And, of course they do it not by exhorting citizens to improve themselves but by tearing down – handicapping – those who are superior.
Another problem is the definition of fair. Is it fair that Larry Bird made millions playing basketball while others who practiced just as long and hard didn’t? Is it fair for one person to invent a product that sells, while another invents a product that doesn’t?
To ask those questions is to answer them: Fair has nothing to do with it. Equal opportunity never has and never will yield equal results.
Just this past week, Nancy Gibbs, managing editor of Time magazine (not an extreme, right-wing rag), opined concerning Hillary Clinton’s political advantages that “politics, like life, isn’t fair, players get to play by different rules, and Hillary rules are ones any aspiring candidate would envy.”
Yet another problem is that inequality isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If I get twice as rich this year, but Warren Buffett gets three times as rich, does that mean I’m worse off even though the “tide of inequality” between us has increased?
It would be absurd to say it did.
Finally, while government has necessary roles to perform, it is very bad at trying to control the economic success of its citizens.
It should seek to promote equal opportunity; forbidding discrimination is a worthy role for it to play. It should provide a safety net for those who lack the basics of food, clothing and shelter.
But, if Obama persists in government intervention to get rid of inequality, it is those who work for government who will ultimately be “more equal than others.”
Supposedly, their power to take money from productive citizens is all to help the poor, but somehow enough of it gets siphoned off to make the political class as disconnected from average citizens as elite athletes, Hollywood stars and the wolves of Wall Street.
Somehow I don’t think Obama is worried about that kind of inequality.
Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org