Angels and Assholes #15... Too Rich To Fail

I’ve been told to be briefer. Maybe not Twitter-brief, but Facebook-brief.  Reporters, Inc. a non-profit publishing house whose mission is social justice, are picking up my Angels and Assholes (brief-ed to A-holes to offend fewer people). Their readers actually like longer, so a conundrum. Anyway, I will try to be brief:

A-holes that use knowledge to abuse people rather than help them are my favorite a-holes. A simple word for social justice could be “fairness.”  I admit to being an adamant fairness freak. Maybe being a little short all my life made me extra sensitive. There is nothing, in my humble opinion, more unfair than to take advantage of your knowledge at someone’s expense…anywhere, any time. (Remember trading my dime for a larger nickel? Which, by the way, proved that without a doubt, bigger is not better.)

If education is the answer to poverty and peace in the world, then abusing it is really an a-hole thing to do. THE most egregious example of this, is as I have ready mentioned before…but worth repeating: Wall Street. Using their knowledge of complex financial products to pad their already 1% bank accounts (privately tucked away in an off-shore account in an attempt to be in a lower tax bracket than you), putting millions of people out of jobs, hundreds of thousands out of their homes, depleting many live’s savings. AND, what’s really unfair is nobody went to jail. One of the worst crimes in history and nobody went to prison. Amazing! Yet marijuana can get you 20. Lawyers. That’s the ticket. Ya got enough money, justice is no longer the issue.

Speaking of lawyers, I’ve first-hand evidence of a-hole behavior. There must be some reason for all those lawyer jokes? As a financial advisor for 25 years, I’ve dealt with many lawyers that were honest and ethical and used their knowledge to help me and my clients. I also had new clients, apparently “marks” to some attorneys, come in who had had elaborate trusts drawn up costing thousands of dollars (impressively lengthy, 99% boiler-plate), when an inexpensive will and trust was adequate. But what did their “marks” know? They have no knowledge of what was in their best interest.

Or, in settling an estate. What an opportune time to use your knowledge to screw people. I’ve had phone conversations to direct attorneys in how to administer a client’s estate, information I should have charged them for…thus saving my client expenses, maybe lasting ten minutes. Then seeing an itemized bill given to my client for several hours billed at exorbitant rates. Usually a trustee is representing a deceased estate and are easy “marks.” I’m not impressed with the system lawyers use to police themselves. Using knowledge of the LAW to take advantage of people is almost as obnoxious as using knowledge of money to rob people.

If the world was fair, education would be the answer, not the “edge.”

P.S. If you want to understand exactly what Wall Street did, order my novel: Back to the Island. It ends the way it does because, and the statute of limitations is almost up, to date no big transgressor has been incarcerated.