In America, we don’t usually hear people say “we want Communism”, “we want to seize property and have the state own everything”.  But what is far more likely to be said is “income inequality is the problem.”  Barack Obama said that the Warren court did not go far enough to redistribute income.  You also hear, “it is not fair for some to have so much and others to have so little.”  This is the soft socialism ideology, the notion that they will uses taxes, regulations, and salary caps to take the wealth from rich people and given it to the poor.  But the idea that you can equalize wealth and income would only be valid if you could equalize everything else, from looks to humor to intelligence.  Then you get into a very dangerous area of how would you enforce this.

There is a fictional story about a society run by a woman who tries to keep everyone at the exact same level by forcing physical impediments on them. If someone is strong than she  makes them carry more weight around, if they were smart then she would have a buzzer periodically disrupting their thoughts, and if they were attractive she would have them wear a big fake nose, ect….  The protagonist was a the smartest, strongest, and most intelligent man in the society.  Therefore, the villainess made him carry burdens to limit all of his assets.  But the more weight she gave him, the stronger he got, and he learned to concentrate through the buzzing noise, making him even more focused, and because of his character he was still pursued by  women.  He eventually organized the people to overthrow her.

No matter how much you tax the wealthy, and no matter how much land  you confiscate,  and no how much of  people’s savings you erase through inflation, you cannot force people to have the same level of committment, nor can you force people to exert the same level of effort.  If you force people to be paid the same at a job, then those who work harder will be getting the rax deal.  And those who have been rewarded for loyalty and years of reliable service will lose the benefits, since you will have to pay new unproven workers the same.  And between different industries and occupations you then must pay people higher wages for making goods and services that are not in demand while paying lower wages for those who are doing and making things that more people want.  By simple logic that would reduce that amount of the goods and services that are actually most desired by the society. 

But there’s more.  Say that we mandate a very narrow range of wage disparity for all employment.  That would mean that going to college and getting undergrad, masters, and PhD’s would not grant you much higher paying work than dropping out of school.  How many of us would have stayed in our high schools just because it was fun or we wanted to be able to do the quadratic formula on the fly.  No, most if not everyone reading this article went to high school because they wanted to better themselves in the future.  If we impose limitations on how much more a CPA can make over a person who only reads at a seventh grade level, we will not get more CPA’s, we will get more people reading at a seventh grade level.   Then, the astronomical spending on the Department of Education, spending that is unjustified,  would be even more impractical.  And many people  who read at a seventh grade level have been able to make as much or more  than the average CPA by dedicating themselves in some other area.  And we applaud that.

Further more, if we equalize people economically, it would not be enough to do so merely based on income.  It would have to include savings, and we would also have to index the limitations on pay to regional cost of living rates.  Then we would have to make sure that people had the same amount per child, and then index that to the various average costs that change due to the age requirements of those children.  And what about those that are simply more frugal.  If people are good with their money, in this income controlled society they would be able to have even greater purchasing power than they would if they were paid more.  That would never do.  So we would have to levy an additional tax on those that were disciplined with money so as not to allow them to become “the rich”. 

And even if you somehow equalize people financially, then their other attributes will give them an even greater level of advantage over those who do not have them.  Even if everyone makes the same about of money, there are certain people who will be funnier, stronger, and more resourceful.  The guy who can make everyone laugh will still be able to get something material out of it, whether it be the fellas always bringing over the beer for the game or people letting him leave work an hour or two early because they like him. 

There will always be the beautiful woman who does not have to buy things because of her suitors, and the charismatic good-looking men who get women to “sponsor” their creative campaigns (a euphemism for those rocker guys we knew who lived off of their girlfriends and groupies).  And their will be people and families who will be able to make the same dollar go much farther by making their on things and simply enjoying simpler, less expensive versions of everything.  There is no way to “equalize” qualitative differences in people’s behavior. 

