Equal Outcome, Or Equal Opportunity?

A recent report from the Pew Research Center has surveyed the gap in wealth between racial groups and has found that the gap between whites and other minorities is as wide as it has ever been in 2009.

The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from 2009.

These lopsided wealth ratios are the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago and roughly twice the size of the ratios that had prevailed between these three groups for the two decades prior to the Great Recession that ended in 2009.

There has always been a “gap” in wealth, but the housing crisis made a bigger impact on minority’s overall wealth, thus widening the gap and creating hostility towards those who have by those who have-not.

The worst consequence of reports like this is it drums up jealousy and envy.  I think it is designed to.  People like Michael Moore use information like this for their political gain.  In a speech in Wisconsin In March of 2011, Moore said:

The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

[…]

The truth is, there’s lots of money to go around. LOTS. It’s just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours.

This is how class warfare is created and exacerbated.  Moore actually states explicitly what most politicians only dare imply:  the wealthy have taken what is rightfully yours.  Of course that’s hogwash, but to someone who is already prone to believe it, statistics like the one Pew reports, solidifies it.

But realistically speaking, the money the wealthy have never was yours–or mine–to begin with.  It wasn’t taken from me–unless you count me buying my iPod, making the Apple cat fatter. Notwithstanding, if the wealthiest 1,000 Americans packed up and moved, the gap between the wealthy and “poor” narrows, sure.  But it’s not like they or I would have any more money.  The poor will remain poor.

Moore, and those of his ilk parse this as wealth inequality.  It is framed as an issue of fairness.  People who are persuaded by Moore believe there is a misdistribution of the wealth.  After all, the top 20% of Americans control 84% of the wealth (that’s not fair, is it?).  As the HBS study shows, 92% of respondents, if randomly dropped into a quintile of wealth, would prefer Sweden’s distribution over the United States’ distribution (p. 5, graph on p. 13).  But this is the problem.  Moore and those like him dress the situation as if people are randomly dropped into their bank accounts.

“Wealth distribution” carries the connotation that wealth was distributed in the first place.  As if there was a point in time where people were allocated their money.  Although, according to Moore, you used to have wealth until someone richer than you came and took it from you while you weren’t looking.  The ideology is that everything is supposed to be equal, regardless of effort and ingenuity**.

I understand it is human nature to want more than you have, and envy or even begrudge those who have more.  But demonizing those who have takes the focus off the real causes of the disparities in the first place.  Education, motivation, and foresight.

Remaining in and furthering your education is key.  The less educated you are, the more likely you are to be among the have-nots.  Getting and staying motivated to use your education to your advantage places you in a position to reach your potential.  And having the foresight to realize success is a long-term goal, hard-earned and not easily achieved nor handed out.

___________________________

** I’d be willing to bet all the money I could borrow that if every American were reduced to complete bankruptcy–no home, no money, no assets what so ever– and then given $1 million , everyone would be back in the same financial position as when they started within a decade, maybe even 5 years.

Comments

  1. Marshall Art says:

    People like Moore are simply engaging in a tried and true tactic of the left, which is to demonize the opposition. The rich in this country are like the 1930’s German Jews. They are blamed for the suffering of the have-nots. Moore will compel the have-nots to hold out their tin cups and rather than fill them himself with any of his own wealth, will instead insist that other wealthy people, who have struggled, sweated, denied themselves while taking risks in order to create for themselves a better life, are the reason those cups are empty. It would be a nice change for this buffoon to lay out just how this is in any way true. He could start with explaining why all the people he is inciting were worthy of the wealth he claims used to be theirs. What did they do to earn it?

    • I wish I could so easily dismiss those like Moore. For whatever reason, people prone to believe him, reeaaally believe him and there is no talking to them.

      Liberals have been lying to poor people for so long, and I don’t see how they don’t see it. Cities like Detroit have been in complete Democrat control for decades, but for some reason that fact is beyond discussion.

    • Wow – the first reply already references Nazi Germany. That has to be a record. Well done.

      • Marshall Art says:

        The first reply makes a solid parallel between Nazi demonizing of the Jews for the economic condition of Germany and the liberal demonizing of the rich for the economic condition of our country. The parallel is in the cheap blame-game tactic and the incredible falsehood of the premise. Perhaps you have a more intelligent response than the lazy one you felt compelled to post. It wasn’t as if I was accusing Moore of being a Nazi or even Nazi-like. But placing blame where it doesn’t belong is exactly what the both the Nazis of the ’30s and the libs of today are doing.

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