Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Idle Rich, Idle Poor, & the Burdened Middle Class

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 4, 2012

In 2011, reporter Stephen Marche pinpointed the painful paradigm of today’s static classes:

There are some truths so hard to face, so ugly and so at odds with how we imagine the world should be, that nobody can accept them. Here’s one: It is obvious that a class system has arrived in America — a recent study of the thirty-four countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that only Italy and Great Britain have less social mobility. But nobody wants to admit: If your daddy was rich, you’re gonna stay rich, and if your daddy was poor, you’re gonna stay poor. Every instinct in the American gut, every institution, every national symbol, runs on the idea that anybody can make it; the only limits are your own limits. Which is an amazing idea, a gift to the world — just no longer true. Culturally, and in their daily lives, Americans continue to glide through a ghostly land of opportunity they can’t bear to tell themselves isn’t real. It’s the most dangerous lie the country tells itself.

Everywhere I looked, I was exposed to this bitter reality. The middle-class is in the big squeeze. This isn’t my opinion the data is available to all and is irrefutable. On one side of the squeeze is the aristocrats. They have their special deal monopolies (which raise the prices on all consumers), courtesy of our government. The “idle rich” enjoy non-competitive life of leisure because they are “too big to fail.” (How much money do you put in your gas tank weekly?) Since there aren’t any free rides in life, the perks are provided by the government at the expense of the middle class.

However, in order to maintain the special deal for the “idle rich” the government must find another segment of the population that benefits from the current state of affairs. This they achieved through creating a new class – the “idle poor”. Our government created and funds the “idle poor” as an insurance policy to protect the “idle rich”. Do you really think the elites care about the poor when we can see how they treat the middle? Could an alternative explanation be that this group is necessary to maintain their special deals in the rigged game? The poor are treated like they are “too small to win,” but it’s a lie. The poor, in a free enterprise, nonstatic-class environment, can win in the game of life. Sadly, it’s easy to get people to volunteer for a “something for nothing” program, even though these people end up losing the most – their own self-respect.

The politicians (of the left and right persuasion) promise handouts to enough groups until they have their precious majorities for re-election and can continue the squeeze on the middle class. On one side, the wealthy elites squeeze the middle class with monopoly positions promised by government politicians elected with elites excess cash. On the other side, the poor squeeze the middle, receiving hand outs courtesy of our government taken from the middle class. Only the idle on both sides win in this scam. The rich through monopolies and the poor through handouts, both with little to no effort. All the while, the middle class runs faster on the gerbil wheel wondering why they never seem to get ahead.

Please don’t misread my point. I love free enterprise and competition, but that isn’t what is occurring in the USA or Canada. Sadly, our government has created a class system more diabolical than Thomas Jefferson’s worst imaginations. I want our countries to be free and to have all people everywhere have the ability to win through their willingness to work and grow. But this demands an end to the hypocrisy of class system built on top of the American Dream ethos. In order to fix this mess, it must be called what it is – an aristocracy in our midst. Stephen Marche elaborates:

In the United States, the emerging aristocracy remains staunchly convinced that it is not an aristocracy, that it’s the result of hard work and talent. The permanent working poor refuse to accept that their poverty is permanent. The class system is clandestine.

Perhaps if enough of the working class unite together, we can end the middle class squeeze. Call me a dreamer, and idealist, or even a nut case. I don’t care. A man with experience (success over time) is never at the mercy of a man with an opinion (and no results.) I know the middle class squeeze to be true in several ways. First, I have witnessed the workings of the “idle rich” class, watching second generation wealth attempt to secure it through special deals. Second, I have thousands of people joining LIFE who have been squeezed by these very forces at work. I will not sit by idly and watch my country fall without doing something. The West needs a resurgence of freedom and an end to the class system protecting the “idle” on both ends of the spectrum.

I (and my fellow founders) formed the LIFE business as a dream for meritocracy, developing merit based leadership communities around the world. LIFE is a level playing field where a person is rewarded based upon his contributions within the community. Do a little, receive a little; do a lot, receive a lot –  just like my experience in competitive sports. May the best man or woman or team win based upon performance. No class system, no special deals, just an opportunity to win based upon one’s results.

When discussing meritocracy there are two main reactions. On one hand is the group who gets excited and thankful, realizing that they finally have an opportunity to win based upon their own efforts and results. On the other hand is the group who gets upset and bitter, realizing they will no longer be able to hide from the scoreboard of life, since they have been exposed by their lack of effort and results. I was involved in community building for 5 1/2 years with little to show for it, but I never blamed anyone else. In fact, you only become a loser when you blame someone else. Don’t fall into pity parties or you will never experience the victory parties.

