When almost 50 percent of the American public does not work and relies on some form of government welfare paid for by the other 50 percent of the working population, it is perplexing when former White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers states that “The U.S. may well be on the way to becoming a ‘Downton Abbey’ economy.”
Downton Abbey is a British television show that highlights a wealthy British family and their servants at the turn of the 20th century. It seems to me that the 50 percent of Americans that are already working have become unwilling servants to the other 50 percent on welfare whose main jobs is to vote for the same politicians who promise and deliver more unearned income tax and “entitlements” by taxing the “rich” even more.
It is galling to hear people, who pay no taxes, work and get paid cash under the radar of the IRS, receive welfare, earned income tax credit, are paid by unions to show up and protest people who work for a living, demand that the “rich are not paying their fair share.”
Who is victimizing these people who consider themselves poor and downtrodden? If you ask them and their political representatives who became rich in office, voting and implementing policies that keep their constituents poor, it is the rich who are at fault. Personal responsibility plays no role in their ill-made choices.
Our huge and unpayable national debt has become the number one threat to national security. Yet Business Insider reports that the former CEO of Pimco, Mohammed El-Erian, considers “income inequality, wealth inequality, and inequality of opportunity the most important issues for policymakers and the rest of society to address.”
The former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said, “I consider income inequality the most dangerous part of what’s going on in the United States.”
It is interesting to evaluate such statements now when America is plagued by huge unemployment, trillions of dollars of new national debt, 0.1% GDP growth, anemic, mostly part-time job creation, disastrous economic policies, out of control spending, devaluation of the dollar through constant quantitative easings (monetizing the deficit), heavy corporate taxation which causes Congress-enabled overseas exodus of capital, EPA and DOE rules and regulations that destroy jobs and prevent the creation of new ones, and Obamacare, encompassing a huge portion of the economy and wasting trillions of dollars in the process of destroying the world’s best health care system.
French economist Thomas PIcketty, in his Keynesian appraisal of capitalism through the lenses of Karl Marx, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, wrote that income inequality would be less of an issue if we had stronger economic growth or if we imposed more confiscatory taxes on the wealthiest 10 percent.
Jared Bernstein believes that “income inequality hurt the economy because the wealthy spend a lower percentage of their income than the non-wealthy.” As if the rich sit on their vast fortunes. Who creates jobs? It is certainly not the poor. Who buys luxury goods?
Picketty added that the financial meltdown (caused in large part by Democrat-driven and sponsored lending policies and eager realtors who repackaged and resold bad loans) was a direct result of income inequality forcing modest households to go in debt, lured by “unscrupulous banks and financial intermediaries...[who] offered credit on increasingly generous terms.” In his view the consumers were hapless victims who had no idea that they could not afford a half million dollar home on a $50,000 a year income.
If the job scenario was not bad enough, Greenspan is calling on immigration reform. He says that the economy needs a boost in high-skilled workers. A lot of our college graduates are unemployed, willing and able to work, but employers prefer foreign workers because they work for less. The majority of those awaiting amnesty are unfortunately low-skill or no-skill workers. Passing amnesty would then hurt American minimum wage job holders and seekers as they would compete with 12 more million amnestied workers and their large extended families.
A study from the Brookings Institution found that “income inequality is much greater in cities like San Francisco with high-flying economies than in more sluggish ones like Wichita, Kansas.” (Dan Weil, February 25, 2014)
Peter Morici described Picketty’s solution to income inequality:
- 80 percent tax on income above $500,000 or $1 million
- Annual levy on wealth of 10 percent
- Use revenue thus derived to finance more redistribution of wealth via programs sponsored by progressive politicians, i.e. national health care and more government jobs
In defense of capitalism which Picketty excoriates, Morici said that it is the “democratic governments” who do not “act responsibly” and are thus “failing America’s workers and middle class.” (Democracy, Not Capitalism, Is Failing the Middle Class, April 29, 2014)
In the promotion of class envy and discontent, Saul Alinsky proposed class warfare, the division of people into the wealthy and the poor in order to make it easier to tax the wealthy with the support of the poor. Increasing the debt to unsustainable levels would allow the government to increase taxes on the middle class, thus producing more poor people who are easier to control.
Despite strident rhetoric of income inequality coming from the left, even Keynesian economists recognize the following reasons for unequal incomes which have little to do with the progressive taking points in the main stream media:- Differences in ability such as I.Q., poor health, and “entrepreneurial ability”
- Differences in intensity of work (some people work longer hours voluntarily, take on more jobs, or labor more intensely than others)
- Risk taking (investing in a start-up company, stock market, commodities market, an invention, a prototype, etc.)
- Compensating wage differentials (some jobs are more dangerous, more unpleasant, more demanding; for example, night shift vs. day shift, mining)
- Schooling and other types of training (investment in self, in human capital, paying high tuition to learn a trade)
- Work experience
- Inherited wealth
- Luck (wage differentials do exist by chance)
Progressives view income inequality as a harbinger for poverty. This is not necessarily true. Poverty is a relative term. A person who considers himself/herself poor in one country can be rich in another. Here are some of the reasons that cause poverty:- Tyranny
- Perennial welfare
- Bad choices in life
- Lack of education
- Poor choices in degrees
- Absence of middle class
- No opportunity for success
- No resources, i.e. living in a place like the Gobi desert
- Suppression by rulers and by government
- Not willing or afraid to put forth the effort and time to invest in oneself (human capital)
- Comfortable in generational poverty status quo
- Mental and emotional handicap, addiction
- Mental illness (much homelessness is caused by mental illness)
- Cultural factors, i.e., generational poverty
- Social mobility
- Lack of mobility to places where better opportunities exist
- Religious oppression and ignored genocide
Pope Francis called on governments to redistribute wealth to the poor in order to curb the “economy of exclusion,” hinting at the “injustices of capitalism.” (AP, “Pope Demands ‘Legitimate Redistribution’ of Wealth,” May 9, 2014)
Americans are already the most generous nation with their time, money, expertise, food, medicine, and education for those less fortunate. We don’t need the government to step in and confiscate in a Stalinist fashion our hard work in the name of the ill-conceived and unjust Marxist brand of “social justice.”
Having lived under both communist tyranny and capitalism, I choose capitalism exclusively. People don’t want someone else’s wealth or welfare on a constant basis, they have pride and want the opportunity to work for a better life, not expect crumbs from a tyrannical communist government or from a government beholden to crony capitalist corporatist interests.
The generous “government” welfare to those 50 percent low information voters who are elated with the current global status quo does not come just from the rich who pay plenty of taxes in spite of unfounded accusations, but also from people who often work long hours every week, two or three jobs to make ends meet, and sometimes cannot afford to buy the very things welfare recipients purchase with someone else’s hard work. Additionally, what the government gives so liberally with other people’s money, it can certainly take away.
Progressives have worked hard to cause permanent physical poverty and mental penury in America, while discrediting and blaming capitalism for “income inequality:”
- killing job opportunities for the poor (enacting higher pay for minimum wage jobs, creating Obamacare, pushing solar and wind energy against fossil fuels)
- keeping poor Americans out of good schools (forcing them out of successful charter schools like the one in D.C. into public schools to appease the teachers’ union)
- giving generous welfare that dis-incentivizes work and creating a Democrat plantation mentality (a destroyer of the human spirit and of the work ethic)
- supporting and funding abortion and single mother households with government as the daddy in order to destroy the family nucleus
- championing illegal immigrants as “undocumented/paperless Americans” instead of American workers
- fighting for criminals, not for the victims
- indoctrinating our children into the enslaving tenets of Marxism and the religion of environmentalism/Gaia
- erasing any symbol of Christianity in our public life and promoting Islam to our young and impressionable children
- destroying any symbols of patriotism that make us exceptional Americans
- deconstructing historical truth to suit the progressive agenda
The definition of capitalism does not include corporatism, the destruction of the free market , regulating everything, enabling the creation of corporate monopolies through special crony grants and rules, and concentrating power in a strangling and authoritarian central government who no longer answers to the people.
This administration is creating two Americas, one that works and one that does not work but votes for entitlements they have not earned. The plan is to reduce income inequality by debasing and punishing the successful through the forced redistribution of their wealth and income.