Skip to comments.The 'Fairness' Fraud (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 02/21/2012 12:29:27 PM PST by jazusamo
During a recent Fox News Channel debate about the Obama administration's tax policies, Democrat Bob Beckel raised the issue of "fairness."
He pointed out that a child born to a poor woman in the Bronx enters the world with far worse prospects than a child born to an affluent couple in Connecticut.
No one can deny that. The relevant question, however, is: How does allowing politicians to take more money in taxes from successful people, to squander in ways that will improve their own reelection prospects, make anything more "fair" for others?
Even if additional tax revenue all went to poor single mothers which it will not the multiple problems of children raised by poor single mothers would not be cured by throwing money at them. Indeed, the skyrocketing of unwed motherhood began when government welfare programs began throwing money at teenage girls who got pregnant.
Children born and raised without fathers are a major problem to society and to themselves. There is nothing "fair" about increasing the number of such children.
A more fundamental problem with the "fairness" issue raised by Beckel and many others is the slippery vagueness of the word "fair."
To ask whether life is fair either here and now, or at any time or place around the world, over the past several thousand years is to ask a question whose answer is obvious. Life has seldom been within shouting distance of fair, in the sense of even approximately equal prospects of success.
Countries whose politicians have been able to squander ever larger amounts of a nation's resources have not only failed to make the world more fair, the concentration of more resources and power in these politicians' hands has led to results that were often counterproductive at best, and bloodily catastrophic at worst.
More fundamentally, the question whether life is fair is very different from the question whether a given society's rules are fair. Society's rules can be fair in the sense of using the same standards of rewards and punishments for everyone. But that barely scratches the surface of making prospects or outcomes the same.
People raised in different homes, neighborhoods and cultures are going to behave differently and those differences have consequences. The multiculturalist dogma may say that all cultures are equal, or equally deserving of respect, but treating cultures as sacrosanct freezes people into the circumstances into which they happened to be born, much like a caste system.
While talk about "fairness" may provide a fig leaf to cover politicians' naked attempts to grab more and more of the nation's resources to spend, there is no assurance that raising tax rates on "the rich" will result in any more tax revenue for the government. High tax rates have too often simply caused wealthy people to put their money into tax-free securities or to send it overseas.
Four years ago, TV interviewer Charles Gibson pointed out to candidate Barack Obama that raising capital gains tax rates had on a number of occasions led to less capital gains tax revenue being collected and, conversely, lowering the capital gains tax rates had on other occasions increased the amount of capital gains revenue collected by the government.
Obama readily admitted that. But he said that "fairness" justified a higher tax rate on "the rich." Yet how does a higher tax rate on paper, without a real increase in the amount of taxes actually collected, promote fairness?
However, raising tax rates on "the rich" pays off politically, even if the government loses revenues when the rich put their money into tax shelters.
High tax rates in the upper income brackets allow politicians to win votes with class warfare rhetoric, painting their opponents as defenders of the rich. Meanwhile, the same politicians can win donations from the rich by creating tax loopholes that can keep the rich from actually paying those higher tax rates or perhaps any taxes at all.
What is worse than class warfare is phony class warfare. Slippery talk about "fairness" is at the heart of this fraud by politicians seeking to squander more of the nation's resources.
In my house ‘fair’ is known as The F-Word.
I hear you and agree on all of them.
Your list makes watching FOX a rather rare event, yes? :)
My change the channel guy is Hannity. Not because of him, per se, but because of the endless parade of American-hating, sub-human filth that he puts in front of the camera and then yuks it up with.
Saw DeeDee Meyers on TV this weekend. She said Obama’s campaign is that many people believe there is no good reason wealthy people make so much more, that they are not really any more intelligent, that it’s because the system is “rigged” against some people and the wealthy are using “gimmicks” to get rich.
I wanted someone to yell at her for being a damn communist and challenge every sylable of the nonsense she was spouting.
I don’t see rich people as “superior” however does she honestly think most CEO’s are not smarter than the average guy loitering on the street?
We allow liberals to sooo BS us. It is not “fair” for a non working non contributing person to have lots of kids, take drugs, commit crimes, get supported by working people - and then dare to point to income disparities!
Life is not fair.
Get used to it.
Thanks for the Dr. Sowell ping jaz. Always a quality read that makes my day.
A person doesn’t work (on the books, anyway) but gets welfare, food stamps, tax credits, free Section 8 housing, cell phones, sells drugs, etc. Is it “fair” that this person is treated as having no “income” when comparing statistics, considering they don’t work yet they are provided with tons of stuff?
Oh, they fully realize it. Employing class warfare is one of the weapons in the War on Poverty. Without it, the parasite can no longer feed off its host.
The vast majority of well to do and successful people are that way because they worked their rear ends off to get where they are.
The complainers for the most part are lazy bums willing to live off others success. I have Zer0 sympathy for them and him that resides in the WH.
My daughter’s AP U.S. History teacher told his students, “Fair is a place where pigs compete for ribbons.” Daughter and I had a lot of respect for that man.
The communists at the top milk the middle class worker like a farmer milks a cow. The communists take all the milk, skim the cream for themselves, and give a little of the milk to the underclass to buy their continued support.
Thomas Sowell is one of my intellectual heros.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a quick witted conservative pundit who would wisecrack, “It’s obvious that you didn’t pass Kindergarten. Most kids learn life aint fair and becomes even more unfair when you allow The DC Mafia to launder $3.8 Trillion of tax payer’s money year in and year out.”?
Where does she go to school? I will recommend the school highly.
Good one. I had a high school civics teacher who said this about straw polls: 'The reason they call them straw polls is because straw is what livestock sh*t in. And they both need straw to catch it.'