Skip to comments.Equality Versus Liberty
Posted on 01/08/2014 5:11:17 AM PST by Kaslin
resident Barack Obama says income inequality is "dangerous ... the defining challenge of our time." The pope is upset that capitalism causes inequality. Progressives, facing the failures of Obamacare, are eager to change the subject to America's "wealth gap."
It's true that today, the richest 1 percent of Americans own a third of America's wealth. One percent owns 35 percent!
But I say, so what? Progressives in the media claim that the rich get richer at the expense of the poor.
But that's a lie.
Hollywood sells the greedy-evil-capitalists-cheat-the-poor message with movies like Martin Scorsese's new film, "The Wolf of Wall Street," which portrays stock sellers as sex-crazed criminals. Years before, Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" created a creepy financier, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, who smugly gloated, "It's a zero-sum game. Somebody wins; somebody loses."
This is how the left sees the market: a zero-sum game. If someone makes money, he took it from everyone else. The more the rich have, the less others have. It's as if the economy is a pie that's already on the table, waiting to be carved. The bigger the piece the rich take, the less that's left for everyone else. The economy is just a fight over who gets how much.
But this is absurd. Bill Gates took a huge slice of pie, but he didn't take it from me. By starting Microsoft, he baked millions of new pies. He made the rest of the world richer, too. Entrepreneurs create things.
Over the past few decades, the difference in wealth between the rich and poor has grown. This makes people uncomfortable. But why is it a problem if the poor didn't get poorer?
Progressives claim they did. Some cite government data that show middle class incomes remaining relatively stagnant. But this data is misleading, too. It leaves out all government handouts, like rent subsidies and food stamps. It leaves out benefits like company-funded health insurance and pensions, which make up increasing portions of people's pay.
And it leaves out the innovation that makes life better for both the rich and poor. Even poor people today have access to cars, food, health care, entertainment and technology that rich people lusted for a few decades ago. Ninety percent of Americans living "below the poverty line" have smart phones, cable TV and cars. Seventy percent own two cars.
But hold on, says the left. Even if the poor reap some benefits from capitalism, it's just not "fair" that rich people have so much more. I suppose this is true. But what exactly is "fair"?
Is it fair that models are so good-looking? Why is it fair that some men are so much bigger than I, so no one will pay me to play pro sports? It's hardly fair that I was born in America, a country that offers me far greater opportunities than most other countries would. We Americans should be thankful that life is not fair!
Freedom isn't fair, if fair means equal. When people are free, some will be more successful than others. Some people are smarter or just luckier. Globalization and free-market capitalism multiply the effect of smarts and luck, allowing some people to get much richer than others. So what? Inequality may seem unfair, but the alternative -- government-forced equality -- is worse. It leaves everyone poor.
Opportunity is much more important than equality, and there is still income mobility in America. People born poor don't necessarily stay poor.
Pew research shows 58 percent of the kids born to the poorest fifth of families rose to a higher income group. Six percent rose all the way from the bottom fifth to the top fifth.
Sixty-one percent of kids born to the richest fifth of families fell from that group, and 9 percent fell all the way to the bottom.
Opportunity requires allowing people to take risks and make changes. We won't always like the outcomes. But over the long haul, we're still better off if people are free to strive and fail, or maybe -- reap big rewards.
Liberty and Equality...Two nice sounding words. But they are fundamentally incompatible.
Middle class wages HAVE indeed been stagnant during the past decade or two. I believe its primarily the fault of government, not the wealthy. Our governments at all levels in many areas of the country have been overly hostile to people/companies that employ people, making this an unfriendly place to do business.(has anyone ever asked a poor person for a job?) As a result, jobs are moved offshore where possible. We also punish investment, wealth accumulation, and success in general. All of the above has a depressing effect on wages. Combined with currency devaluation, making what wages the middle class does get buy less, and they're looking at an all around bad situation.
What I find an obscenity is the fact that those who actually EARN their wealth are constantly vilified. Successful doctors, business owners (employers), those who succeed by the power of their intellect are labeled as the selfish, greedy and corrupt.
Ever notice how the vast sums earned by professional athletes are celebrated? Or how wonderful a plastic-chested actress makes millions filming a single lousy movie? Or how “marvelous” a drugged up cutie-pie makes her fortune by dropping some of her clothes off? That is fine and “FAIR”, but the hard work of those who actually create is something to be scorned.
This world and country is so screwed up, I wonder if it is now “over the edge”.
