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Letís get back to rewarding true merit (MEGA-PROJECTILE BARF ALERT)
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | 11/13/12 | Editorial

Posted on 11/13/2012 10:28:19 AM PST by Chi-townChief

If the United States were a healthy meritocracy, where talent and hard work pretty much determined how far we go in life, fair-minded people wouldn’t be demanding that rich people pay more in taxes.

The general feeling would be that the race is fair and the wealthy have earned all they’ve got. The rest of us just have to work harder and smarter.

But by no honest reckoning is the United States the “land of opportunity” it once was, and the race looks less fair every day. Advantages and opportunities are skewed to the few against the many, as is made evident by a breathtaking concentration of the nation’s wealth and income in a very few hands.

President Barack Obama’s insistence that the wealthy pay more in taxes, which Congress must grapple with as they begin new budget talks Tuesday, is hardly redistributive socialism, but neither is it just about balancing a budget.

Obama’s insistence that the rich pay more is an essential step toward restoring the rewards of merit, the first precondition of a functioning free enterprise system. It is a matter of ensuring that Americans at the bottom and in the middle get a fair shot, even if Daddy was an ex-con, not an ex-governor, beginning with a good education, adequate nutrition and health care.

Opposition to a tax increase on the wealthy, through either a rate increase or closing loopholes, flows from the curious notion that — we hear it all the time — Americans at the very top earned every dime they’ve got.

It is a self-serving view, best represented by Gov. Mitt Romney’s boast on the campaign trail that he built his business, Bain Capital, “from scratch.” As if Romney had not been born into an enormously wealthy and connected family, gone to the best schools money could buy and tapped his father’s friends for millions in investment funds. It would be more remarkable, frankly, if Romney had not done well.

Allow us to say it again: Increasing taxes on the wealthy is not a matter of soaking the rich, but of promoting a more vital link between merit and reward.

If the distribution of merit among all Americans — IQ scores, athletic ability, work ethic and the like — were plotted on a graph, it would create a bell curve, with a small number of incompetents at one end, the average majority in the middle, and a small number of extraordinarily talented people at the other end.

Then, if merit were fairly rewarded, the distribution of incomes also would create a bell curve. But, of course, it does not. The top 1 percent of Americans takes in about a fifth of all income and controls more than a third of the wealth. Meanwhile, on measures of social mobility — the ability of a person to move up — the United States ranks behind most advanced industrial countries.

All historic battles over government domestic spending, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fight for the New Deal, have been at heart disagreements about who earned or did not earn what. And, as a play that just finished up at Steppenwolf Theatre, “Good People,” makes clear, it’s not always an easy call.

In the play by David Lindsay-Abaire, two people who grew up hard in South Boston — a successful doctor and a struggling single mother — almost come to blows over whether the doctor made it all on his own, as he believes, and the single mom was a victim of bad luck, as she believes.

But this time, the numbers don’t lie. We are living in a new Gilded Age of alarming income disparities — hardly the desired outcome of a properly functioning free market.

And telling government to just get out of the way, when a fortunate few already control the race, is no solution at all.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 0bama; 2012; envy; greed
Two interesting point: - The Sun-Times editors obviously don't know what a bell curve is - If the United States truly were a healthy meritocracy, our so-called president Barky 0bama would be flipping spam-burgers somewhere in Hawaii.
1 posted on 11/13/2012 10:28:31 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief
Opposition to a tax increase on the wealthy, through either a rate increase or closing loopholes, flows from the curious notion that — we hear it all the time — Americans at the very top earned every dime they’ve got.

It actually flows from the constitutional notion of property rights including Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. I wouldn't expect uneducated Marxists to understand that including 95% of journalists and editors.

2 posted on 11/13/2012 10:34:51 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.)
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To: Chi-townChief
"But by no honest reckoning is the United States the “land of opportunity” it once was, and the race looks less fair every day. Advantages and opportunities are skewed to the few against the many,...

The fix is as simple as restoring the protective import tariffs our founding fathers had in place, and putting Americans back to work for Americans.

But given that neither candidate or party gets this, it's as likely as growing turnips that grow roots of pure gold.

3 posted on 11/13/2012 10:41:14 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: Chi-townChief
If the distribution of merit among all Americans — IQ scores, athletic ability, work ethic and the like — were plotted on a graph, it would create a bell curve, with a small number of incompetents at one end, the average majority in the middle, and a small number of extraordinarily talented people at the other end.

They might want to avoid such an exercise as they would not like what they see at the two ends of the graph.

But I suppose they would simply adjust the criteria for incompetent and extraordinary till they get the results they want. .

4 posted on 11/13/2012 10:45:22 AM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: Chi-townChief

The editors erroneously assume that the country isn’t already massively redistributive, when it clearly is. It costs about $14,000 a year to pay for the education of one child in public school. How much of that do you think poor people pay through taxation?

The reason the wealthy have been doing so well is that they have skills that are in demand in a global economy. When your skills are in demand, that creates a bidding war. If your only skill is to push a mop around a floor, then obviously no one is going to bid for your labor.