Regardless of the rhetoric of either side, meritocracy is simply just. For meritocracy ensures that everyone is given an equal opportunity and playing field. Imagine playing a game of King of the Mountain where everyone has a right to enter the game and battle their way to the mountaintop. New participants join the game with the goal of running to the top and knocking off the current King of the Mountain. This is an analogy of a true free enterprise system. Anyone can enter and compete, but if you don’t perform, don’t come crying to mommy. People can enter as individuals or teams, but no group gets a special deal. The King today may be knocked off tomorrow by better ideas, strategy, and people. The referee (government) is supposed to be neutral (justice), ensuring everyone plays the games by the rules.

Imagine the travesty if the current King of the Mountain buys off the referees, forcing all new participants to carry a 50 pound bag on their back (extra regulations.) Even if the King has to carry the bag also, it’s much easier to be on top with the 50 pounds than run up a mountain side with it. The more government rigs the game, the less free enterprise it becomes and the more a class society results. Western Civilization is at a crossroads because Big Banks and Big Business do not like to lose and believe they are “too big to fail.” They have rigged the game, ensuring “idle rich” stay on top, while the rest of us run around wondering why no one seems to knock off the Kings of the Mountain anymore. Government must stop playing the paid off referee and go back to the neutral umpire it’s supposed to be. Either this changes or the West, as we know it, will die.

One might be wondering how Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc made it to the top of the mountain. In truth, nearly all of the new big league entrepreneurs made it to the top of a new mountain with no established hierarchy of entrepreneurs at the mountaintop. In other words, since the old mountains are closed by the unethical partnership of Big Business and Big Government, the only opportunities for hungry entrepreneurs is to innovate into the new fields where the mountaintop is still vacant. Innovation and competition is fantastic on the new mountains, but imagine how much more innovation would occur if Western Society opened up all its mountaintops, like a true free enterprise system should and competitive sports does?

For example, can one see how perturbed the established energy companies would be if some crazy innovator developed a way to convert water into workable energy? Does a person think the established order would support the new innovator or attempt to quash his (or her) ideas because trillions of dollars are on the line? Regretfully, squashing the new entrepreneur is the modus operandi in Western economics. Everyone, except the few with the special deals, are hurt here. For without innovation an economy stagnates and declines.

Here is a quick video describing the economic malaise damaging the West.

What if leadership communities, groups who educated themselves and others on historic leadership and liberty principles, joined together and formed free communities for real change? In my book, RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I talk about Arnold Toynbee and his thesis of “Challenge and Response.” We are going through one of these critical periods where the West has serious challenges to respond to and it takes leaders to respond. Throughout the West history, citizen leaders have stood up to tyranny whenever the need arose to right the wrongs. Today’s issues demand courageous leaders who will respond similarly, standing up and fixing them, doing what is right because it is right. Do you see the challenge? Are you ready to respond? I am and that’s why I committed to LIFE for life. Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

23 Responses to “Idle Rich, Idle Poor, & the Burdened Middle Class”

  1. Kay said

    The other day I heard a ‘talking head” tell a radio listener to vote with her heart in the next election, to vote for the person that “feels” right. No recommendation for her to educate herself, to read, to learn. So many are focused on believing our country is moving toward socialism, and it isn’t so. “Freedom Shift” by Oliver DeMille is an eye opener, and I’ve recommended it to many people so they can fianlly understand what’s really happening and how much is at stake for us, and generations to come. Stephen Marche’s article is right on the mark—believe it or not.

  2. Bill Lewis said

    Orrin this is a great post and how true it is. The funny part is some people think when you talk about the wealthy, they you are talking about yourself. I can assure anyone reading this that Orrin has succeeded but he has never gotten a special deal or a hand out, like Orrin is referring to in the article. He did it the old fashion way, “He earned it.” And he created a fair system for the guy or gal coming behind him. He has not created any special deals so he can maintain his position. The Woodward’s go out and perform just like everyone else in their organization and thats the way it should be.

    • Bill, Great point. If you lead everyday and pay millions of dollars in taxes (which I do), then you are not part of any idle elite, since they hardly lead and pay little to no taxes. As a matter of record, Nelson Rockefeller when he was approved as a non-elected VP for Gerald Ford, admitted he paid no taxes for numerous years. He was a billionaire and paid no taxes?!? http://www.voxfux.com/features/rockefeller/ch1-4.html The Idle Rich and Idle Poor are killing the workers of the West. Not coincidentally, they keep the workers divided by useless terms like Democrat, Republican, and Independent. The division ought to be those who are willing to work and those who after free rides! If that was the division, then we would have a chance to restore our countries. thanks, Orrin

  3. rjfisher1 said

    I have never had such a good understanding of what is going on, where I stand and what needs to be done that today. This article and the first part yesterday are incredible. I love what we stand for and the challenge that is before us. It is a great time to be alive if we seize the LIFE opportunity before us and play the part in history we are called to. I am more excited now than ever before in my life about what I was created to play a part in and stand for. Wow! The truth is music and I love the song that is played here. I cannot wait and I have confidence that the stage you have set for us all to play on is the one that was required for those with that deep yearning, but lack of information or an upbringing that leaned them in the direction of the idle rich or the idle poor, to step onto and perform for their and the Wests needed victory!
    Thank you!!!!!!

