Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

One of the big problems with this country, summed up in a single sentence

According to a story on CNN’s website this weekend, during a 2006 meeting with employees angered over a new rule that would force them to share tips with their supervisors, casino mogul Steve Wynn said this in response to a woman who stated the rule would cost her fifteen to twenty thousand dollars a year:

“If $15,000 to $20,000 a year makes that big a difference in your life, you’re doing something wrong.”

Steve Wynn is worth an estimated 3.4 billion dollars.

There’s a lot of people in our government–on both sides of the aisle, but predominantly on the Republican side–who think this way. Back in December, while discussing the elimination of the estate tax (which only impacted individuals worth more than $5.5 million, or couples worth more than $11 million), Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Nice. Oh, and by the way, Chuck Grassley has an estimated worth of 3.76 million dollars.

The attitude from the likes of Wynn and Grassley is that those who have wealth are deserving or more able than those who don’t. I’m not going to doubt that these folks have worked hard, or that they’re able. At the same time, as someone who would benefit greatly from an extra $15,000 to $20,000 a year, I’ll readily admit to the mistakes I’ve made in my life that have put me, at times, behind the financial eight ball, starting with a career choice made thirty-plus years ago that set me on the road to being a person who is “doing something wrong.” But I’ve also worked my ass off (and I’m good at my job, dammit) in a field that does not really reward its people with riches, and while I’d like to have a Scrooge McDuck money pit like Steve Wynn and Chuck Grassley and pretty much every appointee and “special advisor to the President” hanging around the White House, it’s just not gonna happen. And I’m okay with that. Just don’t say I’m worth less because I’m worth less.

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On a different note, last night the wife and I went to see Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Very good film. Very much like a Coen brothers film, funny, but also very heavy, and unconventional. Great performances from all, especially Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson. I recommend it.

4 Responses

  1. EEK! That's.a terrifying comment and attitude. Wow. It's hard to imagine having so much money that $20k doesn't make a difference. People with that attitude shouldn't be able to make decisions for everyone!

  2. Unfortunately, it's been that way for generations. It's just that, now? They seem to feel that much more comfortable expressing it. Wynn, by the way, was the finance chair of the Republican National Committee until January, when he stepped down due to allegations of sexual misconduct (which also forced him to resign as CEO of his own company).

  3. $15-20k would make a very big difference to most people who are doing everything right by working hard for their families. This Wynn sounds like a very unsavoury character (from your reply to Jemi) and has also lost touch with reality. Having millions tends to do that for you.

  4. Indeed, Wynn does not sound like a nice guy. About the only thing I haven't heard about him is that he's connected to the mob (unless that goes without saying in Las Vegas, hah ha). I would like to lose touch with reality! (Also hah ha; I'd love the security of boatloads of cash, but would like to believe I wouldn't become a total tool as a result). Thanks for commenting!

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