Lincoln * Institute

Ralph R. Reiland

Ralph R. Reiland

The B. Kenneth Simon Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University

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Reflections

What's in a Name?

by Ralph R. Reiland
 

Richie Richman is a name that perfectly describes the well-heeled financial position of Mr. Richman.

It's like the name match of Tom Crapper, the man who many credit with inventing the toilet.

In fact, Mr. Crapper was a plumber who founded Thomas Crapper Company in London and invented the ballcock, or float value, a mechanism that increased the efficiency of the flush toilet by avoiding an overflow or (in the event of inadequate water pressure) a backflow.

Two other people with well-fitting names are Bernie Madoff, who made off with billions from defrauded investors, and Anthony Weiner, who left politics after sexting unseemly selfies and engaging in explicit online chats under the name "Carlos Danger."

By way of definition, a person's name that is regarded as amusingly appropriate to their occupation or passion is called an aptronym.

In any case, regarding Mr. Richman, President Obama squeezed in time a month before the midterm elections to hobnob with Richman and other millionaires and billionaires -- in between Mr. Obama's targeting of "the rich" for allegedly not paying their "fair share" (in fact, federal government reports on annual earnings and taxation show, for instance, that the top 10 percent of income earners in 2011 paid 68 percent of all federal income taxes while earning 45 percent of all income) and Mr. Obama's consistent complaining about the disproportionate impact of "the rich" in the financing of political campaigns.

On the same day, President Obama was the top money-attracting guest at fundraising events in New York City and at the multi-million dollar estate of Richie Richman.

In "Obama slams GOP as party of billionaires, then huddles with wealthy Dem donors," Dave Boyer at the Washington Times reported that Mr. Obama "raised money from wealthy Democrats" while he simultaneously "warned supporters in an email," sent from the Richman party, that "the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class if Republicans win both houses of Congress in the midterm elections."

The New York fundraiser was hosted by George Soros (net worth $24 billion) and Paul Tudor Jones (net worth $4.3 billion). Twenty-five donors paid up to $32,400 per person to attend the private, closed-door discussion with President Obama.

The second fundraiser was in the Conyers Farm area of upscale Greenwich, Connecticut at the $26 million 20-acre estate of Mr. Richman, a developer of lower-end rental housing.

A convoy of four helicopters flew the Obama party from the Soros fundraiser in New York to the Richman fundraiser in Connecticut, landing at the Greenwich Polo Club.

The people at the Richman party paid up to $32,400 a head to have dinner with President Obama, which included a VIP photo reception.

If the chicken at dinner was an eight ounce portion, that's $64,800 a pound, or $64,797 more than the price per pound of fresh chicken breasts and thighs at Krogers.

Without the photo, the price of admission to the Richie Richman affair dropped to $10,000 per person (or $20,000 a pound for chicken, given a half-pound serving). The downside of that savings, though, was just sitting there with a pecan ball while everyone else who paid more got up and headed off with President Obama for a picture.

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Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics and the B. Kenneth Simon professor of free enterprise at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

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Ralph R. Reiland

Phone: 412-779-7583

Email: rrreiland@aol.com

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