When I came across this article from the not-so-conservative Brookings Institute, I was suspicious. It is April Fools Day after all and this is an article from a liberal think tank opining that income inequality is not nearly as big of a problem as President Obama makes it out to be. It must be a joke right? Luckily my fears were assuaged when I looked at the publication date and saw it is actually an article from January, and makes some solid points.
The biggest point is that the left would have you believe that since 1980 the rich have gotten richer AT THE EXPENSE of the poor. This is false. The economy is not a fixed pie like the one (several?) at Thanksgiving dinner. Just because one person gets richer does not mean that someone else had to get poorer. Since 1980 the “economic pie” has gotten bigger, allowing everyone to have a bigger piece of it. Now it is true that the rich have gotten richer at at faster pace than the poor- the rich have seen their AFTER TAX (this is important) incomes triple, while the middle class has seen their incomes rise by 40%. But the point is that EVERYBODY is better off.
Margaret Thatcher understood this concept and delivered that best line ever in explaining the whole income inequality debate. When the Labour Party tried to nail her on income inequality increasing during her term as Prime Minister, the Iron Lady brilliantly fought back:
When Simon Hughes (Liberal Democrat member of Parliament for Southwark and Bermondsey) asked about the gap between the wealthy and the needy, Prime Minister Thatcher replied unyieldingly:
“What the honorable member is saying is that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich,” she argued on November 22, 1990. She added: “So long as the gap is smaller, they would rather have the poor poorer. You do not create wealth and opportunity that way. You do not create a property-owning democracy that way.”
Mrs. Thatcher’s words were accompanied by a simple hand gesture, showing that the Left prefer a narrower gap between rich and poor, even if both are at a lower level, than a wider gap, where both the rich and poor are better off — albeit more so for the former.
I like to be fair so I will admit that the most of the American left probably does not want the poorer to be poorer so long as the rich were less rich. But when they constantly harp on income inequality as the sole problem with our economy in and of itself, I can’t help but think of what Thatcher said. Although I also try to remember that the only reason the left is harping on inequality is pure politics. They know their economic policies have failed the american worker and their signature health care bill is growing less popular by the day. They need something to harp on for the midterm elections coming up so they have chosen to appeal to natural human emotions like envy and hatred of the rich because that’s what worked in 2012 to beat Mitt Romney.
As a conservative, I don’t believe in hating people because they are rich. There are plenty of good reasons to dislike people (such as them being jerks), but simply being rich is not one of them. However I agree, to an extent, that income inequality can be an issue in our society, especially when people become rich from having politician friends in Washington who dole out favors. But the answer to the problem is not more government, but less. If the government wasn’t doling out subsidies for oil and green energy, cronies wouldn’t have any favors to lobby for (lobbying firms have seen their revenues drop due to our “do nothing” congress). And most importantly, to help the poor and middle classes we need a good economy thats creating lots of good paying jobs. Americans want to work for their success because they know there is dignity in work, but thanks to liberal economic policies our economy is starting to look more European than American. This is not a good thing unless you would rather the poor be poorer.
Here is the article I got that Thatcher bit from, followed by a video of the Iron Lady saying it herself: