With the meteoric rise of Bernie Sanders, we’re seeing an accompanying increase in class warfare rhetoric (part and parcel of the Marxist worldview, which relies on creating envy to generate much of its appeal). One side effect of this “soak the rich” battlecry is that it presumes most, if not all material success in life is achieved through undeserved and ill-gotten gains.
The problem with this approach is that being wealthy is no more a reliable sign of insidious living than being poor automatically confers virtue. Below is a much better perspective:
There are many who have worked hard, been creative, stayed “in bounds” of the law, and still achieved material success and social status. Then there are those who have lobbied and bought influence to bend the system to their ends, using government force to exclude potential rivals, or to hire cheaper foreign labor to displace hardworking Americans… all to squeeze a few more cents per share of profit from their corporate cash cow. But despite Bernie’s bellowing, those CEOs are the minority.
At the same time, there are those Americans who make use of a publicly provided “hand up” to get their life back on course after a disaster (loss of job or spousal support, or a bout with substance abuse or crime). But there are also those who make public assistance a way of life, seeing no incentive to become self-supporting instead of living off the goodwill of others.
The problem we have is not one of “rich versus poor.” It’s one of “workers versus looters” that crosses the spectrum of income. It’s one of people at all levels of society who use government to take from others what they would not otherwise give. CEOs and their companies who spend each day making themselves more profitable by providing better value for society should be applauded, not demonized. The same is true for those who are saved by the “social safety net” but show the determination to climb back off of that net and start moving upward on their own power again. These are the ‘workers.’
But those of any income who increase their worth primarily at the calculated expense of others — looters — should be rightfully condemned, whether they live in Manhattan, New York, or Manhattan, Kanasas. This is yet another issue where Democrats and Republicans each decry a selected part of the problem, while both make it worse. Republicans complain (rightfully) about those who purposefully live off the welfare system, while simultaneously supporting H1B visas, offshoring and other corporate goodies that force vulnerable workers onto unemployment and other forms of public assistance. Democrats rightfully attack Uncle Sam’s “corporate handouts” (of which there are many), but then promise to hand out so many “goodies” to the citizenry that they promote individual dependency and an entitlement mentality.
Here’s a radical thought: how about EVERYBODY stop looking at government as Santa Claus? How about we stop empowering government to pick the winners and losers at all levels of living? This is supposed to be the land of opportunity, not the land of who-has-the-most-organized-lobby. (By the way, if you truly want to study and go to college, the opportunities exist. Stop waiting for government to make it “free.”) Government should be a referee, not a retailer of tax loot.
Solving any issue effectively means first defining the problem accurately. That is one reason why socialism ultimately fails. It substitutes blind jealousy for incentives and a work ethic. I suspect its growing appeal to the current generation is based in no small part on the failure of America to prevent the corruption of what was once a successful attempt at free market capitalism into a blatant and corrupt system of cronyism based on an alliance of Big Business, Big Government and a Bi-factional ruling party.
Neither of these is the answer to the problem. Where are the candidates promoting individual freedom and personal opportunity?