OPINION – The secret to America’s success is a little dirty word called greed.
Of course, we are not talking about the kind of greed that breeds deceit and fraud; we have seen plenty of that bring our economy down to its knees throughout this recession. The same greed that motivates us to succeed can turn into pure selfishness and evil when attaining that success comes at the expense of others.
However, there is a “good” kind of greed. Greed is what has fueled the American Dream.
Greed can play a part in getting you out of bed in the morning because of your motivation to attain a paycheck and pay your bills. Greed is human nature and breeds incentive. It is the lifeblood of the American dream; in fact, we thrive and prosper as a nation when greed greases the wheels of free enterprise and capitalism. Sometimes we call it “selfish virtue” because without some form of greed to attain the things in life for our well-being and ourselves, we would not work for anything.
Greed is why we save for retirement, take a risk, go to work, open a business or own a home. Our quest for success and the wanting for things encourage ingenuity, the creation of jobs, rising up the corporate ladder and investing our money.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wealth seems to serve as a target for him being characterized as greedy or an elitist.
Romney wasn’t successful because of an evil, power-wielding kind of greed. Romney became successful because he surrounded himself with opportunity, took risks and worked hard. His greed did not come from nefarious behavior. He was not nor has he ever been a Gordon Gekko – the fictional antagonist from the 1987 film Wall Street.
Romney worked for a grand total of 28 years without pay as a Governor, church leader, head of the Olympics and more. Gekko would have never worked for a minute, much less 28 years, without reaping monetary benefit from it.
Regardless of your station in life, you may have more than somebody else or have achieved some success in your life. Realize that: You may be considered an elitist by the person standing next to you if that person has less. Yet, the difference between someone that is considered a success and someone that is an elitist is that the elitist thinks of himself as superior to those with less or thinks that his success gives him some sort of entitlement in life.
Romney has never alluded to himself as being superior to others. In fact, Romney’s humility has always impressed me. The confidence he has in his ability to run this country does not make him an elitist, it makes him capable and we need someone capable more than ever before.
It seems far easier for people to covet Romney’s wealth than to admire it.
I am growing weary of liberals using Romney’s success against him and then labeling him “disconnected.” Romney is a product of the American dream. He worked hard for it and achieved it. He should never apologize for it. We all run in the race; why would we crucify the winner for winning?
Romney has led an exemplary life. He kept his greed in check. And that says more about Romney’s character than anything I’ve heard so far.
Romney’s recent comments about the 46 percent of Americans living off some form of the government dole were not about being uncaring about the plight of the poor; he was simply asserting that those within that percentage were not likely to vote for him.
In all fairness, he was probably right.
Hurt feelings of those that need government assistance should not be the issue. The fact that we do have 46 percent of Americans living off government should be the issue. Our government is supporting almost half of the citizenry and we simply do not care.
Romney’s statements have not defined his campaign or the very early demise of it any more than President Obama’s phrase, “you didn’t build that” has defined Obama’s campaign and his bid for re-election. The race is far from over.
When it comes to Romney’s wealth, we demand to see his tax returns like petulant children storming the castle with our torches lit. Presidents Carter and Reagan released only one year of returns before winning their presidencies and although Romney has shown us two years, just as Sen. McCain did in 2008, we demand to see more than a decade of proof that this very rich man paid his fair share. There is no rule in how many years of tax returns presidential candidates have to present to the American public. Members of Congress refuse to show their returns to the American public, yet we demand to see a decade or more of Romney’s returns.
Romney paid almost 30 percent of his income to charity, but that does not appease those who clamor to crucify him for his success. He has given more than any other presidential candidate but the media hardly gives it a mention. He has given almost a third of his income to charities, to the poor that “they” say he does not care about.
We Americans live an ironic lie.
We revel in the ability and opportunities that this country affords us to attain success and then we scrutinize those who actually make it happen. We do not feel disconnected from Romney because of his success; we are jealous of it.
We live in a land of opportunity. The character that you leave this life with after pursuing your dreams is up to you. As good as greed is, it does have a dark side. Generosity can keep greed in check; Romney is a perfect example of that. Greed does not always have to result in illegal or immoral behavior. Greed can be the reason behind your success. Chances are the things that you have, your car, your home, your luxuries in life, were a product of your greed.
Related and divergent viewpoints:
Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are hers and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.