I live nowhere near the zip code of the “wealthy.” I do okay but I can tell you with confidence, I will never be rich. I can also tell you that I do not resent those with wealth nor do I not think ill of them. I do not question how they accumulated their wealth. And I only envy them slightly.
For the most part, I admire them. I applaud their work ethic. I salute their innovation. I am grateful when they gamble their resources to start a company and employ me, my family and my friends.
But apparently… I have the wrong perspective. Increasingly and with elevated volume, I am hearing what is the “proper” view of this subject. We seem to be flooded, lately, with words and phrases such as:
“The troubling wealth gap between the rich and the poor.”
“Wall Street greed.”
“The two Americas.” The failed cornerstone of John Edward’s presidential bid.
“The ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots.’”
“The destruction of the middle class.”
“Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”
Recently, marginally successful filmmaker, Michael Moore made the shocking statement, “What’s happened is that we’ve allowed the vast majority of that cash to be concentrated in the hands of just a few people, and they’re not circulating that cash. They’re sitting on the money.” Moore continued, “That’s not theirs, that’s a national resource, that’s ours. We all have this… we all benefit from this or we all suffer as a result of not having it.”
I had no idea that someone else’s money was a “national resource.” Who knew that their money was actually mine?
All of these words, phrases and sentiments are only slight variations of the same theme. The wealthy are evil, greedy, hoarders of their ill gotten riches and everyone else are noble, oppressed, honest Americans being held down by “the man.”
The purveyors of this misguided and erroneous philosophy would also have you to believe the lie that ours is a zero sum economy; that when the wealthy accumulate more wealth, somebody down the food chain necessarily loses money. Under this paradigm, the existence of tycoons like Bill Gates “steals” opportunity from the poor and removes wealth from the “fixed” economy.
So we have to ask the question, is there an agenda behind the rhetoric or are these people just genuinely concerned about the “downtrodden?” Well, I guess both could be true but there certainly is very little doubt regarding an agenda.
Many of these people desire a fundamental change in the economic model that has made America a bastion of prosperity and the economic envy of the world for so many years. They would like to drive a stake into the heart of free market capitalism and replace it with European style socialism. And it seems they have some momentum.
Since the election of Barrack Obama, they have a fellow traveler in the White House. Surely you remember the president’s statement about a point at which someone has “enough” money. Bolstered by such sentiment being expressed from the bully pulpit, the socialist thinkers seem to boldly be coming out of the closet.
According to a February 2010 Gallup poll, “61% of liberals say their image of socialism is positive” and “53% of Democrats have a positive image of socialism.” Overall, 36% of Americans view socialism favorably.
Socialism has never worked. It will never work because it fails to ensure the happiness and prosperity of its citizens because it is predicated on economic mythology. There will always be some people with more money than others. Better a system that enables the poor to improve their circumstances than a system that punishes success, because that is a system that punishes the very people it purports to help.