The Inequality Boogeyman

income-inequality-99-prtest-occupy-wall-street1During a recent lunch in a restaurant, someone complimented my wife on the perfume she was wearing. But I was wholly unaware that she was wearing perfume, even though we had been in a car together for about half an hour, driving to the restaurant.

My sense of smell is very poor. But there is one thing I can smell far better than most people — gas escaping. During my years of living on the Stanford University campus, and walking back and forth to work at my office, I more than once passed a faculty house and smelled gas escaping. When there was nobody home, I would leave a note, warning them.

When walking past the same house again a few days later, I could see where the utility company had been digging in the yard — and, after that, there was no more smell of gas escaping. But apparently the people who lived in these homes had not smelled anything.

These little episodes have much wider implications. Most of us are much better at some things than at others, and what we are good at can vary enormously from one person to another. Despite the preoccupation — if not obsession — of intellectuals with equality, we are all very unequal in what we do well and what we do badly.

It may not be innate, like a sense of smell, but differences in capabilities are inescapable, and they make a big difference in what and how much we can contribute to each other’s economic and other well-being. If we all had the same capabilities and the same limitations, one individual’s limitations would be the same as the limitations of the entire human species.

We are lucky that we are so different, so that the capabilities of many other people can cover our limitations.

One of the problems with so many discussions of income and wealth is that the intelligentsia are so obsessed with the money that people receive that they give little or no attention to what causes money to be paid to them, in the first place.

The money itself is not wealth. Otherwise the government could make us all rich just by printing more of it. From the standpoint of a society as a whole, money is just an artificial device to give us incentives to produce real things — goods and services.

Those goods and services are the real “wealth of nations,” as Adam Smith titled his treatise on economics in the 18th century.

Yet when the intelligentsia discuss such things as the historic fortunes of people like John D.Rockefeller, they usually pay little — if any — attention to what it was that caused so many millions of people to voluntarily turn their individually modest sums of money over to Rockefeller, adding up to his vast fortune.

What Rockefeller did first to earn their money was find ways to bring down the cost of producing and distributing kerosene to a fraction of what it had been before his innovations. This profoundly changed the lives of millions of working people.

Before Rockefeller came along in the 19th century, the ancient saying, “The night cometh when no man can work” still applied. There were not yet electric lights, and burning kerosene for hours every night was not something that ordinary working people could afford. For many millions of people, there was little to do after dark, except go to bed.

Too many discussions of large fortunes attribute them to “greed” — as if wanting a lot of money is enough to cause other people to hand it over to you. It is a childish idea, when you stop and think about it — but who stops and thinks these days?

The transfer of money was a zero-sum process. What increased the wealth of society was Rockefeller’s cheap kerosene that added hundreds of hours of light to people’s lives annually.

Edison, Ford, the Wright brothers, and innumerable others also created unprecedented expansions of the lives of ordinary people. The individual fortunes represented a fraction of the wealth created.

Even those of us who create goods and services in more mundane ways receive income that may be very important to us, but it is what we create for others, with our widely varying capabilities, that is the real wealth of nations.

Intellectuals’ obsession with income statistics — calling envy “social justice” — ignores vast differences in productivity that are far more fundamental to everyone’s well-being. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg has ruined many economies.

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  • Naresh Krishnamoorti

    Wealth is not only about earning money, that is, it’s not only about talents or even hard work. Wealth comes from what you do with the money you earn. It’s about virtuous behavior and self-sacrifice.
    I know people who earn good incomes, but don’t save or invest any of their money; and they never build wealth. I know others who make the same incomes, save and invest wisely, and build small fortunes. Should the government punish a man because he sacrifices, saves, and invests his money; while rewarding the man who irresponsibly spends every penny he earns?
    Equalizing wealth is really a part of the cultural Marxist goal of corrupting society, in preparation of totalitarian control, by attacking all the moral virtues of its people.

    • TheOrdinaryMan

      …and the “social justice” crowd doesn’t donate hardly anything to charity, either. On an income of $215,000 in 2008, Joe Biden donated a piece of furniture worth $400 and $195 cash. Not much for someone who tells others to spread the wealth around. Not even 1% of his income.

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

      Ben Franklin used to call this the virtue of industry and frugality. These virtues are almost never discussed today including by conservatives. Yet productive work and capital accumulation are the foundation of a prosperous economy.

      • BagLady

        Does holding interest rates at 0.05% year after year help the accumulation of capital or encourage feckless spending?

