Our President is concerned about income inequality. What is that, exactly? Are we to assume that everybody is somehow, entitled to identical incomes? The Communists did not preach that, they wanted: “From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need.” That recognizes that productivity and need are both variables; you can’t have all identical variables, can you? So, our President must not mean identical incomes. Then, what?
Well, if the present is unacceptable as seems to be the shtick, and identical is impossible in our reality as seems to be the case, then somebody must plan to decide what everybody ought to receive; how else will it be accomplished? And as the proposal comes from a politician, we know who will be deciding: him. Or if you prefer, government. There is no other means available but the free market and we have already ruled that out because it produces inequality.
A key here, is why anyone thinks we are entitled to equality of incomes in the first place. We are fat and thin, short and tall, smart and dumb, lazy and industrious. What makes us think we should expect identical results? Or even close to that? Why shouldn’t some starve in a life where our ancestors were warned: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” and we have observed that even the sweat is no guarantee in times of drought?
There’s another angle, too. The government can only force ‘equality’ upon us by taking from some to give to others. Problems accompany that:
1. Politicians deciding who gets what from whom will certainly guarantee something, but it won’t be equality; we have lots of history on that.
2. Only a few of us are really tall, and even fewer of us produce great wealth. When government confiscates too much wealth, people naturally stop producing it, knowing they can’t keep it for themselves. Human nature.
3. When you divide most of the wealth among all of the people, it isn’t much. History again, you end sharing poverty. Ask any ex-Communist!
But what about the Declaration of Independence and our Founders? That’s easy; they didn’t believe in equality of outcomes; they believed in equality of RIGHTS. One of those was the right to pursue happiness, but there was (and is) no guarantee that you would catch it. Our Founders valued our equal, God-given rights to freely work out our lives without state interference; they saw no right to equal success regardless of our contribution and circumstances. They were realists, at least to a point.
Far from least on this list: You cannot have both equality and liberty; they cannot coexist. Incomes, left along, are never equal and cannot be made so but by depriving some of their freedom. That to some degree, makes those deprived into slaves.
We all have equal rights and one of those is the freedom to exercise the others without state intervention. To hold that we must have equal outcomes is to turn us into ants and even when believed, had never succeeded because our species is variable. Watering this down to the level of the Presidents’ program does not alter any of it.
Finally, corporate CEO’s and politicians routinely millionaires have all followed increased governmental intrusion into the economy, as has the present superiority of government employee compensation over the private sector. The opposite was the case in the first half of the 20th century. Politicians get the money; you get promises. Unless of course, you arrange for a new set of politicians… and watch every move they make!