Our middle class is shrinking. I don’t think anyone argues that point, but especially in election times, it is something that is harped on by both sides, and both sides offer this outlandish, unrealistic proposal to fix it. I’m personally not happy that money is more concentrated among fewer and fewer rich people. I don’t think that’s a good thing for society, business or our economy. Income inequality exists, and has always existed. Even Jesus said the poor will always be around us (Mark 14:7, and elsewhere).
In some circles, the answer is believed to be income redistribution. Simply put, Joe has $100,000 and Bill has $0. Give $50,000 of Joe’s money to Bill and they’re now equal, right? If you’re Bill, you love this plan. If you’re Joe, not so much. But that’s what many believe to be the best solution. “Some people are just too rich,” they will claim (even if they don’t use those exact words). This approach ignores the idea that Joe may have worked his tail off to EARN $100,000 and Bill may have sat around and done nothing. But we’re all equal now, and that’s what’s most important, right? It’s just like the sports where no one keeps score to make sure everybody can win…or something stupid like that.
Closely related to the idea above is the concept of utilitarianism, which hails that “the greatest good for the greatest number” is what ultimately decides a course of action. Utilitarianism can take the form of income redistribution or several other things, driven by whatever will result in the most “good” for the majority. The issue here is in defining “good”.
Before we get too deep, let me point you toward some solutions. I could tell you all day long what’s wrong, but wouldn’t it be better to offer some solutions to those issues?
I’m not talking about more money being thrown at a failing education system. We’ve already proven that doesn’t work through “no child left behind” and “common core.” I’m talking about REAL education, where we allow failure and encourage success. I’m talking about a system where we encourage creative thinking instead of rigid testing or unrealistic standards. Do you know education can’t fix stupid? Education fixes ignorance.
I know what you’re thinking…”spoken like a true libertarian”. That’s not necessarily my political affiliation, but in some senses, the government is way too up in my business! Back off! Do you know how complicated it is to legally make money in our country? My wife and I run several small business ventures and the ridiculous taxes and regulations we have to endure just to be entrepreneurs is laughable.
Offer Roads Out of Poverty
As I said earlier, there will always be poor people. However, not everyone has to be poor! Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:16, “He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich – both come to poverty.” There are way too many individuals and companies that are taking advantage of the poor to line their pockets. Don’t believe me? Go to any “poor” neighborhood. You’ll find a myriad of places not found in any other type of neighborhood like pawn shops and title loan shops. If your business model depends on any type of predatory practice then you may ought to take a hard look at whether that’s the way you should be earning your money.
I’ve heard Dave Ramsey (and others) say that solving our money problems often comes down to realizing that being rich isn’t evil. We need to remember that the economic pie grows. There isn’t a size limit, nor is there a limited number of pies. Stop trying to take my pie to feed yourself. Stop giving me grief if my pie is bigger than your pie. Stop fussing because I have pie and you don’t – get in the kitchen and make your own pie, dang it!