Don't begrudge success

Reader comment on: Two From Paul Ryan

Submitted by ben (United States), Nov 18, 2011 10:56

I do not begrudge the success of those who come about it honestly, through hard work, inventiveness or determination. However, there is a yawning disconnect for many of the wealthiest in this country and those values. The Walton clan makes billions of dollars on their investments without lifting a finger (they do not work hard). The securities traders who peddled garbage loans knowing they had originated through fraudulent or predatory means made their money dishonestly. Even for those who did earn their own money and do it honestly (Bill Gates for example), he could only do it because he lives in a society with the rule of law, an educated populations, and paved roads. I am in favor of growing the pie as well, but to do so we must have the conditions where every person is able to achieve to his or her potential. If a child is in a failing school, lacks healthcare or has a parent who works 80 hours a week at minimum wage, that child is far less likely to achieve. Who will pay for this child to have a good school, healthcare and a living wage for the parent? People do not start in the same position at birth, so government must take an active role in leveling the playing field so those with determination and honesty are able to flourish - whether or not they are born in Scarsdale or East New York.

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The Future of Capitalism replies:

Re the Waltons, the one who originally made all the money worked very, very hard. There are two family members on the Walmart board, including one who serves as the chairman. How do you know how hard he works? It is very easy for a family-controlled business (or any business) to go down the tubes after the charismatic founder dies. Walmart hasn't. And why single out the securities traders (some of whom may have worked hard and been from poor families) rather than the real estate agents, mortgage brokers, ratings agencies, regulators, etc. I think if you look at what Ryan and Cantor are saying, they are all about trying to raise up and improve equality of opportunity, along the lines you suggest, rather than equality of outcome.

Other reader comments on this item

Title By Date
⇒ Don't begrudge success
[w/response] [240 words]
benNov 18, 2011 10:56
Inequality [533 words]Fast EddieNov 18, 2011 15:26

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