Solano Real Estate Scene: Philanthropy makes sense from business perspective

There are many people and organizations that teach and promote financial literacy. Some of these are nonprofit charities and even churches that are doing good work, helping to build a stronger middle class by teaching folks how to successfully participate in the wealthiest capitalist country in the world. Income inequality and the wealth gap in America is constantly talked about by the politicians and corporate CEOs on all the news channels, social media and in the big Fortune 500 boardrooms. Helping starving children, the sick and needy people in the world is philanthropy and people and companies in our country and community are generous. “Greed is good” is the famous quote from Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie “Wall Street.” We have all witnessed cases of evil greed from individuals like Bernie Madoff and others who rip us off. We have also witnessed huge corporations and banks with fiduciary responsibilities getting caught and over the years have been fined billions of dollars in penalties for unethical and illegal behavior. Many of these companies never paid the fines because they filed bankruptcy or just went out of business. Greedy and dishonest people are a minority in America. Let’s call it only 2 percent of all folks are selfish, greedy and inconsiderate of who they hurt. Ninety-eight percent are good but 2 percent of 300 million people is probably 2 million or 3 million jerks who don’t care about anybody but themselves and certainly don’t care what this country looks like after they are dead and gone. I am going to suggest, in my opinion, the percentage may be higher than 2 percent of all businesses and corporations – maybe 3 percent or 4 percent – but 96 percent of all corporations and employers are good. The 2 percent to 4 percent can do a lot of damage fast and furious. The Wall Street-funded mortgage frenzy that caused the greatest recession and wealth loss to the middle class in American history is one example of a few ruining it for the many, and the tobacco industry withholding medical evidence that smoking kills for 20-plus years is another example of how a few can kill many. Ninety-five percent of all millionaires, billionaires and corporations give billions every year to charity. Teaching financial literacy is not charity, it is capitalism and just plain good business for those of us who care about what this country looks like for our kids and grandkids. Businesses and people across the nation are trying to bridge the gap between the super-rich and the rest of us, especially the 50 percent of the country that has nothing. CEOs and business owners of all types need a strong middle class and we need the majority of the population to be financially successful so they can buy things. No one wants the number of people on government assistance to grow, especially the high-tax-bracket upper middle class and of course the super-rich. Keep in mind that most financially successful people have kids and grandkids and they care about their future, so teaching people how to move from the middle class up to the upper middle and helping the poor pull themselves up into the middle class is just a darn good long-term business strategy. The good, the bad and the greedy ugly all need consumers who can afford to buy their products.