When we hire people, we are conscious of their criminal record.  We recently instituted standards that bar people with recent violent offenses, property crimes, and sexual assaults from consideration, as our firm has its employees working in the homes of people.  (This should have been the rule for day one!).  Therefore, we have put those with criminal records at an economic disadvantage to those that do not.  Those that had equal experience to other applicants were passed over because of this likely are now making less than the most of the people we hired, at least in the short-term.  Elaine Johnson of the California State Assembly and Van Jones of Team Obama declared that they want to guarantee that ex-cons could not be “denied access to Green Jobs” by private firms, epeciallly if the y were doig the work for the government.  The Green Jobs revolution is a front for redistribution of economic rights.

The problem with a pure socialist approach to income is that it removes the incentive for people on the brink to change their ways.  If we cannot have “income disparity” then we must grant people coming out of prison basically the same rate of pay as those that have been dedicated upstanding citizens.  One of the main things that discouraged people going down the wrong path from becoming full-time hoods was the notion that being a hood made it difficult to get a decent job.  If you remove that penalty, than you may actually give economic advantages to people who regularly get locked up, as they are not paying bills while incarcerated.  When they are released, they can reenter society as feared people who are also protected from the consequences of their actions. 

And what about whatever they stole, they may have that tucked away or invested somewhere.  You create an empowered sub-class of criminals who are then given more than the good, hard-working citizens.   And then the risk reward of stealing from those that have saved will be skewed toward the thugs and away from the responsible.  Then people will have to take the law into their own hands.  We have seen this before.

  The European feudal system was used to deal with a medieval economy that had little social order and money was scarce.  The emphasis was on personal relationships and direct trade for goods and services, dealing with the always looming fear of social breakdowns that came from that chaotic age.  As  historian Eugene Weber noted:

The peasants turned to the lords to protect them from other lords.  When some baron robbed the peasants, that lord would simply go and rob his (the other raiding knight’s) peasants.  This allowed this armed class to acquire and increasing amount of the people’s land as their own….. this caused the society to be divided into three distinct classes; the landholding lords, the peasants who they protected and robbed, and the clergy who put all of this into spiritual perspective.”

The modern advocates of this great “redistribution of income” need something to replace the clergy in this equation.  That is where what so many refer to Progressivism comes in.   Those that want this reorganization of society need a way to deal with the issues we discussed earlier.  The Progressive movement of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s evolved into a movement were wealthy people attempted to take money from other wealth people in the name of  social justice.  Socialism and Communism could not take root in American like it did in Europe, so it was blended into the greater Progressive political platform.  They used government to iniate measures that would get the nation used to the sweeping changes they sought.  Of these measures historian Michael Allen writes:

“The first, the income tax, represented a continued irrational antipathy toward wealthy Americans. Hostility toward the rich has characterized the Populists’ platforms, and had never completely disappeared after the 1890’s.  The interesting twist now was that guilty Progressive elites sought to take wealth from other non-Progressive elites by appealing to still other strata in society.  concerns over inequalities in wealth distribution and banking reform were the  central features of the Progressives’ agenda.”

Dealing with the complexities of managing a society that imposes equality on unequal people requires social engineering.  Not just structural reforms that prevent quantitative rewards for better achievement, but social and physiological control mechanisms to maintain order to maintain order and obedience.  They also need a means to explain why Oprah Winfrey and George Soros still have all their money. Then they need Reverend Wright and Andy Stern to explain how the thugs that are beating those that question  this are actually the victims of America’s “evil capitalist past”.

 They will also need Bill moyers to explain why a failing network like NBC is still on the air while “diversity laws” force censorship and even the termination of Fox News and conservatitve talk radio.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I’m Suzan’s friend, if you remember. We met at the TEA party anniversary. Anyway–
    I found a story–for free on the internet, go figure–written by Kurt Vonnegut in 1961 about the future when everyone IS equal. Socialism gone to the extreme. It was made into a crappy movie, but the story itself still stands up, and you can get the idea. It’s short–the equivalent of four or five pages, so look this up and read it. You’ll get the idea.

  2. March 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Good stuff James.

  3. March 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Well done my new and grounded friend!

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