According to the left, America is a ruthless, unforgiving aristocracy wrought with income inequality and poverty propagated by the evils of the avaricious and rapacious capitalist system. In a land in which the rich allegedly steal from the poor, a prominent argument from the left is that capitalism is evil because it perpetuates income inequality.
The truth is that every single country on the planet has a degree of income inequality. The question is whether or not those at the bottom percentile of earners have the opportunity to move up the ladder. As it turns out, America has high rates of income mobility.
According to Professor Mark Rank of Washington University:
“12 percent of the population will find themselves in the top one percent of the income distribution for at least one year. What’s more, 39 percent of Americans will spend a year in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, 56 percent will find themselves in the top 10 percent, and a whopping 73 percent will spend a year in the top 20 percent of the income distribution.” Additionally, “Although 12 percent of the population will experience a year in which they find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution, a mere 0.6 percent will do so in 10 consecutive years.”
The evidence indicates that there is no “rigid class structure in the United States based upon income.” Yet some on the left aren’t buying what the rich are selling.
President Barack Obama, worth an estimated $40 million, observed during his 2016 State of the Union address that “more and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), worth an estimated $3.7 to $10 million, chastised Redskins owner Dan Snyder, tweeting, “This billionaire NFL owner just paid $100M for a ‘superyacht’ with its own iMax theater. I’m pretty sure he can pay my new #UltraMillionaireTax to help the millions of yacht-less Americans struggling with student loan debt.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), worth an estimated $2 million, remarked, “We’ve got a lot of people living in poverty. People up top are doing very, very well. It is not wrong to say that to those people you’re going to have to start paying your fair share of taxes.” I can respect the willingness of the certified-wealthy to offer to pay more taxes, but there’s really no need.
According to Tax Foundation:
“The top one percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (39.0 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (29.4 percent). The top one percent of taxpayers paid a 27.1 percent individual income tax rate, which is more than seven times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.6 percent).” At what point have the rich paid their fair share?
Increasing taxes to engage in massive, socialist redistribution of wealth is not only ineffective, but immoral.
Conservatives often fail to speak in terms of morality when discussing capitalism. Frequently, the left is uninterested in decimals and balance sheets, looking more fervently upon the morality of economic systems. Is it right that some have so much and many have so little?
The left’s answer is obvious and its solution is the problem.
As Ben Shapiro often articulates, if there are two people in a room, one with five dollars and the other with one dollar, the left assumes that the person with five dollars has stolen from the person with one dollar. In reality, the person with five dollars more than likely engaged in a voluntary, mutually-beneficial transaction with the other person.
Jeff Bezos didn’t get rich by stealing money from poor people. He is the wealthiest man in the history of the plant because he participated in an enormous number of voluntary transactions with consumers desiring the product he pedals. Yet, the left still maligns the rich, condemning them for having so much when Americans are living in poverty.
The truth is that there is hardly poverty within the United States. America’s poor are certified-wealthy by global stands. Nine out of ten Americans are living above the global middle-income standard, according to Pew Research.
Even so, you don’t want to be impoverished?
According to the Brookings Institute, all you have to do in order to escape poverty in America is 1) graduate high school, 2) get a full-time job, and 3) don’t have babies outside of wedlock. Seventy-five percent of people who do these three things end up in the middle-class. Only two percent end up in poverty.
Wealth redistribution is purely immoral. And so is perpetuating fallacies about income inequality within the land of opportunity.
If you want to be rich, go earn it.
Kevin Catapano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.