  4. rjfisher1 said

    Reblogged this on Richard and Jammie Fisher Leadership and commented:
    Wow, part two. This is amazing.

  5. Reblogged this on Highlanders: Texas Edition.

  6. Lanny Hoover said

    I must have missed the point. How were the long list of current entrepeneurs created? Like you, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mike Markkula, and the list goes on. I don’t see their rise due to there fathers wealth or government hand outs. Help me out here. They seemed to have created according to their vision & action.

    Oddly enough Esquire Magazine seems to speak from a view quite opposite of yours until now.

    It is time for an education that will reverse the socialistic majority we have now as shown by our government’s agenda. We have been giving away the farm to China. Thus strenthing there position & weakening ours. Are we strong enough to rise?

    I’m interested in you comments regarding new LIFE.

    Always the best,
    Lanny Hoover

    • Lanny, Great question. In any new field of endeavor, there isn’t an existing power structure at the new hill. In other words, continuing the analogy of the King of the Mountain, when a new hill opens up, from creativity of entrepreneurs, anyone can run to the top. However, as soon as they get there, they work with government to close the stamped and ensure those on top stay on top. I see you are a quixnet user so I assume you are in Amway so I will use an Amway example.

      For example Rich and Jay from Amway signed up with Nutralite in the new field of networking. When they didn’t like the management decisions of Nutralite they were free to start their own company, even eventually bringing over crossline who liked their idea better than Nutralite’s. Because they were free and had better ideas they beat Nutralite in the marketplace, eventually buying the company and combining it into their burgeoning empire. Sadly, when the second generation took the leadership helm, they attempted to prohibit anyone from running up the mountaintop, adding all sorts of non-competes and prohibitions to the very principles their dad’s used to start their own business. Silly isn’t it? Everyone should have the opportunity to truly own their own business, not just the person who was their first.

      I’m not picking on Amway because it happens in nearly every field and every established mountaintop. The second generation typically cannot lead so they attempt to coerce people on “their” mountain. Have you ever wondered why is it that everyone loves free enterprise when they are small until they become big and get to the top of the mountain? Then they seem to love government regulations that inhibit free enterprise mechanisms and ensure special deals for themselves?

      I feel the same today about free enterprise as I did when I first got started because I love competitive sports. If anyone wants to leave either LIFE or TEAM and form their own business plan, more power to them. Usually they realize that their success had a lot to do with current created by many other TEAM leaders. However, if they don’t see value in our leadership engine then I wouldn’t want them to feel forced in anyway to stay. Leave with honor with anyone who follows you and may the best company win. As a matter fact, I have at least an email a week of people who are succeeding in all kinds of business who learned the principles from the TEAM leadership. I celebrate their victories regardless of whether they stayed in our community!

      Free enterprisers should not think scarcity and no one should be forced to stay with any company that they do not agree with in their heart. Allow freedom to reign and all will benefit. If the only freedom is when a new mountain opens up, then we are certainly less than our potential in freedom. Allow all mountaintops to be open to the men and women with the best ideas and willingness to work. Entrepreneurship will flourish, not just in the new fields, but even the older, more established fields. When entrepreneurship flourished, all consumers win by having he best ideas at the best prices.

      I hope that helps. thanks, Orrin

  7. Courtenay Mitchell said

    Well said General….proud to be a part of the LIFE Revolution!!! Court

  8. Maribel Damphousse said

    How is it that people have the “entitlement attitude” whether they are rich or poor? It’s ironic that inspite of the difference of their social status, the idle rich or the idle poor are in fact in the same boat because they share something in common – wrong thinking, wrong response, wrong results. It boils down to what exactly lives in the heart of each person, rich or poor or middle class. The LIFE business responds and addresses this re-education of the heart with the right thinking which leads to the right response and gives the right results, a better life for everyone. Great post, Orrin!

