Should the Rich Be Condemned?

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Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, the phonograph, the DC motor and other items in everyday use and became wealthy by doing so. Thomas Watson founded IBM and became rich through his company’s contribution to the computation revolution. Lloyd Conover, while in the employ of Pfizer, created the antibiotic tetracycline. Though Edison, Watson, Conover and Pfizer became wealthy, whatever wealth they received pales in comparison with the extraordinary benefits received by ordinary people. Billions of people benefited from safe and efficient lighting. Billions more were the ultimate beneficiaries of the computer, and untold billions benefited from healthier lives gained from access to tetracycline.

President Barack Obama, in stoking up class warfare, said, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” This is lunacy. Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire produced the raw materials that built the physical infrastructure of the United States. Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft and produced software products that aided the computer revolution. But Carnegie had amassed quite a fortune long before he built Carnegie Steel Co., and Gates had quite a fortune by 1990. Had they the mind of our president, we would have lost much of their contributions, because they had already “made enough money.”

Class warfare thrives on ignorance about the sources of income. Listening to some of the talk about income differences, one would think that there’s a pile of money meant to be shared equally among Americans. Rich people got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. Justice requires that they “give back.” Or, some people talk about unequal income distribution as if there were a dealer of dollars. The reason some people have millions or billions of dollars while others have very few is the dollar dealer is a racist, sexist, a multinationalist or just plain mean. Economic justice requires a re-dealing of the dollars, income redistribution or spreading the wealth, where the ill-gotten gains of the few are returned to their rightful owners.

In a free society, for the most part, people with high incomes have demonstrated extraordinary ability to produce valuable services for — and therefore please — their fellow man.

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  • Jim_C

    It's not about blaming the rich. Most of the OWS crowd actually were polled with a "favorable" view of the rich. Yes, there's some simple-minded people out there. But this is about private gain, socialized loss, and the income gap (NOT "income inequality.") It's about a huge fleecing that took place because of access to government power–regulations and deregulations–that led to an economic meltdown. Instead of justice, the perps got bonuses on the taxpayer dime. That's access OWS and the TEA partiers don't have; that's why they make noise. What is good about the OWSers is that they're keeping this issue in the headlines. Hopefully they take their activism into the political process.

    The income gap is real and measurable, and it's not just between "producers" and "deadbeats," and you're an idiot if that's how you see the world. The middle class's purchasing power has been stagnant for 30 years while the wealthy saw wealth increase exponentially. That ain't going away if we just ignore it and pray the "producers" magically turn into "job creators" so long as we have a thoroughly deregulated climate like, say, China's. And unless something is done about it it's going to become a security issue.

    • Iciticallit

      You are right, there is a huge gap. But, the gap is between the 99.9% and the .1% . The top 1% starts at about $435000. The top .1% includes those who make more than a billion and have huge offshore investments. 99.9% of us have little political power. .1%
      control the government and milk the merely wealthy and middle class to buy votes and promote the politics of envy.

      • Jim_C

        True, maybe the 99.9 doesn't have that "poster power" though.

        • kafir

          If you separate the 9's with spaces or dashes it does. :-) In fact, it's been talked about quite a bit lately. Certainly not perfect, but worth opening a discussion, yes?

  • Herman Caintonette

    The only difference between Walter Williams and Ashley Dupre is that she was honest about what she did.

    • StephenD

      I LOVE that no one is responding to Herman "killing Jewish kids is morally legitimate" Caintonette.
      Invalidation is what he deserves here on FPM.

  • vlparker

    I'd pay to watch Williams play basketball. Might be more entertaining than watching the pros. :)

  • FriendofGaryCooper

    Watch a Youtube video called "Halloween at the Obama's." B.O. takes all the candy from the kids; then talks about fairness in candy distribution. When one or two kids start crying and ask B.O. how it is that he has the right to take their candy, he replies by saying
    "because I represent the government." Watch the video and see how the kids get revenge; its good for a good laugh or two.

  • StephenD

    Good work here Mr. Williams; straight forward with no pretense. Confronting the OWS crowd with facts I fear will do little good. But perhaps those that would listen before they leap this may be the reality check they need.

  • mrbean

    You guys miss it all. It is pure envy in its most vial form. They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die; they desire nothing, they hate existence, and they keep running, each trying not to learn that the object of his hatred is himself . . . . They are the essence of evil, they, those anti-living objects who seek, by devouring the world, to fill the selfless zero of their soul. It is not your wealth that they’re after. Theirs is a conspiracy against those who are sucessful.

  • MKS

    [Exodus 20:17] Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

    [Isaiah 48:17] Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

  • KS Jeffersonian

    The truly greedy are those who want what they have not earned, not those who have earned more than others.

    It has often been said, and it is absolutely true, that if we did take all of the money in the U.S. and gave an equal amount to each person, within a very short time, those who had been rich would be rich again, and those who had been poor would be poor again, because those who those who had been rich would continue doing those things that made them rich and the poor would continue doing those things that had made them poor.