Friday, February 27, 2009

Back from Behind Enemy Lines: Redistribution Logic

See my post immediately below about my venture onto the New York Times' blog, Room for Debate.

I am really surprised, and somewhat dismayed, at the vitriol heaped on my comments, and on me personally. Wow. Several lessons to be learned there, mostly concerning the nature of the NYT readership and the curious trust that liberals give the Federal government on some issues (the wisdom of the stimulus bill) but not on others.

But one set of comments in particular stood out and showed me the redistributionist, entitlement mentality that is now quite prevalent. Look at these quotes:

The result is that 1% of America’s wealthiest families take home 20% of the nations earnings.
Think about that. Does that seem fair to you?

The other 99% of Americans must share in only 80% of our country’s earnings. While 1% of the wealthiest Americans enjoy 20% of our nation’s earnings, the
remaining 99% of us, on average, have only a chance to earn far less than 1% apiece of the money our nation produces every year.

Let's leave aside the fact that in 2006, the top 1% of the taxpayers in this country paid 40% of the personal income taxes while earning 20% of the income.

The more important issue here is the tone in the above quote: The other 99% MUST share in only 80%...the remaining 99% of us...have ONLY A CHANCE TO EARN FAR LESS THAN 1% APIECE...

No, sorry, that is not the way this country or any market economy works. Actually, everyone has the chance to get into that top 1%. It might take some effort. You are not going to get there from complaining. It might take several generations -- of parents sacrificing for their children, who then move up, and give the next generation an even better chance. I come across loads of people like that who are in the top earning categories.

It may have been forgotten by many, but the beauty of this country is indeed that everyone has opportunity to become great, and to get respect and wealth.

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