American Elephants

Can Inequality Be Fixed? Can There Be Social Justice? by The Elephant's Child

The current theme of the Democrats seems to be “Inequality.” Or “Social Justice” if you prefer. They speak of a growing gap between the very rich and ordinary folk, with the insinuation that anyone who gets very rich must have been unjust in their accumulation of wealth. Certainly this has been a major theme for Barack Obama. He spoke of redistribution even farther back than his famed encounter with Joe the Plumber. Michelle Obama spoke on the campaign trail of coercive redistribution of wealth, and the basic unfairness of America.

I have trouble with the concept of ‘social justice’— for the definition seems to vary from equality of opportunity, equal ability to develop one’s human potential, to the idea that society should treat all equally well who deserve being treated equally.

The gap between our IT billionaires and the poor is measured and remeasured.  We have had successful products in the past, but never before a product that is required by every person in every business and even in the poorest homes. Of course those who came up with new products, the applications and the updates and the new improved versions were going to be rewarded with fabulous wealth. Does the life of a poor person become worse because a new product enters the world? Is it somehow unfair that someone had the ideas and skills to develop those products is rewarded for so doing? How is this in any way— unjust?

If we must redistribute wealth to be just, how much do we have to redistribute? How much do we have to take away from the rich man to give to the poor man? Barack Obama promised “change” and millions of black Americans were sure that meant that their situation in life would improve. He has vigorously promoted redistribution of wealth for 4½ years, and the welfare of poor black Americans has steadily declined. The unemployment rate for black young people is a staggering 60%. The president wants to raise the minimum wage, but statistics show that will increase the unemployment rate for beginning workers, not help them.

Creating jobs for the unemployed is not what the redistributionists have in mind, however. What they have in mind is more welfare, and making the poor more dependent on government largesse. If they depend on government and their politicians for their food and housing, their health care, welfare and social services, they are very likely to vote for those who make the largesse available. The object is not “social justice” or “equality” but power for those who distribute the welfare.

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I was watching one of the news programs today, and they got onto this subject, and the house liberal could only offer the one remedy of less taxes for the poor, and more taxes for the rich. Thing is, all of those liberals seem to want to forget that that’s pretty much what the tax code was like in the early part of the 20 century, with some millionaire’s getting taxed at something like 85%. There were rich people and poor people then, and there are rich people and poor people now.

(“…never before a product that is required by every person in every business and even in the poorest homes.”) – just a reminder, George Westinghouse made millions wiring the country for electricity, and Rockefeller before that with heating oil and kerosene, and I daresay that a descendant of Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills provided material used in your house. Charles Coffin, J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and the Vanderbilts were the founders of General Electric. Once again, there’s always been someone that provides a product or service, and that someone will usually profit from it.

In any case, Obama and the Democrats should be proud of what they’ve achieved so far… yes, the rich still have more money, but now they are making less of it. Then again, everyone else’s income has gone down on average, but hey, it’s a start.


Comment by Lon Mead

Oh I don’t deny the wealthy of the past, but It took years to get the country wired for electricity. We didn’t get Idaho Power until the 1950s, before that we produced our own. I sat in line at the car license tab office for nearly an hour today (after I waited in line to get my emissions test across town) and almost everyone of the 20 -30 people waiting had their smart phones out to play games, or surf the net, including the little kids. Half of all homes in official poverty, as described by the census, have computers. Microsoft is a couple of miles from my house, and their campus is a small city, with another one up the road, and most of the large office buildings downtown are partly occupied by Microsoft. I haven’t seen statistics, but I suspect that the computer/IT technology industry is far larger in its wealth and ubiquity. I may be wrong.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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