Should the Rich Be Condemned?

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People voluntarily took money out of their pockets to purchase the products of Gates, Pfizer or IBM. High incomes reflect the democracy of the marketplace. The reason Gates is very wealthy is millions upon millions of people voluntarily reached into their pockets and handed over $300 or $400 for a Microsoft product. Those who think he has too much money are really registering disagreement with decisions made by millions of their fellow men.

In a free society, in a significant way income inequality reflects differences in productive capacity, namely one’s ability to please his fellow man. For example, I can play basketball and so can LeBron James, but would the Miami Heat pay me anything close to the $43 million they pay him? If not, why not? I think it has to do with the discriminating tastes of basketball fans who pay $100 or more to watch the game. If the Miami Heat hired me, they would have to pay fans to watch.

Stubborn ignorance sees capitalism as benefiting only the rich, but the evidence refutes that. The rich have always been able to afford entertainment; it was the development and marketing of radio and television that made entertainment accessible to the common man. The rich have never had the drudgery of washing and ironing clothing, beating out carpets or waxing floors. The mass production of washing machines, wash-and-wear clothing, vacuum cleaners and no-wax floors spared the common man this drudgery. At one time, only the rich could afford automobiles, telephones and computers. Now all but a small percentage of Americans enjoy these goods.

The prospects are dim for a society that makes mascots out of the unproductive and condemns the productive.

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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.