Go to the Head of the Investor Class
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I was interested to learn from the President the other day that I belong to a new social class. I've always wanted to be in one, and now it looks like it's easier than I could have hoped.

Growing up, I became aware early that I was part of a vague class that included a lot of people with whom I had nothing in common. "We're middle class," my mother and father told me, and they didn't seem upset about it.

"You mean we're not part of the proletariat?" I asked. This surprised me, because I had wanted a new stereo for my birthday and was told to request something a bit more modest in cost.

"No," said my father, who grew up before people knew about Evil Empires. "Your class is determined by your relationship to the means of production, not by the size of your income. We neither produce things as the working class does, nor reap the economic benefits from their production like those in the ruling class. We are in the middle. We're ... bourgeoisie."

I never liked this very much. There were and remain very few social benefits to bourgeois status. While a working-class hero is something to be, at least as far as girls are concerned, and there are advantages to being part of the ruling class when you're trying to get a limo out of the Super Bowl parking lot, there is no shine that comes off one's bourgeoisness per se, particularly at parties where people wear black and blow smoke at each other.

Perhaps most debilitating, when people ask you about yourself and you are required to admit to being bourgeois, they may be disappointed. Very often it's obvious that you are bourgeois even when they do not inquire, since you are glaringly undistinguished. We bourgeois often wear clothing that does not match, encase our furniture in plastic, and don't know our ear from a hole in the ground about the arts.

Now, thanks to the President, all that is over. I, like you, can shed my unfashionable class status and join a new social stratum with panache and cache--the Investor Class. Hurrah for us! Long may we wave!

There are many good things that come from this new position in the caste system of post-industrial capitalism--and they're not just about a hipper, cooler image. First, of course, is the prospect of freedom from taxation for all my dividends. The fact that I haven't collected any for a couple of years doesn't stop me from being excited. One of these days I plan to have some, and now I can keep them all for myself.

The President has made clear that this tax-free income arrives with a host of social responsibilities to classes less fortunate than mine. I will have to use my newfound lucre to create jobs for the folks in the working and nonworking classes by dining in more and finer American restaurants, purchasing additional American consumer goods, placing my money in securities issued by American companies, and taking more vacations at American locations. This should generate new business and help America. If I also end up having more fun while I'm helping the nation with my tax-free money, so much the better.

The exemption of dividends isn't the only great thing that comes along with membership in the new, nonproletarian, antibourgeois, post-ruling class. There are other perks.

First, IC members are invited to parties closed to all other classes. The wine and cheese at these parties is often better than the beer and sausages provided to working-class folks or the cucumber sandwiches the ruling class has to eat, usually with too much mayonnaise.

Among other attractive benefits are free roadside service, two-for-one deals at restaurants and dry-cleaning establishments, and automatic memberships at golf, tennis, and swim clubs that exclude working-, middle-, and ruling-class people. Hopeful singles and lonely divorced persons can also avail themselves of online dating services just for those within the new social milieu.

I guess right now you're probably saying, "Gee, Mr. President, it sounds great. But how do I get into the new investor class and take advantage of all these features?"

The answer is simple--invest! That's right! As much and as often as you can!

Best of all, the more you invest, the more upside you're likely to see from your class membership. People of modest means will achieve modest results. But big investors stand to gain a whole new level of affluence and tax-free happiness known only to those we used to call rich but who are now simply common people smart and savvy enough to do the right thing by themselves and their country.

Want to join? Call your broker! Power to the people--right on!

By day, Stanley Bing is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He can be reached at stanleybing@aol.com.