"Income-earning" is not a zero-sum game
Reader comment on: A Problem in Search of Reality
Submitted by Belladonna Rogers (United States), Dec 6, 2013 17:27
The premise underlying the "income inequality" hysteria peddled by Obama and his fans at The New York Times is absurd. The fact that an American billionaire --- let's call him Billionaire S --- has earned $200 billion in one year is not preventing anyone else in this country from also earning $200 billion in that same year. Incomes are unequal because of many factors, including the fact that some sectors of the economy provide greater financial rewards than others, and even within sectors with high incomes, some will have higher incomes than others.
This is a consequence of what's called life. If everyone in the country had an absolutely equal ability to earn money and had the identical personality that Billionaire S has, and knew all the people Billionaire S knows, and has treated those people exactly as Billionaire S has, and has made as wise (or as foolish) marital decisions as Billionaire S has, then the imaginary other American would likely also earn $200 billion in a given year.
But people devote different amounts of their time to their work, choose different occupations, different pastimes, have different families with different obligations, not to mention different skills. I could practice 16 hours a day my entire life and I would never be able to become member of an NFL team, or an NBA team or an MLB team. My income will always be unequal to that of a pro ball player. Big deal.
Nothing, absolutely nothing this or any president says will ever do anything to change the fact that if I am a police officer on a small town's police force, there is a limit to what I will earn. Historically, in the United States, the president did not waste his time decrying the fact that some people make more money than others. It's a fool's errand, based on a foolish -- nay, a stupid and a non-reality-based --- premise.
And some people just get lucky -- luckier than others. That's one reason that this country has, traditionally, had a vibrant culture of private charities, to help those who are down on their luck. But thanks to this president and his IRS, many of those charities will cease to exist. Thanks a lot, Mr. President. Any other bright ideas you'd like to promulgate through executive order or in silly speeechifying?
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