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Part IIThe Misguided Focus on Income Inequality

אפריל 8, 2022 11:53 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Nicole V. Crain and W. Mark Crain, The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms, U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, ,

See Miller, Holmes, and Feulner, 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, and Terry Miller and Kim R. Holmes, “‘Mostly Free': The Startling erica's Economic Freedom and What to Do About It,” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 82, /07/mostly-free-the-startling-ericas-economic-freedom-and-what-to-do-about-it.

“The U.S. is steadily separating into a two-caste system with marriage and education as the dividing line. In the high-income third of the population, children are raised by married parents with a college education; in the bottom-income third, children are raised by single parents with a high school degree or less.” Rector, “erica's Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty.” See also Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 (New York: Crown Forum, 2012), pp. 149–167.

Institute for American Values and University of Virginia, National erica 2011, See also Paul R. Armato, “Interpreting Divorce Rates, Marriage Rates, and Data on the Percentage of Children with Single Parents,” National Healthy , “the commonly cited statistic that about half of all marriages end in disruption (divorce or permanent separation) appears to be reasonably accurate.”

See Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2607, /09/understanding-poverty-in-the-united-states-surprising-facts-about-americas-poor.

Franklin, Writings, p. 588. Consider the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. The second most expensive means-tested aid program, it doles out billions of dollars a year in unconditional aid, thereby promoting indolence and sapping the energies of those it should be helping. Many food stamp households contain adults who are capable of working but work little or not at all. The program also fosters long-term dependence. Contrary to the common perception that people receiving food stamps have simply fallen temporarily on hard times, the majority of recipients are or will become long-term dependents. Historically, half of food stamp aid to families with children has gone to families that have received aid for 8.5 years or more. See Rector and Bradley, “Reforming the Food Stamp Program.”

Marianne Page, “New Evidence on Intergenerational Correlations in Welfare Participation,” in Generational Income Mobility in North America and Europe, ed. Miles Corak (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 226–244.

The work requirement for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program was recently gutted. See Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, “Obama Administration Ends Welfare Reform as We Know It,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 3712, /08/obama-administration-ends-welfare-reform-as-we-know-it.

Dan Lips, Shanea Watkins, and John Fleming, “Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2179, /09/does-spending-more-on-education-improve-academic-achievement.

For more on what can be done, see Jennifer A. Marshall, “Freeing Schools from Washington's Education Overreach,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 3214, /04/freeing-schools-from-washingtons-education-overreach.

Francis J. Grund, The Americans in Their Moral, Social, and Political Relations (Boston: Marsh, Capen, and Lyon, 1837), pp. 173–174.

For the full plan, see Butler, Fraser, and Beach, eds., Saving the American Dream: The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity.

Witness President Obama's recent efforts to unilaterally weaken the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform act. Rector and Sheffield, “Obama Administration Ends Welfare Reform as We Know It.”

Examining the inequality argument also reveals its psychological underpinnings: Contrary to their professions of solidarity with the poor and the “99 percent,” many critics of inequality seem to be motivated more by envy of the rich than by compassion for the poor.

Part IThe Promise of America

For many people, the story ends here. America is the land of opportunity, and economic freedom is what makes mobility possible. To leave it at that, however, would fail to do full justice to the promise of America. First, this simplified account leaves out the other great benefit that the Founders anticipated their commercial republic would bring: general prosperity and an increase in the standard of living of all. Second, it fails to mention the other all-important factor required for the dream to materialize: a culture of work in which labor is encouraged and celebrated.

To the tired complaint, originating in Marx, that in a capitalist economy only the wealthy own the means of production, the Founders would respond that each person in fact owns the most important means of production: himself and his labor, whether physical or mental. As Abraham Lincoln's own retelling of the “American Dream” makes clear:

Those in dire need are to be cared for, of course. In America, we help each other. For the overwhelming majority of Americans, charity and justice go hand in hand. But in the economic realm, justice is about the processes, not the outcomes. Even critics of the free market seem to acknowledge this much when they turn away from justice to “fairness” or coin terms like “social justice” to justify their ambitious redistributionist schemes.

In a commercial republic, by contrast, industriousness, labor, work, and enterprise are elevated to the rank of virtues. Mere exertion will not cut it. Frederick Douglass summed up his message to those who sought to get ahead in life in the following way:

These are the real questions that ultimately divide the Left and Right when it comes to framing economic questions. The divide is not over whether to help the poor, but over how to approach life. The profound disagreement is over how to speak, not whether to act. By falsely claiming that the Right is somehow opposed to helping those in need, the Left has managed to deflect attention from the fact that the way it speaks about poverty and life saps the vigor of those in need, fosters unreasonable expectations, and leads to bitter disappointment and resentment.

Thus, while all can dream the American Dream, and many can actually achieve it. Indeed, for the countless Americans who have succeeded or ensured a better life for their children, the American Dream is not an imaginary vision but a concrete reality. The same holds true for the millions of immigrants who continue to flock to this new promised land not in search of food stamps and housing vouchers, but armed with a good work ethic and a desire to make a better life for themselves and their families.

In this sense, equality of opportunity is a necessary extension of the principle of equality at the heart of the Declaration of Independence. Because we are all born equal and possess the same rights, the same rules ought to apply equally to all. We therefore ought to break down any artificial legal barriers to advancement. Thus, Lincoln praised “the just https://besthookupwebsites.org/escort/baltimore/ and generous and prosperous system” because it “opens the way for all.”

The best evidence, however, reveals that these are not major factors in the changes in income distribution that have actually occurred.

The Collapse of the Family

Theodore Dalrymple, “Why Equality of Opportunity Is Impossible to Achieve-But Intellectual Elitism Can Offer Opportunity to All,” The Social Affairs Unit, ,

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