5 posted on 11/13/2012 10:45:52 AM PST by paglia444
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To: Chi-townChief

Did the Ballet-Dancer write this crap?


6 posted on 11/13/2012 10:49:18 AM PST by TexasCajun
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To: Chi-townChief

Bflr


7 posted on 11/13/2012 10:52:30 AM PST by r-q-tek86 ("It doesn't matter how smart you are if you don't stop and think" - Dr. Sowell)
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To: Chi-townChief

they lost me on the part about “fair minded” people demanding tax increases on the rich

by that logic, Stalin was just a bit over-zealously “fair minded” to execute first the aristocrats and then the kulaks and take their stuff


8 posted on 11/13/2012 10:52:40 AM PST by silverleaf (Age Takes a Toll: Please Have Exact Change)
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To: Chi-townChief

“Allow us to say it again: Increasing taxes on the wealthy is not a matter of soaking the rich, but of promoting a more vital link between merit and reward. “

Just wow....


9 posted on 11/13/2012 10:53:21 AM PST by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: TexasCajun

You mean the ballerina who segued his congressional influence into making $14 million in a year as a hedge fund rainmaker, then turned his family into a Charitable Trust and his home into its headquarters to shelter it from taxation?

That ballerina?


10 posted on 11/13/2012 10:58:24 AM PST by silverleaf (Age Takes a Toll: Please Have Exact Change)
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To: Chi-townChief

Who gives a crap. I’m a 30 year retired military officer. I’m perfectly happy with what I have done, where I have been, and what I was paid for doing it. Yes, if I had the opportunity I would do nothing differently. These greedy, selfish, resentful, envious, parasites make me sick.


11 posted on 11/13/2012 11:18:33 AM PST by mosaicwolf (Strength and Honor)
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To: DannyTN
The fix is as simple as restoring the protective import tariffs our founding fathers had in place

Not exactly. The first tariffs were exclusively for purposes of revenue, not to protect domestic industries.

The War of 1812 brought forcibly to America's attention that importing all or most of its necessary military supplies from potential enemies might not be the best possible idea.

Also at about this same time the Brits were "dumping" goods into America because the French had imposed a blockade of British imports on their empire.

The first real protective tariff was passed in 1816, quite a long time after the Founding, and reached its peak in 1828, when A. Jackson squashed an incipient southern revolt led (as usual) by SC.

Rates went down after that, right up to the WBTS.

12 posted on 11/13/2012 11:19:26 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: All
Editorial written by a collective of "takers" who have never created a single job nor taken a risk starting a business.

How cute...

13 posted on 11/13/2012 11:24:06 AM PST by Prov1322 (Enjoy my wife's incredible artwork at www.watercolorARTwork.com! (This space no longer for rent))
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To: Chi-townChief

The work ethic is what is in decline. Now the skewed, bottom heavy bell curve is occupied by the lazy. When you only need to earn $60,000 to be in the top 10%, there is no question.


14 posted on 11/13/2012 11:26:12 AM PST by pacpam (action=consequence and applies in all cases - friend of victory)
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To: Chi-townChief

Jesse Jackson, Jesse Jackson Jr, the new Chicago mayor/felon, the old Chicago senator/felon/president, and more...all are millionaires.

None have an ability to do anything other than collect welfare checks and get fat.

Merit?

Bull Obama.

Chicago (and Illinois) is a sterling example that Idiocracy was a documentary.


15 posted on 11/13/2012 11:29:33 AM PST by Da Coyote
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To: Chi-townChief
If the distribution of merit among all Americans — IQ scores, athletic ability, work ethic and the like — were plotted on a graph, it would create a bell curve, with a small number of incompetents at one end, the average majority in the middle, and a small number of extraordinarily talented people at the other end.

Then, if merit were fairly rewarded, the distribution of incomes also would create a bell curve. But, of course, it does not.

This logic is flawed on its face. If there were a perfect bell curve of merit distribution as is claimed, then the graph of reward would be a sloped line with the extrodinarily talented getting the most and the incompetents getting nothing.

16 posted on 11/13/2012 11:36:17 AM PST by r-q-tek86 ("It doesn't matter how smart you are if you don't stop and think" - Dr. Sowell)
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To: Chi-townChief
President Barack Obama’s insistence that the wealthy pay more in taxes

Hussein Obama is using Al Gore Junior's stupid math claim that "if you earn $250,000 a year, yore a millyunaire!!!"

Also if you are in the 53% who are stuck paying Federal Income Tax, you are "wealthy" and must fork over your wealth for Marxist redistribution to the 47% who pay NO federal income tax.

17 posted on 11/13/2012 12:03:47 PM PST by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: Chi-townChief

“Increasing taxes on the wealthy is not a matter of soaking the rich, but of promoting a more vital link between merit and reward.”

Now there is a great example of Progressive logic if there ever was one.


18 posted on 11/13/2012 12:06:00 PM PST by MCF
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