Sharing the wealth around

Can it really be 'shared prosperity' if it's directed by force?

In the understandable hubbub of Joe Biden’s goofiness and outrageousness this week, a more important story quickly came and went in the breakneck news cycle.

President Obama recently asked, “Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared?”

In the 2008 campaign, candidate Barack Obama talked to “Joe the plumber” about “spreading the wealth around.” Now, he uses the more innocent, gentle, sweet-sounding term “shared prosperity.”

The rhetoric has changed, but the belief system is the same. And it is every bit the socialist argument it sounds.

“We’ve got news for him: Prosperity is always shared,” Investor’s Business Daily writes.

Indeed. When entrepreneurs risk their capital, or risk borrowed funds, to create businesses that produce goods or services, and hire people to do the producing, that’s sharing the prosperity. Anytime you get a paycheck, the prosperity has just been shared.

The thing is, it’s sharing it voluntarily, the American way: asking people to pitch in and earn it.

Mr. Obama’s rhetoric, and certainly his policies, reflect a belief that the government should be used to forcibly spread – or “share” if you prefer – the wealth around. This is why he’s after Mitt Romney’s tax returns; he wants to prove that other people have too much of your money.

This is not the American model, the one that has historically created the most prosperity for the most people. Instead, it is the failed, top-down, centrally planned model of socialist and communist houses of cards.

That doomed model, which fails to respect basic human freedom, tacitly espouses a goal of “equal outcomes” rather than the more reasonable “equality of opportunity.”

No one, not even government, can or should try to guarantee outcomes, or artificially “share the wealth around” for us. “Sharing” the wealth around first requires that wealth be created by someone – and then that the wealth be forcibly removed from the person who created it and be given to someone else.

This is the fount of Mr. Obama’s tax-the-rich class warfare that he is hoping sounds good enough to warrant his unwarranted re-election.

The next step in sharing the wealth around is giving it to someone without the first regard to the recipient’s effort, or the level of responsibility he has shown in life. It is telling, for instance, that the share-the-wealth-around crowd opposes drug testing for welfare recipients.

This scenario benefits neither the “giver” nor the receiver – at least for very long. It is neither constructive nor compassionate to give someone money who is otherwise able to earn it himself; it is a temporary fix at best, and discourages the kind of enterprise and initiative that teaches one self-reliance and independence.

Nor is it moral to take what someone has earned and give it to someone else, particularly without accountability for how those funds are used.

Sadly, the bizarre arc of the news this week served to
obscure Mr. Obama’s new spread-the-wealth-around
moment.

But it is especially noteworthy, owing to Mr. Obama’s unique contribution to the nation’s vocabulary: We may now “share” the wealth around.

Or, more to the point, have it done for us.

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Sat, 02/18/2017 - 21:59

Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon