Equality or Inequality
by Mike Kapic August 17, 2016
Everyone one is different. I think you would agree that we live in a world where everyone’s skills, talents, education, motivation, work ethic, their wants and desires, are all different. We do not share equal attributes therefore we’re unequal. So let me ask: If that’s true, do we really live in a country where big corporations or rich business people, who are also unequal, take unfair advantage of other people? Is greed a part of the equation or is it really that each person is following in their own best interest? Does government do the same with its power? Is it trustworthy. Did America become a great nation on the sweat of the many for the profit and power of the few? Is inequality in America a problem?
Progressives rail against inequality as something bad in our society and promote the level playing field to be ‘equal’ for everyone. Except for themselves and the few who would make the rules the rest of us have to follow. So, the question becomes: are the differences in income, gender, education, housing, healthcare, etcetera, as destructive to a growing society as they claim? Or are they just jealous of their neighbors gains? Or are they suggesting that hard work should not be necessary to accomplish independence? That redistribution of someone’s else’s hard earned money is better. Is inequality in America the problem? Let’s examine the inequalities progressive politicians, academia, and the media claim are wrong for America.
Social inequality includes a broad range of issues which are supposedly holding people back from expanding their lives, while economic inequality makes the poor poorer, while the rich get richer, they claim. Let’s explore both.
Education, Affirmative Action, and Hiring Equality
The government mandates that colleges and universities use affirmative action rules for federally subsidized schools to secure equality for all. This is supposed to mean equal opportunity to minorities, specifically blacks and Hispanics due to skin color before consideration of intellectual abilities. Since the program began, the results show that affirmative action really doesn’t work. Too many ‘qualified’ students haven’t been properly prepared by K-12 to succeed in college or the eventual work place. Intentionally putting these earnest folks in a bad place to ease a progressive guilt for past transgressions is not only wrong but immoral.
Studies show that affirmative action has hurt minorities as well as many others and, ironically, these are the ones it was designed to help. It has also inhibited students from around the world due to the highly discriminating rules. We’re kidding ourselves if we believe affirmative action policies help underserved people. The proof is in the results of a failed government program.
The government has the same problem in the private sector. It requires employers to hire under misapplied guidelines to select someone for a job whose first criteria is skin color or national origin. Only then can the individual’s skills be considered. Progressives who helped craft these laws don’t understand that modern private employers don’t come to the hiring table the same way government employees do. They are motivated in a much different light. The private sector is looking for the best person to fill their customer’s needs. That’s a ubiquitous methodology with businesses in the US today.
Drafting Women for Equality
Consider the recent push to draft women. Most progressives suggest that women and men are equal and therefore women should be allowed to be drafted into the military for combat operations. Are women really equivalent to men physically, mentally, or socially? Together the genders share a lot of complementary strengths, but as individuals they are very unequal. For a humorous explanation of these differences, please refer to John Gray’s book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. This is ompelling analysis. There are distinct differences that should be acknowledged and celebrated. Both genders contribute their individual strengths and weaknesses together to improve our world. Forcing genders to perform competitively against the other’s strengths under life and death situations is fool heaty. Individual rules allowing those women who can compete with men one on one, should be encouraged.
The facts still remain: 70% of women recruits fail the US Army’s physical tests. Continuing on a path of drafting large numbers of women in a time of need, puts their own lives and those of men in harm’s way just so progressives can feel good about a mistaken notion that the American population group of men and women are equal. They are not and we should be happy for that.
Progressives claim that the rich get richer because of privilege and, in the process, don’t pay their fair share of taxes. [40% of US revenue comes from the top 10% earners] Or that women are unequally paid. Or that all businesses must be regulated to protect the public. Or that the rich earn millions off the sweat of everyone else and that a living minimum wage would remedy that. Let’s explore some of these.
First, recall that men and women are required to be paid the same for equal work by federal law. Progressives state that women only earn $0.77 for each dollar a man earns. Is that true? No, it’s a very misleading and incomplete statistic because it compares whole groups and not comparative jobs. The federal government reports that as a group, women earn less than men because they make choices regarding parenting and career. Because women work fewer hours and take more time off, the wage differential is actually $0.93 for every dollar a man earns. When women and men’s wages are compared by job, they are statistically the same. That is because it is federal law and regulated by the EEOC.
This is another oft not discussed issue that has been dragging on the middleclass for centuries: crony capitalism. It is defined as Business and Government deciding on regulations together for their mutual benefit at the expense of the consumer and entrepreneur. The evidence is clear when we observe not only businesses like Google, Facebook, Boeing, General Motors, but also the local barber shop or taxicab companies. They all stand to gain through regulations that restrict competition. In the case of small business crony capitalism rigs the market by creating licensing directives that are enforced by the coercive power of local laws making the local market an insiders club. Politicians, like the town council, exchange regulatory favors for contributions from established businesses. Products and services always cost more when influenced by the third party (thumb on the scale) of crony capitalism.