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

          Encourage recklessness … usually asset bubbles. Haven’t we had enough of these in the last 20 years? Add to that the $17 trillion that the federal government borrowed … Franklin must be rolling in his grave.

    • A Z

      The IMF is floating a trial balloon over a savings tax.

      Have not the French taxed savings?

      If another European country does the Left over here will be clamoring to do the same.

      • Drakken

        The French Govt is learning the hard way as the wealth of the country leaves for friendlier shores.

        • A Z

          True.

          The state of New York is going to learn the same thing. Sean Hannity will not be the only one moving.

          The next move by the confiscationists will be to reason, if we have a wealth tax in every country there will be no where to run.

          • BagLady

            Cyberspace by dear. Cyberspace.

        • BagLady

          But Flamby is too busy with his Ooh La La to care and anyway, he hates the rich.

    • WW4

      I actually think people are starved for messages and examples of virtue and responsibility. Unfortunately these do not seem to generate headlines or campaign donations.

    • BagLady

      I see the goal as communism for the people and fascism for the 10%. In other words, the way it’s always been, except for those few mid-20th century decades when the educated poor aspired to become a ‘middle’ class society.

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

    Sowell’s article should be read in conjunction with Walter Williams article from yesterday. What clear and to-the-point moral/economic thinkers. It’s good reason they’ve been in print for decades.

    The great 19th century innovators “won the competition” by producing better for less. That’s what capitalists have to do unless they are relieved of such a task by government subsidies. Bert Folsom has an excellent book called “The Myth of the Robber Barons.” He shows how the greats of that century created and served their customers.

    But Bert also showed how the few crony capitalists ran to Washington for subsidies, failed to produce quality at a decent price, ran back to Washington for more subsidies, and ultimately failed. The great industrialists were contrasted with the Solyndras of their day.

    Even today we have our Steve Jobs and we have subsidized and regulated banks and insurance companies who do the government’s bidding. We need all corporations to be subject to the forces in the market place. It’s only then that, as Sowell puts it, no one forces us to pay the rich … they have to earn it and produce for us. Let’s deregulate and make them sink or swim.

    • BagLady

      Surely that would only work if there were no bail-outs nor safety nets for these gamblers.

      How does the small business fare in the free for all you advocate?

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

        Exactly … no bailouts. Bailouts keep crony capitalists from having to produce and compete. Prudent small companies step in when the foolish giants fail … in a free market.

        The opposite happens with bailouts. When the mortgage market went belly-up in ’07-’08, sound smaller banks like “Hudson City” were doing just fine (see Hudson City on wikipedia). Hudson City made loans to worthy homeowners with good credit. It kept these loans in its portfolio. Jim Crammer gave Hudson City the “George Bailly banker award” for being old school. Hudson City look poised to expand.

        The government stepped in and bailed out Citigroup, J. P. Morgan, Fannie and Freddie. The Fed subsidized the mortgages by buying all of Fannie and Freddie’s output. It forced mortgage rates below a level at which private banks could compete. Currently Hudson City, after surviving for 100 years plus, can’t stay in business. It should have been the survivor expanding share while the big guys went the way of the dinosaur. But it isn’t a crony … just hold school. Bailouts kill the little guy.

  • BagLady

    “This profoundly changed the lives of millions of working people”.

    Did it? It seems to have kept the lives of the millions at the same level whilst elevating the livelihoods of the few.

    Let’s look at the figures:

    Slavery: well up on the 18th century and very widespread.

    Starvation: Without giving figures for so-called ‘Aid’ and their application, we can safely say that government projects have made not the least dent in the problem and, logically/logistically, have been flawed (purposely bent) from inception.

    Indentured Servitude: Go to the UAE and see for yourself.

    • A Z

      So Rockefeller sold kerosene and this led to slavery up to the 18th century? Rockerfeller lived in the 19th century.

      I am not sure it is productive to reply to your posts. I think you are not well.

      • reader

        Quite right. I vividly recall her claiming to have good education. Now THAT was funny. Ever since then the entertaining value of sheer irony has warn off. You can take a moron only for so long.

    • cxt

      BagLady
      “It seems to have”—it only “seems” that way if you don’t really looj and are not really interested in doing so.
      “Slavery”—started by other cultures long before there was a UK or US but STOPPED by the UK and the US. The only cultures in history—as far as I’m aware that did so.
      “Starvation”–true, because of THIER practices. And the USA etc. with the wealth generated by capitalism saves millions of people FROM starvation etc. “Least dent” would seem to be a difficult claim to support.

