Income inequality is a term being tossed around in political circles, talk shows and magazine articles. It’s being presented as something wrong in our society. The fact that corporate CEOs get a lot more than those who pound the nails, or that lawyers live better than lube techs, is portrayed as somehow improper and something the government should fix.
Be careful what you wish for. Let’s say we could wave a magic wand and make everybody’s pay scale equal — everybody gets $20 an hour. That’s about $41,000 a year, enough for anyone to have a decent living. No matter your intelligence, training, abilities or value, everybody gets $20 an hour. That might sound great if you are presently working for $10 an hour, but consider the consequences.
The medical schools would shut down. Who is going to attend tough schooling for six extra years if the pay is the same as flipping burgers? Who is going to manage your shop? Will you put forth the extra effort and assume all that responsibility with no increase in pay? As a matter of fact, the business won’t even be there. Who is going to risk their life savings, do all that work and contend with the headaches of starting a business if there is no potential for reward? The pay scale might be $20 an hour but ultimately there would be no one to write the checks.
With no reward, buildings don’t get built, businesses don’t get established, the raw materials don’t get processed and all the profits that create our well being disappear. Every modern convenience we enjoy from the refrigerator to highways and aircraft carriers, they are all paid for with someone’s profit. Government does not create anything. Government can only take from the economy’s profits and use the funds for the common good. This is an essential element of good government — to control and establish the infrastructure, provide for our security and make the rules for a civilized society. We most certainly need it.
It’s when we look to the government to provide for us and mandate that somebody else pay our way that leads to economic chaos. Income inequality is a very good thing. It’s what motivates those brilliant minds to provide and produce the wondrous products and services we enjoy. We should keep motivating those who excel by maintaining the freedom to take risks, to lead, to accomplish and to be rewarded for their efforts.
Bill Gates probably has more wealth than any human could spend, and that’s great! The software he developed enables me to be gainfully employed for life. I’m sure that millions of others like me consider computers and software to be the biggest bargains available. They wouldn’t have happened if the reward was no more than a night watchman’s pay.
Rather than be envious or begrudge another’s success, one would be better served by focusing on increasing one’s own value. What we do and how we think has an outcome. There are choices to be made and results will normally occur. If we choose to not get an education, chances are our income will be less than those who do. If we choose to live a life of no responsibility, we will probably earn less than those who take the wheel.