different …with Two Different Versions …and Two Different Morals
OLD VERSION
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE OLD STORY: Be responsible for yourself!
NEW VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all spring and summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green…’ ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright and all of Chicagoland stage a riot for the grasshopper’s sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid exclaim in an interview on MSNBC that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government GreenCzar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again. The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

After a while this expands to the whole field, etc and everything collapses bringing the rest of the free world down with it.

Me again. I consider myself a fair and mostly compassionate human being, the extend of which I do not feel I have to justify to anyone. Maybe this short Disney video can do that for me.

But imagine my irritation when a line in my utility bills urges me to donate an amount to compensate for the less fortunate in our society. Every time I read it, it makes me realize that we have given up on the free market notion that only production creates an economy and more production creates a better economy and that everyone’s involvement and contributions are needed to make that economic model of free enterprise work. Like the Queen Ant in the video says: “Only those who work can stay”.

Yes, there are no doubt less fortunate, less talented and less capable people, who for one reason or another are allowed disqualification from participation in the socio-economic process. Under the same qualifier, a genius like Stephen Hawking would be disqualified to contribute, while in reality he contributes to our civilization’s progress in a magnitude that renders me unqualified. Like the queen ant says: ” Only those who work can stay,” as she orders the Grasshopper to play his violin so he can stay.

Maybe when the other 997,000 Chinese millionaires and their families have (temporarily) re-located to North America, will we realize what made us great, and how easily and quickly we threw it out of the window in exchange for the promise that government (any government) would take care of all our needs and wants from the cradle to the grave.

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