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Letters to the Editor: Think you’re rich because of hard work and smarts? Read the book of Job

A person holds a cardboard sign with the words "Abolish billionaires."
Protestors march to Jeff Bezos’ Beverly Hills mansion to lobby for improved working conditions at Amazon on Oct. 4, 2020.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In 1971, when I expressed my outrage that some NBA teams with losing records made the playoffs while others with winning records did not, young fans seemed to agree with me. Adults couldn’t control the smirk on their faces. They asked, “Whoever told you the world is a fair place?”

Wise counsel.

Columnist Nicholas Goldberg reports from recent polling that one-third of Americans believe life is fair. That’s not a good sign. We are all mortal. Eventually everyone experiences loss and tragedy.

Whether rich or poor, to expect things to go your way because you work hard and always strive to do right doesn’t prepare you for the eventual adversity everyone experiences. It looks like a third of our country needs to read the biblical book of Job and learn an eternal fact about life.

Elliot Fein, Trabuco Canyon

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To the editor: The owner of the duplex I lived in during college once invited me over for drinks with him and his wife. I saw a number tattooed on his arm and asked him about it. He was an Auschwitz survivor.

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With his family murdered and his possessions stolen, he made his way to the United States with nothing; he did not speak English. After getting a job as a box boy in a convenience store, working hard and saving his money, he invested in real estate and became a wealthy man.

He said he was so thankful that this country gave him the opportunity to succeed. If that is not upward mobility, I do not know what is.

Bill Toth, Studio City

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To the editor: As Goldberg makes clear, self-reliance is central to conservative ideology — we prosper not through luck or handouts but through hard work, gumption and discipline.

The mere acceptance of unearned aid, such as food stamps and unemployment insurance, is said to undermine the self-motivation that leads to a healthy society and economy.

But if conservatives really believed that, why would they accept — or even consider giving — an inheritance? These unearned payouts are massive, estimated in 2010 to account for up to half of household wealth in the U.S.

Brad Bonhall, Reno


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