Income Equality, Equality of Opportunity and Living Standards

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Income equality has always been a class warfare sham. Set aside the economics and the easy way to tell is that the people calling for it earn far more than the average person ever will. They’re not proposing to equalize anything. Their endgame is to rig the system for their own benefit.

In the Republican response to Obama’s income equality pitch, Senator Cathy McMorris Rodgers said, “The president talks a lot about income inequality. But the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality.”

That certainly cuts much closer to the truth than the income inequality slogans. The problem isn’t how much money the rich make, but how much money the poor don’t make. Trying to forcibly shift that won’t work. It will just destroy more jobs, increase poverty and force more social spending.

And that’s part of the endgame for Obama and his cronies. Welfare voters are more reliable voters. Keep people poor and they have few options.

Income inequality directly clashes with opportunity. The more government controls the economy, the less opportunities exist for moving up the economic ladder through your own efforts, instead of government subsidies or a quota system that have their limits and come with glass ceilings.

Opportunity is the opposite of equality. If everyone really were forced to be equal in their achievements, then there would be no opportunity.

The more fundamental question though is not what the national or global snapshot of wealth distribution should be, but what the individual living standard should be. This isn’t measured in cash amounts, it’s measured in buying power. Talking about a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage directly addresses living standards.

Without living standards, wealth has no meaning. An increase in the minimum wage that only leaves you able to buy the same amount you did before because the rest of the economy doesn’t stand still when you adjust one piece of it, is worthless. It makes for good headlines for politicians, but accomplishes nothing.

Wealthy advocates for the poor call for minimum wage hikes for fast food workers and claim that the fast food places will be able to afford it because the workers will be able to buy more fast food. Even if this fantasy of economic equilibrium were viable, it would really mean the workers buying the same amount because the price of each item would go up. The workers would have more money, the fast food places would take in more money, but neither would be wealthier, only the numbers would have shifted.

Nationally we’ve been playing these shell games and the country is poorer for it. Opportunity moves a country forward. Artificial equality recessions do not.

  • truebearing

    Excellent takedown of the income equality/higher minimum wage scam. If the workers make more money and the fast food places take in more money, the only one that increases their take is the state. Ultimately, the minimum wage hike works as a stealth tax on everyone.

  • De Doc

    And of course history tells the same story when societies attempt to enforce ‘income redistribution.’ The list of examples is long and always accompanied by legions of dead and untold misery for millions more.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

    That’s true for the private section. Let me address the public sector.

    But it’s not true for government workers. The average federal worker makes $144k compared to $88k for private workers (including benefits). By my calculation NYS teachers will retire with a $1 million dollar annuity and the NYC website advertises employment in the NYPD will bring $2.2 million dollars of retirement benefits on average.

    Since there is a waiting list for many government jobs, I claim we can move towards income equality by reducing government compensation and cutting taxes while suffering no loss of services. In other words, government employees are overpaid. Government is redistributing wealth to create income inequality and refraining from redistribution will create greater equality.

    Anyone what to tell that to Obama?