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Opportunity vs. Inequality

Watching Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is a lot of like watching comedian Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm.  There’s lots of yelling, ranting and screaming, except David knows you’re not supposed to take him seriously.  It would be nice if Sanders knew that too.

He has been preaching his message of “economic fairness” and “income inequality” to some pretty big crowds.  It’s a popular message, but so is heroin these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Two cornerstones of Sanders’ platform are raising the minimum wage and raising taxes on the “wealthy”.  In what universe are these good ideas?

Political columnist (and my hero) George Will spelled it out perfectly in his latest column why Sanders doesn’t get it.

  1. Entitlements take money from the working and producing class and gives it to those who don’t work.
  2. Big regulatory government favors those with the smarts and the wealth to make rules favorable to them.
  3. Near zero-interest rates have only enriched the top 10 percent of wage earners who want to invest in high-yield equities.
  4. Family breakdowns mean more children will be raised in poverty.

However, despite those four main points, the biggest cause of “income inequality” Will points out is freedom.  We have the freedom to choose our careers and our paths and those decisions usually result in our station in life and market forces will play a big role in determining how much we make.   This is the guy who manages the cloud server will likely make more the guy who is a server.

This is also part of the reason why I enjoy teaching.  I want students to have the skill set that it takes to not only survive in today’s competitive world, but also thrive.  You don’t get there with more government and more taxes, but with more opportunity to create wealth and be the master or your own destiny.

Yes, life will throw us a curve ball on occasion, but even then challenges can be turned into opportunities.  But then again, sometimes it’s easier to complain about how “unfair” life is as opposed to taking more control of your own.

  • malercous

    How come socialism works so good in Europe? If it was so awful they’d have gotten rid of it years ago. In 1968 we had a booming economy, a top marginal tax rate of 75% & the minimum wage (adjusted for inflation) was $10.71. It seemed to work in that universe quite well. Do you even bother to check the things you say?