  • BagLady

    Ah yes Mr Rockefeller, thank you for the trickle that came down from your kerosene profits. After charcoal, the second most widely used fuel by the poor is kerosene. A more stinking, polluting form of fuel is hard to imagine.The filth that comes out of the purified oil?

    • joe

      Actually, “a more stinking, polluting form of fuel” is not all that hard to imagine. Mindless trolls like you, with zero connection to reality and whose very existence is owed to the creativity and innovative capabilities of “the few” – your kind, that fuels envy and outright brigandage and calls that moral corruption “virtue” – that is the “more stinking, polluting form of fuel” driving civilization into the commode. You are a thief, nothing more – and perhaps less.

      • BagLady

        Mindless trolls like you, with zero connection to reality and whose very
        existence is owed to the creativity and innovative capabilities of “the
        few”

        and there I was thinking my existence was due to the creative and innovative capabilities of my parents! If you get my drift, darlin’ wink wink.

        (aside) Strangely, twice today I have posted a copy of the Urban Dictionary definition of Troll in response to posts like Joe’s and both times they have been whisked off to ‘arbitration’. I have to laugh. I consider the site to be totally gloves-off freedom of speech with each man/woman holding their own (just the way I like it) and then, out of the blue, I get sent to the naughty corner for something totally innocuous and it defies logic. Perhaps it was the word in the first line that said “p***k that got my post banned.

        Daniel’s an insider, perhaps he could explain.

        Maybe I’m being paranoid and the Moderator is a random computer program that picks on you –like my bank does — randomly. I can think of no other explanations. Can you?

        Try it yourself. Go to the Urban dictionary and get the definition of Troll. If nothing else it may dissuade one or two of you from continuing this childish practice and thus ruining an open forum. Sadly, throughout history we can see the result of total freedom: ABUSE, because some just can’t take the responsibility of self-regulation. There are some good writers on this site, biased though they may be. At least give them the respect of thoughtful responses, however, misguided, without resorting to personal insults and Twitter one-liners.

        • joe

          If liberals truly believed their “existence” is owed to the biological act of their parents, then surely they would be measurably less opposed to abortion. However, our cognitive existence often rises meteorically in spite of those parents. Where you went astray is with the words, “and there I was thinking.” You liberals want, but can’t have it both ways. Either parents are impediments to the socialization of the mind as proposed by liberals, or parents are the individuals who point children in the direction of learning and understanding – growing as unique individuals. In either event, it is the individual who does the learning or is hobbled by collectivization. Many successful men and women have had absolute clods for parents. In all likelihood, were it not for the individual greatness of men and women throughout the sweep of history that preceded you, your parents would never have had a shot at implanting your beginning in the womb of a free mom and dad.

          • BagLady

            Here we go again. Pigeon-holing. You really need to ponder this aspect of ‘fast-lane’ life.

            I am trying to find a logical link between the biological act of sex/procreation and opposition to abortion along political lines, as though a ‘right’ leaning woman is affected differently by the news of the ‘happy event’ than one from the ‘left’.

            We are not at odds with anything you say after that.

            I like to give kids 100% credit for their accomplishments, irrespective of genetic/financial advantages.

    • A Z

      Your post is just incredible in its’ ignorance and disdain.

      Look at pictures of the Haitian-Dominican Republic Border. The Haitian side is practically denuded of trees. See the environmental destruction that results for solely using charcoal.

      Kerosene and/or whale oil were a necessary step to something better.

      So turn your nose up at it (“A more stinking, polluting form of fuel is hard to imagine.”).

      A more ignorant, unaccomplished person is hard to imagine.

      • sharinite

        It’s called human being trying to survive…they don’t know about “stinking pollution”..they are trying to live….I am sure you can give over your assets to help them out!

        And as for a unaccomplished person…we all can imagine you.

        • A Z

          Did I say I wanted them to die? No, I did not.

          What I said was that if people are stuck using wood as a fuel source this happens (see the picture above) and it is not good. I said the transitioning to kerosene was much better than staying stuck using wood as a fuel source. I had to use a picture or use a current example. I could have given several examples from the last millenia of overusing wood as opposed to newer fuel source. But too many people what have scratched their heads and said “What?”. I actually typed up the example of glass blowers a few hundred years ago in England and why they transitioned form charcoal to peat to coal. But I struck that example as too wordy. I think it is particularly interesting. If I recall correctly it is from the book “The Day the World Changed”.

