“(Income Inequality) is the defining issue of our time.” – President Barack Obama
“The envious man thinks that if his neighbor breaks a leg, he will be able to walk better himself” – Helmut Schoeck
Well it looks like the topic of “income inequality” is going to be a hot one this summer! With President Obama attacking “the rich” for not paying enough taxes and the Occupy Wall Street movement geared to create public chaos to get attention for “the 99%” this summer, it would help if we had a better understanding of what the issue really was.
Attacks you will hear:
- The top 1% of people TAKE almost a quarter of nation’s income.
- The Rich are getting richer and the Poor are getting poorer!
- The Rich aren’t paying their fair share in taxes!
- Pay for CEOs in 1970 was 39 times pay of average worker. In the year 2000, CEO made more than 1000 times of average worker!
If there is one theme that runs though all of this, it is that liberals are jealous that there are people who have more than they have. An often cited study from the Congressional Budget Office states that the top 1 percent of earners saw their incomes rise by 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, while the bottom 20 percent of earners saw their incomes rise by less than 20 percent, and the middle 60 percent of earners’ incomes rose by less than 40 percent during the same time.
So although everyone, including the poor, saw their incomes rise (despite the popular “the poor are getting poorer” line), the “superstar” earners were able to make a lot more.
That’s the beauty of capitalism, though if seen through the eyes of envy, nothing can make you more hateful. To understand this, there are some basic economic principles that need to be learned, such as the concepts of “leverage” and the “global economy”. Simply put, if you can take your special skills and offer it to the world, you will get a lot more reward for it than if you offered it to just your neighborhood.
Let’s take movie actors for example. If there was no national or global economy, each town or state would have to make their own movies. They wouldn’t be very good or very well funded. Actors would get paid in drinks and applause. But if you take movies to a national economy, you get bigger budgets and the actors make more money. Take it to the world level, actors are now making huuuuge paychecks. If we ever colonize thousands of planets like in the movie Star Wars, actors wouldn’t be able to spend all their money in a 100 lifetimes. Do us movie goers lose because actors make more? No, we also benefit from increased movie choices and higher quality.
If you’re thinking “Big budget Hollwood movies stink!” , then just imagine being stuck with low budget movies, like the ones above, forever. (On the plus side, playing outside or watching paint dry will seem a lot more attractive in comparison.)
What about the middle class? Will a unionized worker who gets paid to move lights around a movie set get paid in the same exponential numbers? No. Although he certainly gets paid a lot more on a big budget film, he will never get paid millions like the actors because he still is just moving the same light around. Is it fair? Well, the 10 people who would love to have his job certainly think so.
The fact is, income inequality is simply a liberal tactic that has been used to stoke the fires of jealousy. This has been used to spark communist revolutions around the world in the name of the “working people”. To be fair, communism certainly reduced income inequality. Everybody (except the government) was poor. In Ukraine, the breadbasket of the Soviet Union, about 7 million were starved to death by the government in an artificial man-made famine. But hey, at least they were all equal!
Other quick facts to keep in mind:
- Most taxes that take from the middle class start with promises from Democrats to only tax “the rich”: e.g. the income tax, gasoline tax, medical device tax, tanning bed tax, cigarette tax, etc.
- The top 5% pay more federal income taxes than the bottom 95%.
- More than 96% of millionaires today did not inherit their fortunes but actually made their money themselves. Mitt Romney is one of them.
- The top 1% do not TAKE a quarter of the nations income. They CREATE it. For example, did Steve Jobs make his billions by TAKING from the poor? No, he created amazing products and we’re all richer for it.
Next time you hear Democrats attacking the rich and griping about “income inequality” just ask yourself: when was the last time a poor person offered you a job? This is America, we are all fortunate to live in a time where we can choose to be one of the rich if we want to with nobody to stop us but ourselves . . . and maybe the government soon . . . if we let them.
“Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.”
– Job 5:2 (NLT version of the Bible)