The Income Inequality Con
The three things progressives commonly disregard in pursuit of their policy preferences are the ones which argue most persuasively against them: History, human nature and math.
Progressives spent fifty years and trillions of dollars losing America’s "War on Poverty," yet President Barack Obama and his trained seals in Congress and the media are now barking in unison about fixing "income inequality" as if it’s an injustice or a plot.
It’s neither. Aside from government’s adverse effects, income inequality is natural.
Having individual skills, interests, intellectual and physical capabilities, every human represents a unique personal equation. Just as mathematical equations have different values, variables, complexities and results, so do people.
By adulthood, individual personal decisions – good and bad – have compounded those natural variables. People having similar backgrounds make different choices. Accordingly, people from the same neighborhood or even the same family experience (sometimes, wildly) different outcomes.
"Income inequality" is an artificial political construction progressives cynically use to confuse personal income and self-worth. "Fixing" it is a political stunt, a con.
For the con to work, liberals must repetitiously employ emotional rhetoric to generate and exploit public envy, so they relentlessly invoke "fairness," while reserving the right to define what is "fair." Misrepresenting America’s economy as a zero-sum game fosters envy.
Kevin Williamson wrote: "Of the seven deadly sins, envy may not be the wickedest, but it is the most embarrassing. To be possessed by envy is to admit a humiliating personal inadequacy: We do not envy others whose attainments…we think we…might achieve, but those we despair of ever possessing. …Envy is…the small man’s sin."
According to available statistics, by 2011, federal and state governments were already spending $1 trillion per year on means-tested public assistance.
Ignoring assets, current government estimates put the incomes of 50 million Americans at or below the poverty level, so, using older 2011 expenditures, simple math says that annual combined expenditures are at least $20,000 per welfare recipient, or a generous $80,000 for a family of four.
But the math doesn’t balance.
The official 2013 poverty level for a family of four was $23,550. $80,000 is 3.4 times the Federal Poverty Guideline.
If it isn’t spent on poor people, where does the money go?
It’s spent on eighty ever-growing, permanent federal means-tested benefits bureaucracies, more in the states, having thousands of well-paid positions for political allies, which "administer" means-tested programs and, through withheld dues, on the unions which represent many bureaucrats.
In this way, tax money is laundered through unions into the campaigns of politicians who run cons like "solutions" to "income inequality."
Frank Fleming observed: "[Politicians expect that] Math will just relent and allow 2 + 2 to equal 5…But Math can’t be ignored and won’t compromise. We can plead and cry… but this will not move Math. …[Math] will eventually balance its numbers and doesn’t care what it will have to destroy in the process. [P]oliticians don’t believe this… But Math is coming. It’s [$17] trillion in debt and growing…"
Allegedly, Teen Talk Barbie once said, "Math is h-a-a-r-d."
So is history, including recent history – at least for inattentive disciples of Washington’s dissemblers-in-charge.
For several years, while the rest of America stagnated, the financial industry has enjoyed huge windfalls.
Since 2009, Obama’s ineffective "stimulus" and multiple rounds of "quantitative easing" by the Federal Reserve – trillions of dollars – coupled with its artificial suppression of interest rates, have spurred an equity market bubble and, at the expense of savers, generated tremendous paper profits and bonuses for Wall Street firms, their employees and large investors.
After encouraging income inequality, the progressive architects of America’s fiscal and monetary policies — and the resulting problems – should be ashamed to even mention it.
Genuine inequities lie in the Federal Register and Tax Code, but regulatory and tax reforms aren’t in the president’s calculus.
Lamenting income inequality isn’t meant to get America back to work. Liberal politicians only wish to score political points while convincing dependent Americans that voting for rivals is counterproductive. Progressive policies create and feed the poor but don’t really help them.
The true purpose of the sudden progressive focus on income inequality is to deflect attention from their still-unfolding Obamacare calamity.
It won’t work.
Obamacare has finally made Big Government failures impossible to hide. Too many Americans are and will be affected by Obamacare to allow culpable politicians to escape electoral retribution by hyping distractions like "income inequality."