Monday, December 09, 2013

Do we need to re-distribute wealth or encourage wealth?

Total disposable income of all Americans between 1929 and 1950 rose 74%.  And it’s been rising every since.  Yet Americans are supposed to still be in poverty?  In 1904,  poverty was defined as a condition in which people “though using their best efforts, are failing to obtain sufficient necessaries for maintaining physical efficiency.”  Does this mean not hungry and/or starving? Yet today’s qualifications for welfare and/or SNAP cards in no way resembles that earlier definition.  Poor Richard ( Benjamin Franklin)  in his Almanac advised industry and frugality as the “way to wealth.”  He felt poor people are poor because they are victims of their own laziness, stupidity or profligacy.
Do we need to re-distribute wealth or encourage wealth?  As early as 1883 a Yale teacher warned against yearning for equality which would simply rob A to give to B.  This Mr. Sumner said the aim should be to “increase, multiply, and extend the chances” for individuals to acquire wealth. “Such is the work of civilization.”
All I conclude is that America (with its focus on rich vs. poor and the income gap) is as uncivilized as ever in 2013. Shame on us. We even glam onto words of a Pope to justify re-distribution and a welfare society. Double the shame.  


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