George Graham

Today’s Billionaires are “Takers,” Not “Makers”

Listening to bartender Scott  Prouty (above, left) on MSNBC-TV last night, I was reminded of the debate triggered by Mitt Romney’s denunciation of 47 percent of the American people as moochers. It was Prouty’s secretly recorded video of the Romney speech to a roomful of wealthy donors (above, right) that turned the tide of the presidential election and helped President Obama win a second term.

After the speech was exposed, Romney lamely tried to explain away his dismissal of nearly half of America, but his conservative backers would have none of it. They doubled down on the “makers” versus “takers” theory. According to Paul Ryan and a host of others, Romney was right: half of America mooches on the other half – they’re the “takers” living on the avails of the “makers.”

I have to concede that there are some Americans who contribute more to society than they get out of it. But they do not include the parasites that Romney and Ryan represent.

My “makers” include the steelworker sweating out an eight-hour shift and the farmer getting up at dawn to put food on our tables. Obviously the real production comes from Americans such as these, not from some robber baron sitting at a computer figuring out how to move money around and keep most of it.

My under-compensated “makers,” who keep society functioning, also include the single mother working two or three jobs – at minimum wage or close to it – to support her kids, the long-haul truck driver bringing foodstuffs to the supermarket, the low-wage social worker, the teacher correcting papers far into the night without a thought of overtime …

These Americans and others like them are the “makers” who are being shafted by a perverse system.

But it’s not the working stiff who got laid off who’s doing the shafting. He is collecting an unemployment insurance check because he paid into the program for years.  It’s not the codger on Social Security or the veteran on disability. God knows they paid their dues.

And, yes Mr. Romney, yes Mr. Ryan, they are entitled to the checks they get.

The real “takers” are you, Mr. Romney and you Mr. Ryan who probably never did an honest day’s work in your lives. You and your ilk are the parasites who take more than their just desserts from the system. And your kind get richer and richer while the real makers are stuck in a financial rut.

In a article today Lynn Stuart Parramore notes that billionaires listed by Forbes as the world’s richest men”hit an all-time high of 5.4 trillion, up from 4.6 trillion in 2012.”

Parramore adds that:

The Forbes list of billionaires is brimming over with oligarchs, monopolists, thugs, miscreants, and hustlers. Not to mention right-wingers, narcissists, and parasitic predators. The only thing missing is the king of Mexian drug lords, Joaquin“El Chapo” Guzman, whose assets were evidently too hard to calculate this year.

 The article attempts to identify the “10 worst” billionaires, but the writer admits it’s “a daunting task.”

How to choose, for example, between telecom monopolists? The richest person in the world, Mexican mogul Carlos Slim Helu, is certainly no friend of humanity, but Silvio Berlusconi, with his special brand of Technicolor depravity, managed to edge him out. There are hundreds of garden-variety jerks to choose from, along with several dozen egregious SOBs like GoDaddy’s Bob Parsons who deserve dishonorable mention. And there should be a whole separate list of Russian oligarchs. Alas, one runs out of space and time.

There was a time when people were judged by their contribution to society, and many of the wealthy felt obligated to “give back.”  But that’s as rare today as the ivory-billed woodpecker.

In a world that increasingly identifies “success” in purely financial terms, it’s not the cream that rises to the top but the dregs.

To laud these parasites as “makers” is adding insult to injury.

Click here for the article.

Click here for more on the MSNBC interview.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for