How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

The Inequality Gap is Growing

Professional golfer Matt Kuchar’s financial treatment of his caddie in the Mayakoba Golf Classic late last year was the embodiment of the “ugly un-sharing American.” Kuchar won $1.296 million in the tournament in Mexico and initially paid his substitute caddy $5,000. A controversy erupted as many claimed that Kurchar had, for all intensive purposes, stiffed this local caddy. Normally tour caddies receive 10 percent of a player’s winnings. Kuchar’s regular caddie, John Wood, couldn’t work the week of Mayakoba, so Kuchar hired a local caddie.

Kuchar has earned more than $47 million on the professional tour and this does not including his earnings as a brand spokesman for several companies including Skechers Shoes, Bridgestone Golf and Royal Bank of Canada. Bad publicity forced Kuchar to increase the caddy’s compensation to $50,000.

In an article in The New York Times entitled “Kuchar Takes a Mulligan on His Caddy’s Pay,” Karen Crouse wrote this about Kuchar’s decision to increase the amount he paid the local caddy, David Giral Ortiz: “Kuchar clearly hoped to put and end to the bad tidings that had sullied his image and cast him as tone-deaf American with a let-them-eat-cake attitude.”

I’m sure that there are many folks out there who feel that $5,000 is more than fair pay for four days of work. The local caddies typically make around $200 per day. According to Kuchar, he and the local caddie had agreed that the caddy would get $4,000 for top-ten finish and no specifics as to anything more if he won the tournament. Thus, according to Kuchar the $5.000 initially provided was in excess of what was promised.

Typically, Matt Kuchar would have paid his regular caddy $129,600 or 10% of the $1,296,000 first-place prize money. This would have left “Kooooch,” as fans used to affectionately chant to Kuchar, with the tiddy sum of $1,166,400 before taxes. That’s a lot of money to hit a golf ball around the links for a week in Mexico.

In my humble opinion, the uber-rich, like Matt Kuchar and Bryce Harper, should be both thankful and generous. They should not seek to reinforce the Percy Shelly aphorism that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. Instead they should reinterpret it as “the rich get richer and the poor get less poor.”

Princeton Professor Angus Deaton, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Economics, wrote in his highly acclaimed book The Great Escape health, wealth, and the origins of inequality the following about inequality, “The world is hugely unequal…. It can be bad if the winners try to pull up the ladders behind them.”

The super rich should take page out the book of Pearlie Mae Smith and her seven adult children who won $429.6 million in the Powerball Jackpot in 2016 and donated 10 percent of their winnings to their church and local Trenton charities through their Smith Family Foundation.

In America, not only is the gap between the rich and the poor not narrowing (the wealth of the three richest American exceeds the wealth of half the country), but the economic situation of the middle class is not improving relative to prior generations. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that nearly two-thirds of respondents believed that today’s children will grow up to be worse off than their parents.

According to Deaton “many [Americans] today have a good reason to worry whether their children and grandchildren will look back to the present not as time of relative scarcity but as a long-loss golden age.”

The recent government shut-down brought home how economically precarious the lives of too many American are. The nightly news were replete with interviews with furloughed federal workers and contract workers who never received back pay – janitors, security guards, daycare workers, food services employees who were living pay check to pay check and had absolutely no savings. During the furlough many folks were forced to make impossible choices between rent, healthcare, food and transportation. Food banks across the nation reported a 20- to 50-percent increase in request for food assistance.

The only good that came from the shut down was it gave us additional insight into the precocity of our social safety net and of a low-wage economy where millions of hard-working Americans are a paycheck or two away from economic peril because they are grossly underpaid by an economic system that exploits their labor. A recent Federal Reserve report found that four in ten Americans can not cover an unexpected $400 expense. This is truly alarming and indicative of extremely precarious economic situation that far too many Americans are in.