          The whole thing was brought on by Bag Lady’s disdain for kerosene and how it was such a mistake to give up wood for kerosene. Does she believe we should have gone strait form wood fires to photovoltaic cells? That would be a neat trick!.

          • BagLady

            “Does she believe we should have gone strait form wood fires to photovoltaic cells? That would be a neat trick!.”

            It would indeed. Sadly, man can only shuffle forwards (and often backwards).

            “…….and how it was such a mistake to give up wood for kerosene”

            You made that bit up. For extra effect?

          • A Z

            “After charcoal, the second most widely used fuel by the poor is kerosene. A more stinking, polluting form of fuel is hard to imagine.The filth that comes out of the purified oil?”

            “…….and how it was such a mistake to give up wood for kerosene”

            Given the general tenor of your posts and disdain for your own society, it is not hard to reason from the 1st statement (yours) to my synopsis of your mindset.

            You are so far behind the power curve you will never catch up. Would reading on mine technology from the ancient past until now bore you? There is not one era with its technology and resources that if you were there you would be able to make a decision about what to do that you present self would not look back and criticize to high Heaven although you could do no better.

          • BagLady

            No I can do no better and nor can you. Should we give up because we have no power?

            I see today that the Australian government has given the go-ahead for mining companies to dump their tons of excrement/sludge onto the Great Barrier Reef.

            If we have globalisation in trade, surely we should have globalisation in decision making too. The Great Barrier Reef is part of our shrinking common wealth and everyone, regardless of wealth, should have a say when it comes to its demise.

          • A Z

            Yes I can do better.

            I never said we should give up.

            What I stand for is nuclear (fission & fusion (ITER)), more drilling, use of coal, geothermal, wind and solar.

            I am not for shuttering coal plants, oil refineries nuke plants and putting a windmill on every hill like the so called environmentalists.

            You did not link the article on the Great Barrier Reef.
            Where exactly are the dumping it. Between the mainland and the reef, on the reef, or beyond the reef.

            I am not sure I am for this, but the environmentalists have cried wolf too many times especially in regards to the reefs.

          • A Z

            The way you made it sound is that they were going to dump mine tailings around the reef.

            This is a non-story. They are widening a shipping channel. It will take some of the reef. Now if you would support something like the ITER project instead of pining away for windmills and solar, we might be beyond coal by now.

            Are you one of those British, who section off their house in the winter because you cannot afford to heat your whole domicile?

            If you want to do away with coal you had better prepare for war. they use a lot of coal around the world. Have you ever been to China? They use a lot of coal. they are not going to let a bunch of GreenWar activists stand in their way.

            http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/mar/06/great-barrier-reef-mining-boom

        • A Z

          “See the environmental destruction that results for solely using charcoal.

          Kerosene and/or whale oil were a necessary step to something better.”

          Still not seeing in this statement, where I want Haitians to starve.

          I do talk about using kerosene being better for the environment than charcoal.

    • cxt

      Says the person that does NOT have to heat their homes with coal or nothing. Sitting around the present day it is hard to really imagine how bad the poor and middle class had it back then.
      Of course Rocky made it possible to stop using Whale-Oil for the same things……..maybe you would prefer that we went back to using whale oil for light and heat? It burned clean. ;)

      • A Z

        I started reading the Wiki article on kerosene. The history of its development is interesting.

        Liquid was oozing from coals seams causing a potential problem. People were look for cleaner, cheaper alternatives to the oils there were already using for lamps.

        It is just sad how a person like Bag Lady does not read history except from a Leftist slant if she reads it at all.

        It is very instructive to read history from different perspectives form general history perspective, to military history, to engineering history, etc. Of course the Left has rather different divisions of history from gay to women’s to minority.

        • BagLady

          Pleased to see you enjoy research, AZ. I do too. Today I meandered into the history of land acquisition over the ages and the question of ‘common wealth’ (for example: fish and the air we breath). Since we seem incapable of changing course, due to our limited brain functions, history gives a good idea of the trajectory we are on and I found this paper very instructive. I was particularly looking for the reasons for depopulation of rural areas whilst, at the same time, the over population and consequent slum conditions in urban areas.

          http://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/articles/short-history-enclosure-britain

          • A Z

            I know all about the land enclosures. It is where feudal lords or their descendants decided it was more profitable to graze sheep than collect rents from tenant farmers. So they ran people off the land and shipped them to America, Canada or Australia.

