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Going for the Gold

By Tom Morgan


What do these things have in common? Social Security. Disability. Windmills. Food stamps. A state’s low taxes. Big contributions to politicians.

These are linked by a basic ingredient of our nature. We go for the gold.

What prompted this thought was the number of Americans who recently signed up for Social Security disability payments. As people lost jobs in this lousy economy, millions more became disabled — disabled enough to claim Social Security should send them checks every month. Within a few years, “we the people,” became “we the afflicted.” By the millions we did. Our backs acted up. Migraines felled us. Shoulders froze. 

Of course, a big percentage of us did not suddenly become disabled. Out of work, millions simply saw the gold and went for it. Millions more than before. 

This is why outrageous percentages of firemen and police retire disabled. In cities and states where their contracts allow generous early retirements, we see huge numbers retire early. With bad backs, migraines, etc. Too many simply smell the gold. And they go for it.

This is why green ventures popped up like mushrooms in manure in this country. The government held out billions in loans and grants for green projects. Guys who planned to put their money into hotels switched to solar-panel ventures. And windmills. What the hell, they figured. If government wants to give us a few hundred million dollars, let’s go for it. 

This explains why so many of these ventures crashed and so few thrived. Basically, they did not fire up the venture for the money in the marketplace. They did so for the gold offered by the government.

Studies tell us most food stamps are undeserved. You don’t have to be a wizard economist to know food stamps go to millions who need them. And to millions who do not. The latter sell them for cash for drugs and booze. They use food stamps for a few necessities. So they can then afford the highly nutritious necessities like cheese puffs and ice cream.

The lust for gold explains why states with high taxes lose people and businesses to states with low taxes. People work hard for their money. They want to keep more of it. Low-tax states offer them the chance to keep more. So they go for it.

You know big hitters give big money to big politicians. Do you suppose this is out of the goodness of their hearts? Do you suppose their generosity springs from a belief in the goodness of the candidates? Nah. They want something. They want laws that favor their businesses. They want contracts. They want loans and grants. It is no accident that most of the green loans of the last few years went to guys who contributed big time to the president’s last campaign. When they contributed, these birds knew what they were doing. They were going for the gold.

We go for more than just the gold. Many times, I have seen millionaires at conferences push and shove to collect free t-shirts. They demand extra bars of hotel soap to pop into their Gucci suitcases. The way they covet them, you would think they were bars of gold.

From in Morgan.   

Tom Morgan writes about financial and other subjects from his home near Oneonta, in addition to his radio shows and new TV show. For more information about him, visit his website at 

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