Do Wealthy People Cheat and Commit More Crimes Than Everyone Else?


It's clear to me why affluent people commit more white-collar crimes than other social groups. Some also say that affluent people generally act more unethically than others. However, when you consider the totality of cheating in the U.S., the latter may not be accurate.

The temptation to commit white collar crimes is far greater for the wealthy, and the crimes committed are more serious than those committed by members of lower socioeconomic groups so they receive much more publicity. However, there is no doubt in my mind that the number of petty crimes perpetrated by lower socioeconomic groups is gigantic. For example, fraud involving individual tax evasion totaled $450 billion in 2006, and health care cheating annually exceeds more than $100 billion.

Let’s consider insider trading for a moment. Who owns the most securities in the U.S.? Of course, it is the affluent. So, is it any wonder that this group commits the crime more than other socioeconomic groups? The percentage of affluent people breaking insider trading laws is even more misleading as the group is much smaller than all of the other social groups.

Some millennials at PolicyMic have recently been trying to convince us  that the affluent are immoral bullies, who do not care about the needy in this country and who made their money fraudulently, or unproductively at best.

Given that the top 1% of earners in the country pays most of the taxes (federal that is), how can anyone say they do not care for those in need? It is their money that pays for the lion’s share of entitlements and welfare. Please liberals, stop twisting the truth.

What about charitable contributions? Who pays nearly all of this each year? In 2010 and 2009, charitable donations in the U.S. totaled $291 billion and $280 billion, respectively, and the affluent contributed most of it. Does it matter that men like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and many others have transferred billions of dollars to personal charitable foundations, which then pass the money to worth charities? Not to many millennials, from what I have read.

There are certainly jerks among the affluent. Some are arrogant, and some believe they are smarter than the authorities. People like Bernie Madoff and the long line of corporate executives who committed fraud think they will never be caught. Most of them are incarcerated, and they all cry tears of remorse after being handcuffed and carted away to where they belong.

The young people in this country, the millennials, do not yet appreciate what it takes to build and care for a family over decades, to earn a living while dealing with the plethora of problems that life has in store for them. And also, they do not respect the hard work of many who have prospered greatly.

Prosperity is not a dirty word, greed is. Having a lot of money is not an evil thing, using it foolishly or illegally is. To amass a great fortune while building a company and caring for a family is an epic endeavor. As the millennials age, grow wiser, and assume the leadership of America, they will learn to appreciate the achievements of their predecessors, notwithstanding the countless mistakes made by my colleagues over the past 30 years.