  9. America is now the 10th on the list of most economic free countries now just below Canada! Did anyone else catch that?! I don’t know if I should be ticked off or happy that we are still in the top 10!? At least for now.
    Amazing! Thank you for posting this.
    Steve Leurquin

  10. Well said, Orrin… great post. I hope other take a moment to soak this in, as you’ve touched on some key points. I’ve shared this with others and hope they reach out to you. Thank you again and as always, God bless. ~ Geoff

  11. Reblogged this on TeamFox.

  12. Reblogged this on Dave Ober Life Leadership Team and commented:
    Very important information to understand! We need to educate ourselves!

  13. I really enjoyed looking through Idle Rich, Idle Poor, & the Burdened Middle Class Orrin Woodward Blog: LIFE TEAM Leadership and placed a bookmark to http://orrinwoodwardblog.com/2012/02/04/idle-rich-idle-poor-the-burdened-middle-class/ in my favourites so I can take a look at it again later on. There is some wonderful suggestions right here and several of the issues you raise have inspired me. Thank You.

  14. Reblogged this on Kristen Seidl – Living an Intentional Life and commented:
    The Truth – Like it or Not! A MUST READ!!

  15. Kevin Hamm said

    Loved the post Orrin,

    A key element in the long run will be succession strategies. The policy council structure, similar to the biblical elder structure, should provide safeguards to second generation blunders, in the mean time, I am so excited to be part of this “thing” called LIFE. What an opportunity we all have to fully leverage the gifts that God has given us as we develop communities. Thanks again for everything.

    Kevin Hamm

  16. pappabiggs said

    Just finished reading “Charity in Truth” (Caritas in Veritate). A deep read, but a great, great book on Human Development from both a Micro and Macro level (individual and community). There are so many tie ins to the writings of Oliver DeMille, that I’m going back and rereading “The Coming Aristocracy”. It’s amazing that these two authors of these two books are so far apart geographicly and in religious practice, but think so much alike. There is something inherant in both of these men as expressed on page 153 in “Charity in Truth” “The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God.” God Bless you guys, Orrin, Oliver, and Benedict for teaching by example to relentlessly seek the truth in charity.

  17. Penny Graff said

    Amazing video Orrin,
    With a plethora of stats that boggles the mind, I will mention just one: that 20 years of economic growth was able to be piddled away in just 9! If this continues (as it appears to be) just how fast will our country fall !?!
    John Graff

  18. Orrin,
    I am ready! Dream Big, Pray Always, Work Hard!

  19. Rob Crichlow said

    What a great video. It in two 3 mins clearly spells out where we are and how we got here. Thanks Orrin for leading the leadership revolution!

  20. Martyn Furnish said

    The piece makes a great key point.The vast majority believes in democracy and freedom. Democracy and freedom will lead to some inequalities (and sometimes even some unfairness due to luck and random events- it’s a price most of us are willing to pay for freedom). Equal opportunity and democracy will inevitably mean some apply themselves better, some are luckier and so on, with a resultant unequal distribution of income and wealth. Most of us have no problem with that, and support it.
    However, when we lose economic mobility, we lose equal opportunity. The combination of quite vastly unequal distribution with little economic mobility is indeed, quite simply, a class system. We ignore this and pretend to be classless at our peril. Our Governor said we want to be “a nation of haves and soon-to-haves”. I agree. However, there is no hint that we are moving in that direction- as the article points out, quite the reverse. Arm wrestling as to whether to “blame” Pres Obama or Pres Bush is tantamount to burying one’s head in the sand and making the whole thing look like rival football fans trash talking. We overestimate presidential power and underestimate our own roles and capabilities.
    As has been said, we are NOT moving towards socialism and such suggestions are just the silliness of a wing that prefers to dumb everything down to scare tactics, and would have people “vote with their heart” before educating themselves. It is the disingenuous leading the credulous.
    Incidentally, a very new study now claims that the UK has overtaken us in economic mobility, which would leave only Italy with less out of the 34 OECD countries. I love Italian food, wine, mountains and lakes, but am not too keen that we model ourselves on Italy politically or economically!

  21. mikemalick said

    I am not in your Life Team Biz. But I do respect you very much Orrin. I learned to ask questions after being a part of your team. If I was to rejoin it would only be with you as my sponsor. Referring to this topic.It is nice to hear you talk about the “elites”. Our government is nothing but a shadow government. They are all puppets bought and paid for. They are run by a secret society call the “elites”. Only a few families are running the worlds financial system and they hate competition. Rupert Murdoch owns half of the worlds media, News Corp. And our own government is trying to put us all out of business with all their regulations. They would rather have us all dependent on the government for all of our needs. We are looking more and more like nazi Germany. Only God and God fearing men with a backbone can turn this country around. Ron Paul is the only God fearing man running for President who can get it started.

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