I rarely get political on this blog (I am just a romance novelist, after all) but I thought I might rant a bit on a topic that's been bothering me a great deal lately. We are hearing over and over in the news here in the United States that people want Income Equality. You see interviews with people and politicians saying that one of the major problems in our society is Income Inequality.
But what is Income Inequality? The definitions I found say that it refers to the unequal distribution of wealth, the huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor. Many many people are saying that it isn't fair that so few are so rich and so many are so poor. That we need a more balanced society where the wealth is distributed more equally.
I'm scratching my head. What??? Our capitalistic system has always been based on hard work and innovation. The premise is that if you spend the time to get a good education and work hard, you will succeed. If you have a great idea for a new invention and you get the funding and start a company, you can become wealthy. (Apple, Microsoft) On the other hand, if you are lazy and have no ambition or don't want to go to school or work very hard, guess what? You'll probably end up at McDonalds flipping burgers for $10 an hour. (which is the new minimum wage here in CA). Now, there's nothing wrong with that if that's what you want. But the great thing about America (or it used to be) is that EVERYONE had the opportunity to become rich and successful.
Does capitalism breed greed? Absolutely. Are there greedy people in the world? YES! But you don't have to be rich to be greedy. Poor people can be greedy too. My point is that yes, there are CEOs of companies who are only out for themselves and who take advantage of others. But there are also CEOs of companies who are good, decent people, who have worked hard to get where they are at.
I'll use my husband as an example. He worked his way through college for 5 years, then he worked his way through graduate school for another 4 years. He finally landed a job at age 29 with IBM as a Research Scientist. He has his phD in Physical Chemistry and is the hardest working man I know. He works now for a different company as a Senior Director, one step below Vice President. He works 5 days a week, sometimes 12 hour days and he often has to travel overseas. At his level, he carries an enormous responsibility for the company's welfare. He and those above him have to know everything about every technology in the company so they can make mulit-million dollar decisions in a split second. I'll tell you right now, there's no way I could do that job. No way! I have neither the brains nor the temperament! Because of things he has told me, I have the greatest respect for people who run companies. It requires a huge sacrifice and lots of time and intelligence.
So, why should money be taken away from someone like that and given to someone who never went to college or never worked very hard. What's EQUAL about that?
Now, I'm not talking about those who can't work, who have some sort of disability or injury. I'm talking about healthy normal adults.
The United States is not a land of Equal Income. It is a land of Equal Opportunity so that ANYONE who is willing to work for it can become rich and successful. Or at the very least, they won't be poor and desolate.
Let me be clear, however. I'm NOT saying that poor people are lazy and rich people are hard-working. Not at all! Obviously circumstances and the economy can cause someone to be down on their luck. And inheriting money from a relative can also make someone who hasn't worked hard rich.
All I'm saying is, whatever your situation, here in America, there's always hope that with hard work, you can improve your station.
You may not have the brains to be a CEO of a company, but you can use your God-given talents and work hard and be successful at something.
What our government seems intent on doing is taking money from those who have worked hard all their life for it and give it to those who haven't. So, I ask you, why would the CEO of a company work so hard for the same money that someone in the mail room makes? Why would anyone bother to go through 8 years of college and work their way up a company if there was no reward at the end? If our government continues on this course, people will stop going to college, people will stop coming up with innovating ideas that will better our world, people will stop working well and hard so they can get a better job, and people will not start companies that employ thousands. Then, where will we be?