To Those “Born on Third Base,” Wealth Comes Easy l. Introduction A. Attention Arnold Schwarzenegger is the perfect example of what we all strive for in the current America, The American dream that we all believe to be buried in the ground beneath us “My fellow American’s, this is an amazing moment for me. To think that once, a scrawny boy from Australia could grow up to be governor of California and stand in Madison square garden on behalf of the president of the united states. That is an immigrants dream. This is the American dream,” Arnold announced at the Republican National convention in August 2004.
B. Background Through examining the opinions presented in her article in the September issue of the Kansas city star entitled, to those born on third base, wealth comes easily, it is possible for me to arrive at my own opinion, while at the same time, evaluating the strengths of Ms. Sanchez’s own arguments as presented by Paige. C. Sp/ci I plan to break down Mary Sanchez’s article and show how her opinions closely resemble the thought process of many American’s today. We will cover three areas: First, Mary Sanchez and her thoughts on the wealthy. Second, my opinions in correspondence to Ms.
Sanchez; and third, my opinions on the American dream and how I believe it is still probable. l. body A. First, Mary Sanchez and her thoughts on the wealthy. Mary Sanchez’s article begins by relating the thoughts she formed while perusing the “Forbes 400” list; a list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. The ultimate question these thoughts lead her to asked if America is a country of equal opportunity, or one of preserving the status of a few privilege individuals at expense of the masses. Mary comes out strongly in favor of an America that is skewed.
She believes our country is in favor to those born ealthy at the expense of those starting in lower socioeconomic classes. She opens the article in wondering how one becomes wealthy. In stating the easiest way to become wealthy, and thereby make the Forbes 400, one must “Pick a rich daddy. ” She reveals her opinion that, “it is much easier to make more wealth if you had a nice chunk handed to you at birth. ” Of course, it’s hard to disagree with her on this point. The fact that one starts with immense wealth certainly does make it easier to make a ‘list of people with immense wealth’.
Throw in tax loopholes and income shelters and the case is even more convincing. However, right away Ms. Sanchez seems to contradict her own argument by stating that the cover photo of the print for the Forbes 400 features Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. Neither of which started with much wealth (if any at all) and both of which seemed to “pull themselves up by their own boot straps” to unimaginable wealth. One big consideration missing from her expose is now easy and now otten do those born into wealth lose that wealth and station?
I think an investigation of this would reveal far more individuals born into wealth move down the socioeconomic ladder than up it. Ultimately though, I must gree with Ms. Sanchez, it is easier to make the Forbes 400 if you are already born into a spot on the list. B. Second, we will discuss my opinion in correspondence Mary Sanchez. Another point she raises originates in a quote from Mitt Romney, “Everything that Anna and I have, we earned the old-fashioned way, and that’s by hard work. ” To this she responds, “As if boarding school, paid-for college education, growing up the son of an auto executive and governor in American meant nothing. I feel this is a completely inappropriate response to Romney’s statement for several reasons. Romneys ather’s achievements did not mean Romney hadn’t worked extremely hard to accumulate his own wealth. Romneys father wasn’t there putting in the hours for Mitt in the library during his Harvard MBA or his Harvard JD. Mitt’s father wasn’t there making the decisions at Bain Capital while Mitt guided it towards wild success resulting in his extreme wealth. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that either Ms.
Sanchez has no idea how much hard work it takes to accomplish an education and career of this nature, or knowing the amount of work, she dismisses it as not the kind of hard work that counts. Either one of these options is unacceptable in my opinion. Some hard work leads to MBA and JDs and some leads to sore backs and calloused hands. Both need to be appreciated. She might have more footing if she mentioned Mitt Romney’s political career in the context of his father and “social capital,” (Social capital can be summed up by the phrase, “It’s not what you do, but who you know’), but she doesn’t.
In focusing solely on Romney’s wealth and neglecting this point I think she misses a serious opportunity to further her argument. Her ultimate question, as stated, is pointed at the political and social ystems in America. Are they skewed toward the privileged? She defines privilege as being born into wealth, or if not monetary wealth, into a wealth of “social capital. ” To get at this question of privilege she consults, “Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says about America,” a report produced by the non-profit organization “United for a Fair Economy. In this report, the Forbes 400 is broken up into socioeconomic categories denoted by bases on a baseball field. If your born immensely wealthy your considered born on “home plate. ” Alternately, if you’re born f lower or lower-middle class roots, then you’re considered born in the “batter’s box. ” Sanchez produces several facts from the report in which she feels add creditably to her argument that the system is designed to preserve the privileged at the expense of everyone else. She writes that, “1 in 5 of the 400 inherited enough wealth to make the cut (list). She also states that “only a little over one-third of the list was born in the batter’s box – that is in the lower or middle class. ” These are all statements meant to further her own stance. Yet, ironically, it is these very statements that lead e to my ultimate conclusion, one contrary to Ms. Sanchez’s opinion. C. Third, we will discuss how I believe the American dream is still highly probable. One major issue in her consideration of the “fairness” of the American system is her failure to recognize the mothers and fathers of the “homeplaters. Did they not have to “work nard” to get what they achieved I ? think sne would tind that many ot them came up on their own, and through their own hard work, provided an incredible amount of wealth to their descendents. By ignoring these issues, I have to conclude that Ms. Sanchez doesn’t think these are important considerations in the question of the fairness of American society. I have to say that is completely unacceptable. “1 in 5” of 400 is still only 80. Only 80 of the 400 inherited enough wealth to make the list.
So 320 put themselves on the list through their own actions. An interesting study, but one that is not included in her article, would be to consider how many of these “homeplaters” increased the wealth they were given or squandered it. Unfortunately, we are left to speculate. If I had to take a guess, I would say most enhanced there wealth- or they would have fallen off the list. Furthermore, to me, the fact that more than 33% of the 400 wealthiest American’s started off in the lowest economic classes can point to nothing but a system were opportunity is readily available.
When compared to other major industrialized countries such as China or Russia, or even the social democratic states of Europe, this kind of accumulation of wealth and change in economic class over an individual’s life time is extremely rare if not absolutely unheard of. It is important to keep in mind that Just because an opportunity is available doesn’t guarantee everyone will take advantage of the opportunity, or deserve to. Ill. Conclusion In conclusion, I believe that America remains a “meritocracy’ or performance based system.
That is why we have the “American Dream. “Millions of the smartest and most capable individuals come here, if not to make the 400 wealthiest list, at least to be given a chance to improve their lives. America is a performance based society, offering fair opportunity. Furthermore, I believe Ms. Sanchez own facts lend themselves to my conclusion much more strongly than her opposite opinion. Work Cited Sanchez, Mary. “To those Born on Third Base: Wealth comes Easily. ” The Kansas City star. 25 september, 2012.