> president Barack Obama says income inequality is “dangerous ... the defining challenge of our time.” The pope is upset that capitalism causes inequality. Progressives, facing the failures of Obamacare, are eager to change the subject to America’s “wealth gap.”
Ok. I’ll bite. You say its those greedy capitalists that are causing all the problems, right? Well I understand you are worth more than many of those capitalist pigs you talk about. Then how ‘bout you sharing some of that over half a billion you have socked away? Oh, you meant OTHER people need to chip in and share THEIR wealth.
What an idiot. He hasn’t put in a hard day of work ever in his life and thinks he’s a genius on economics.
OK next time the Commie from Kenya speaks tothe american people about income inequality— I want that Mother F— to sign over his income to me Or at the very least I want the President to issue Executive Order that provides his income will equal my own.If he is unwilling to do that then he should shut the Hell UP!
That will result in an overabundance of burger flippers.
I can see merit in limiting the inter-generational transfer of wealth to limit the formation of ruling dynasties (Kennedys?), but individuals should be free to make as much as they are able through creative or entrepreneurial methods.
Most of the super-rich entrepreneurs heavily support philanthropic efforts. They should be able to choose what to support, as it is their justly earned money.
The Founding generation didn't think so:
By equality, in a democracy, is to be understood, equality of civil rights, and not of condition. Equality of rights necessarily produces inequality of possessions; because, by the laws of nature and of equality, every man has a right to use his faculties, in an honest way, and the fruits of his labour, thus acquired, are his own. But, some men have more strength than others; some more health; some more industry; and some more skill and ingenuity, than others; and according to these, and other circumstances the products of their labour must be various, and their property must become unequal. The rights of property must be sacred, and must be protected; otherwise there could be no exertion of either ingenuity or industry, and consequently nothing but extreme poverty, misery, and brutal ignorance.
St. George Tucker, View of the Constitution of the United States , 1803
'Equality' is an equal opportunity, not an equal guarantee.
The inequality of income is the result of general state of inequality of people.
Those that lack ability, that chose to be uneducated, that lack initiative, that don’t work hard or not at all will have lower incomes. The President is attempting to rouse the unequal rabble
Where people are concerned, there is no equality and never will be. Inequality is the natural state of man.
To make things fair, all are equal under the law
(until the present when there is no law and operating outside the law, the President has become an out law)
To a commie, there is one limited pie
However God’s riches are unlimited, there is plenty for all
And we most definitely have achieved that variety.
So leave us the hell alone, you marxist freak.
And just how can one “rich” person get $1 million from 100 people that have $100?
I’m not sure how this “rich get rich off the backs of the poor” thing works...
Isn't "middle class" defined by income and therefore a constant? (Libtard logic...)
“Equality” is a term subject to much misinterpretation, most of it mischievous and of contradictory meaning.
As a mathematical term, equality meant the elements on one side of the equal sign were the direct balance to the elements on the other side. Merely putting the “=” sign between two elements without assuring and determining to the satisfaction of all involved that a true balance existed, is a misuse of the principle, and leads to further skewed and uncritical acceptance of a non-logical conclusion.
Only with the rigorous and critical application of the principle of “equality”, would definition of that word be compatible in any way with “liberty”, which in itself is a term subject to being redefined without notice by those who would corrupt the language.
Liberty to commit a crime is nothing like the liberty to exercise franchise to vote, because with liberty comes also the responsibility, the DUTY, to exercise that liberty judiciously and well.
Probably so. The goal of most all Leftists is to make everyone equal....Equally poor and miserable. With the exception of the 'ruling elite'/political class, of course.
The disaster known as 0bamacare is a perfect case study of this. Ruin the healthcare of the vast majority of people(85%) with the goal of 'equalizing' the system for the small minority(15%) that doesn't have insurance. Meanwhile the politicians, their staff, and the politically connected are left exempted from the entire thing....
Stossel should be President.
.....And just how can one rich person get $1 million from 100 people that have $100?....
It is really quite simple.
The government collect $100 from lots of tax payers.
The government then provides grants or perhaps loans to Soylendra. The rich guy that controls Soylendra skims $2 million off the top, keeps $1 million and then kicks back $1 million to the Obama daughters College Fund Trust maintained by Barclay’s Bank in Georgetown Grand Cayman.
It all happens in the blink of an eye, the instant zap of electrons on electronic ledgers.
Equality of opportunity - meaning that nobody citizen is barred from attempting to do what they wish - is essential to liberty.
Equality of outcome is anathema to liberty.