Guest Editorial


Obama's income equality push is a dangerous path

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rick manningYou can't turn on a talking head program these days without someone decrying income inequality.  The talking points are everywhere, even reaching the Sundance Film Festival where some of the nation's one percenters decried the disparity.

Congressional Democrats, desperate for something to talk about besides their failing Obamacare law, are urgently trying to change the subject to increasing unemployment insurance and minimum wage.  All under their campaign umbrella messaging that income inequality is bad.

Yet it is income inequality that has been at the heart of the very capitalist system that helped a vast majority of people rise out of poverty.

Does anyone seriously believe that someone who spent a decade studying and going through privation to become a brain surgeon should get paid the same as someone who is a 7-11 clerk?  Obviously not.  While few have chosen to go through the arduous process of learning the intricacies of brain surgery, virtually anyone who is willing to show up to work on time can be an entry level order taker.

Yet, somehow, those on the left argue that income inequality is a bad thing.  The consequence of this argument is that the brain surgeon income should be capped and reduced through higher taxes, while the wage of the low-skill order taker should be raised under the illusion of "income inequality."

No one is going to feel sorry for guys like Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, and that is not the point.

The point is that Bill Gates did not start out as one of the wealthiest men in the world, he started out as an upper-middle class kid with a love for computers, whose moxey and toughness took him to the top of the economic food chain.  This is a journey that any American can take if they have the smarts and willingness to risk everything to compete and win in brutal economic competition.

If income inequality did not exist, what incentive would there be for inventing and perfecting the personal computer, cell phone or even to work long hours in the hopes of a promotion, when you really would prefer to go home?

And while this may seem extreme, the ultimate statement of the supposed income equality that Obama and his minions promote is Marx's "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."  These twelve words serve as a perfect embodiment of the "everyone gets a trophy" mentality — this dangerous push for equal outcomes — permeates post-modern American culture.

Marx's words have also served as the excuse for the murder of 80 million Chinese by Mao, and the slaughter of another 30 million or so in Russia by Lenin and Stalin.

Powerful words, that once they take root, allow any act to be justified in the pursuit of "income equality."

Government is ultimately the power to coerce.  The power to force people to pay taxes, follow rules and regulations and do what those in charge dictate under the threat of imprisonment or worse.

As Mao himself wrote, "all power derives from the end of a gun" meaning that ultimately the threat of violence and the perceived willingness to use it against the people, is a government's only real tool to enforce its will.

Now we have wealthy actors and news readers mouthing the income inequality lines written by their big government intellectual masters, without even recognizing that the pursuit of income equality is actually the greatest evil in the world.

Income equality is an evil that plays the seductive class warfare card which historically has led to guillotines and pogroms — little more than pretext to dictatorship clothed in high-minded sounding rhetoric.

And while I am confident that President Obama's handlers envision his upcoming State of the Union speech with the John Lennon song "Imagine" playing in the background, the problem is that the underlying goal of government enforced income equality is to steal from those who create wealth and redistribute that wealth to those who are politically favored.

Even John Lennon figured out that his utopian imagination was a failure, as he fled to the United States to avoid living under similar confiscatory tax policies that existed in Great Britain at the time.

Of course, it doesn't take a 90 percent tax rate epiphany to figure this out, as any seven year old who attends Sunday School could answer why the income inequality plea is both wrong and doomed.  Just ask them about the Eighth of the Ten Commandment which plainly states, "thou shall not steal."

How hard is that to understand?

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy and communications of Americans for Limited Government.