            You can equate feudal rank with the rank of politicians. You see people like Rep Nancy Pelosi (Princess) was the daughter of the Mayor Baltimore (Baron). she has a very nice set up. Cesar Chavez’s old union gave her an award for union support. She and her husband own a hotel, small restaurant chain, and winery which are non-unionized. Pretty nice huh?

          • A Z

            And the link did not work. I think not is a server problem.

      • A Z

        The days of coal are not too far behind us. The old radio shows from the 1930s such as “The Shadow” can be bought . they come with old advertisements to give “the look and feel” of the times. Some of the commercial advertise coal. They advertised high grade cleaner burning coal to be exact. People cared about the environment even then.

        When I am around town I still see the coal chutes built into the sides of houses in the neighborhoods near the city center.

        It was not that long ago.

      • BagLady

        No, neither. I would prefer that we put more emphasis on productive research rather than the current system of destruction first because of some imaginary enemy that’s coming to get you, and corporate interests coming a close second.

        You give two examples of dirty fuel when so much clean power exists. Y’all seem to believe in God but don’t believe he has provided for you without having to destroy the planet. The sun or should I say Sun, to give it it’s rightful deference, is THE most powerful source of clean energy but is probably too damn cheap to utilize, that power companies stick to the dirt. Where there’s muck there’s money.

        If you want to know what it was like “back then” read Ragged Trousered Philanthropists [Robert Tressell]. Yes, I know, he was a Socialist when none existed but be not afraid. Believe me when I say that considering things from a different perspective never hurt anyone.

    • sharinite

      You were there and a scientist with proof beyond a reasonable doubt of your comments? Gee, you must the oldest person on earth….”trickle”? That is progressive talk from progs who cannot hear, see or comprehend because since birth indoctrination into Saul Alinsky’s into their brains was paramount for the parents.

    • glpage

      Are you one of those progressives who is progressive in politics only? Political progressives are an interesting lot in that they really don’t care for true progress. Given that you are critical of Rockefeller and other innovators, perhaps you should try to live a week or two completely eschewing the innovations wrought by Rockefeller and any subsequent innovations that resulted from supplying kerosene to the general populace. BTW, kerosene is one of the products of “the filth that comes out of purified oil”. As is most plastics, fabric, detergents, and a bunch of other things…

      http://www.ranken-energy.com/Products%20from%20Petroleum.htm

      • BagLady

        Interesting. I was about to go look up the political meaning of ‘progressives’. You have to admit that, on the face of it, ‘progressive’ sounds like a sensible way forward but no, according to you, ‘progressive’ actually means ‘regressive’.

        If I’m to be labelled ‘progressive’ then I’ll go for the sun as the cleanest, cheapest source of energy every time.

    • Roy_Cam

      Basically, kerosene saved the whales. Before a Yale chemist proved that you could get a good fuel out of the oil that floated on Pennsylvania lakes and rivers (seeped up from within the ground), whales were on the verge of extinction, having been hunted for centuries for their oil, which was used in lamps.

      So, ecology-wise, you win some and you lose some.

      Oh. By the way, with kerosene available, a lot of trees didn’t get cut down, and a lot of coal didn’t get burnt creating worse air pollution.

    • Habbgun

      Sorry that burning rose petals doesn’t heat a room or maybe the poor were so stupid that it does and they could have had a beautiful smelling, home, heat and a great looking garden for less money. Geez, why not a cure for cancer out of thin air? Grievance big.

  • joe

    Mr. Sowell, this article is entirely too logical and sound. You need to go back to the drawing board. Your kind of thinking will just knock the slats right out from under the great American pastime of victimhood. “The People” will never stand for it. Mark my word.

  • cxt

    As always, Prof. Sowell’s articles/POV are well worth the read.

  • WW4

    Forget about the envious and resentful. Let them whine. But if you are someone who has worked hard all your life, followed the rules, and been around long enough, you see the things that were once “available” to the middle class (health care, higher education, comfortable retirement) becoming much harder to attain. Even this is not necessarily “bad” ( no one is owed a living) except for the ammunition it provides.

    The problem is that Republicans have gotten too used to talking to themselves and come across as negative and out of touch where this issue is concerned. The message is fear based: “If we allow Democrats in office, they’ll take away this, make us do that.” Sure, there’s the standard bromides about “working hard”–but there are a lot of people working hard and feeling like they can’t get the things they could have gotten even a generation ago.

    No wonder promises of government largesse take hold. What is being explained/offered/demonstrated in return? Scandal mongering, panels of 60 y-o men on Fox talking about out of control women’s libidos, and still more Reagan imitations?

    The country needs a “tough love” approach. A lot of people understand that and know what they need to do on THEIR end of things. But who can slay the Big Gov beast AND get people to cheer for it? Who can say “I’m getting rid of the EPA and the Dept. of Ed and here’s why that’s BETTER for the environment and education?” Who can explain why corporations paying more taxes really is not good for consumers? Who is willing to propose a health care plan?

    • sharinite

      Problem? Financial ruin created by progressive policies for over 40 years….of course it’s harder…the progressives destroyed what was in place and are now creating a corporate socialist society wherein you and I must live a certain way….the entrepreneaur spirit to be stunted. “Tough love”…please….we lost that ability when Obama was elected and if Hillary gets in, we are done!

      • WW4

        You make my point. Doom and gloom don’t win elections.

    • BagLady

      you see the things that were once “available” to the middle class
      (health care, higher education, comfortable retirement) becoming much
      harder to attain. Even this is not necessarily “bad” ( no one is owed a
      living)

      Er, excuse me. If I roll out of bed at 5 am to catch a train in -20 deg to get to my desk where I toil til dark 5 days per week for 30 years, someone most definitely owes me a living.

      • WW4

        That’s not what I meant. Obviously if you work, you are owed compensation. What you are not necessarily “owed” is a higher education, health care, and a comfortable retirement. Now, if you’ve paid for these things–yes, you have a “right” to them. And we may as a society decide it is in our interest to provide these things, or support these things. But I fear we are looking on too many things as “rights” that are not so.

  • iluvisrael

    Whenever an uniformed jerk claims it’s ‘racist’ to be against obama, I often say I’d love to have a man like Sowell in power, or Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, Alan West, etc. etc. Once again the brilliant Sowell nails it.

    • Habbgun

      Absolutely. You think the left didn’t know the obamamommy and Obamagrampa were dogmatic white leftists? They knew and they applauded that their foot was in the door. Step two. Socialists who look like Europeans (socialists that look like themselves).

  • Roy_Cam

    Growing income inequality today is due to an internal devaluation brought about by the Fed Reserve printing up money and diminishing the purchasing power of the working man and woman.

    The US worker’s productivity has gone up a reported 9% while his income has only produced a 1% rise in income in the last few years.

    Secondly, the growing income inequality comes from the difference between whether you are “in” with the “in-crowd” of internationalized companies or not.

    If you are, you benefit from their expansion. You would have to be a middle manager or higher or a stockholder, but, if you are some regular guy who used to do something that’s done cheaper abroad, you are decidedly not “in” and you lose your job or you work for less.

    Thirdly, we keep inviting in immigrants, and that keeps pushing the price of labor of labor lower. Is it mere coincidence that BOTH the Chamber of Commerce and the Left are in favor of illegal immigrant amnesty?

    Of course not. The Chamber of Commerce wants more workers at a lesser price, along with more consumers, while the Left wants more people to vote Democrat.

    Hell, the left his hell-bent on overcoming the original cultural and POV of the people who founded America.

    And, fourthly, we need to deal with currency manipulation.

    Once again, the Chamber of Commerce and quite a few of its allies cling to the notion that China’s (and Japan’s, etc) currency manipulation is not as bad as all that.

    Try reading Currency Wars by James Rickards and get a handle on the whole process and understand just how negatively it impacts the US.

    I frankly don’t care how rich the rich are, but if we don’t have working people capable of taking care of themselves, then you create an entire class of dependents, of serfs, who will vote Democrat forever….

  • Jeff Ludwig

    Terse and accurate to an extreme, Dr. Sowell continues to be one of the most enlightening minds of our culture.

  • JARED

    Envy, jealousy and covetousness is now dressed up in a sham veneer of righteousness called “income inequality”. Still small, ugly and, dare I say, sinful.

  • ArentIpretty

    Wealth is created and not a static quantity. The state of being poor or rich is also not static, but fluid, and people ebb and flow into different states of wealth depending on volition and circumstance. The left holds that wealth and poverty are static, and that only the gov’t can redistribute the limited quantity of wealth that exists. Just shows how simple-minded they are.

  • American1969

    Dr. Sowell nails it again.