Facebook: More rich people. Just what we need.

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So Facebook is going public, and a homeless artist is going to get $200 million. Nice. And a company that has spent eight years spying on your private life (with your consent, of course, although admit it, you didn't know exactly how the data mining worked and how much these folks now know about you) is going to pick up a few billion dollars for selling your secrets to advertisers. Thank you for using Facebook.

This is, of course, supposed to be great news for the state, since all of those folks who get rich off stock options will eventually sell some of the stock and pay a capital gains tax, and then they'll pay sales taxes on the fancy cars and houses they buy, and we should be so fucking happy that the great wealth will trickle down to the rest of us, since Mitt Romney has made it clear that it's unAmerican to complain about success.

I'm not complaining. Good for David Choe that he's going to instantly be a member of the 1 percent. And despite what the trolls on this site love to say, I don't hate rich people.

I just think they ought to pay fair taxes.

Because in the end, a lot of the people who get rich off Facebook were, frankly, in the right place at the right time. Let's take Mr. Choe. He just happened to accept stock instead of a few thousand dollars cash to paint a wall at a company the might not have gone anywhere. He might as well have bought a lottery ticket. Some of the folks at Facebook are immensely talented and should be rewarded; many of them are just the same as the employees at a thousand other companies, except that they happened to get hired by one that is going to make them rich.

Let's suppose that the state charged a capital gains tax of 35 percent on income of more than $10 million. Mr. Choe would wind up with $140 million instead of $200 million. I think he'd still do fine; his grandkids would never have to work. But the state would have an extra $50 million to, say, pay for housing and education so that other young artists wouldn't be homeless.

I'm glad Mark Zuckerberg has signed on with Bill Gates to give away half of his money. This is a wonderful thing. But charity isn't going to fix the mess that is the United States economy; it's not going to substantially narrow the gap between the rich and the poor (especially since a lot of this "charity" goes to places like Harvard University -- thank you Mr. Gates -- which don't exactly count as helping the truly needy).

No: Charity is fine as far as it goes, but this country desperately needs more money in the public sector -- yes, government -- to pay for things that charity typically doesn't (you think any of the Facebook crew are going to give $100 million to Muni?) and to reduce the wealth gap that is choking the economy to death.

And so far, what the folks in the tech world seem to want is more tax breaks.

Okay, now I'm going to post this on Facebook.

 

 

Comments

Zuck didn't give them cash, he gave them paper stock, and it will be interesting to see the Newark school system try and unload $100M worth of stock on the market...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 03, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

Last night while trying to rest at 1001 Polk St bed #31, 2nd floor, three females in wheel-chairs rolled over to my bed and called themselves the Three Queens and asked for me to heal them. I said I'm not a healer pay a doctor and if you think you're Queens we all live in a shelter get over yourself. I told the monitor who did nothing.

One of the three in the wheel chair used to ram her chair into my suitcase so many times I just threw it in the garbage. Nothing was done about her(Mary).

Their reply to the statement that I cannot heal anyone was, "Didn't you fix your hip?" As far as I knew nothing was wrong with my hip. Further more usually people who need to 'fix' themselves go to hospitals.

Also someone announced they were hosting "Snaky-poos at midnight". A huge chorus of voices hoorayed the idea. I do not know what 'snaky-poos' are but the noise levels at the shelter are unbearable. It is clearly written that no sexual activities are allowed and females, primarily senior citizens keep advertising their sexual pasts, Vickie for example talks about how people think she is a prostitute. At a shelter you're not allowed to talk about sex.

--
Also there is almost no ventilation because the windows don't open so I'd like to be transferred to Episcopal Sanctuary. Can a health inspector see if the building is safe for habitation?

Posted by Guest collectiveHallucinations(myspace) on Feb. 04, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

This piece is a great illustration of the OWS\Obama\public union messaging machine we will witness in full force this year.

It is alarming that you somehow think giving Muni more money would improve service when the record reflects just the opposite. As long as Muni is run by union affiliates alleric to meritocracy - Muni will continue to be crap.

No - you are not entitled to successful people's money to give to your public employee union buddies...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

And your comment is a perfect example of right-wing (troll) messaging. Sorry, but the rich 1% are not entitled to SF taxpayers' money to fund their extravagances.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

You're acting like a big fucking crybaby because

- some artist lucked out and doesn't have to be homeless anymore

- a rich guy pledges to give away tens of billions of dollars to charity instead of handing it over to public sector union employees

- the rewards of a person's work are being determined by his success and it isn't fair to the people who failed

Anything else? Oh yes...

- the rich need to be taxed more.

Well I agree with that last point. They do need to be taxed more. A lot more. But here's the problem with your blog post: you are assuming that Choe, or any of the other suddenly-rich Facebook early birds are going to vehemently oppose higher taxes. Have you talked to Choe in order to hear his views on income taxes? If not, then how can you treat his good fortune as a downturn in the fight to hold the wealthy accountable and make them pay their fair share?

You could have found out how Choe felt BEFORE you published this bullshit blog, but you didn't. You have no idea what side of this issue Choe, or the other employees of Facebook, are on. This is a perfect example of why so many of your readers are convinced that you hate all rich people indiscriminately.

Posted by RamRod on Feb. 06, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

I am one from Silicon Valley, IPO's, start up, VC. ideas that take root from garages, bedrooms and tiny offices. I have know people that worked for no money on companies that were going to big but went bust. Facebook wasn't the first, won't be the last, it just seemed that everything was done right. Just think how many years of taxes will be generated over the years, how much money will be donated. In some cases the non profits will get a big windfall, the schools districts will get money, i don't see nothing wrong with making money from a honest way

Posted by garrett on Feb. 08, 2012 @ 12:45 pm