But most importantly, it creates an equality within an industry so that everyone operates under the same set of rules. Competition is not driving customers or pricing; laws or rules are. So each business is equal to the next. They don’t have to work as hard to earn the customer because each business is guaranteed that each business will produce at the same equal price. Case in point: Why didn’t Uber get its start from inside the taxi industry? Business and government worked together to keep them out. They continue fighting to get the a piece of the pie.
Crony capitalism has existed for centuries and lives in our own backyards. Fifty to a hundred years ago, entrepreneurs (creators of business generated from an idea) didn’t, for example, have to attend months of schooling costing thousands, set up shop with equipment they didn’t need, and pay for annual licenses just to arrange flowers, or braid hair or drive a taxi. This is government limiting competition through factious licensing requirements to protect the existing flower arrangers, hair braiders, and taxi drivers from new ideas and competitive pricing. The Association’s of flower arrangers, hair braiders (barbers), and taxi (syndicates) have colluded with local governments across the country. This system makes those lucky enough to be in the ‘circle’ of businesses all equal. Competitors with a better idea or price are kept legally outside.
This is equality at its finest and most un-American. Anywhere that business is uncompetitive or prices are artificially controlled, innovation and growth stagnate with the consumer losing, while a certain group of businesses and government wins. Cities like Detroit or New York reflect the results of crony policy.
Progressives state that the inequality of minimum wage is unfair and should be raised to say…$15 an hour, an arbitrary figure by the way, but an amount that sounds good. It is unsupported by all respectable economist. Politicians promote it because it attracts a demographic that votes for them. A free lunch.
The minimum wage, whatever the rate, forces businesses to discriminate against low skill, untrained workers (a high school student first job), forcing the business to hire a higher educated and skilled worker (why waste all that wage cost on the unskilled when you can find over qualified folks and get more bang for the buck!)
Traditionally, the lower wage is the market point where most unskilled young people go to learn how to work (be on time, show up every day, learn to get along with customers, and the boss. Once they learn, they move on). After the recent surge in local governments implementing $10-$15 minimum wages, empirical evidence shows the unintended consequences of their living wage law: there are fewer jobs and higher unemployment in every case. The unintended consequence of the law is creating a new industry of automated hamburger robots, for example. Economists call this creative destruction. When productivity gains slow, the industry replaces the old method (labor) with a cheaper and more productive method (robot). It’s basic Econ 100.
Wherever the minimum wage is hiked above what the market will support, employers discriminate. Economists say the best minimum wage is zero. And this amount makes sense because market competition always sets the price, not government.
These are jobs that people move in and out of quickly. Less than 1% of folks stay at the low wages, and if they do, it is their choice and the consumer should not be made to pay higher prices for their decision to remain at a low wage. Many folks are happy at the lower wages because they have a job and would probably lose it because of the need to coddle a tiny minority. All workers gain when the minimum wage is zero. Unions and collectives gain when there is a minimum wage.
Republicanism and Inequality
The American system of republicanism, established by the framers of the Constitution, protects social and economic freedom by guaranteeing Americans the “…pursuit of happiness…” which is really opportunity. Inequality in America means that you can start with nothing and choose your own path. When everyone is equal then opportunity for happiness vanishes. Where would the world be if America hadn’t had a Henry Ford, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Amadeo Giannini (look it up), Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Gordon Moore, James Hill, Alexander Graham Bell, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, David Rockefeller, Henry Bessemer, to name but a few of the millions who contributed to the building of our country through entrepreneurism. Most, if not all, came from modest beginnings. And they did it without the government. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it hadn’t been for these people who, after many personal failures, eventually turned an idea into a marketable product for the many. They became wealthy and in the same accidental stroke, made everyone else wealthy. Inequality largely changed America for the better, advancing mankind. Across the globe since 1980, a billion people have been lifted out of poverty because of these free market polices. You can’
Political rights are the only real important rights that we share equally. For the millennium’s prior to 1776, people were ruled by elite groups of clergy, monarchs, barons, dictators, surrendering their God given liberties and property rights for the benefit of the greater good: of the elites. The Founders of America rejected that idea and held that each individual had the God given right to liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness (opportunity).
Inequality Allowed America
Inequality is what built America from the inside. From the back of a bicycle shop or a neighborhood garage, tinkers and entrepreneurs took advantage of inequality to create wealth for all of us. Those inequalities, both capital and skills and talents served different aspects of American culture and the economy, and together, made America great.
The equal are not free. The unequal are free. And America offers them the opportunity.