Is income inequality a problem?

This is an LTE to the MetroWest Daily News of Framingham, MA, in response to Why is Romney’s Wealth an Issue? YOu can also find it on MetroWest’s website, at it has been published in Framingham and Norfolk. Comments are always welcome!

Image used with permission © Akari Hosokawa 2012

I am writing to identify a contradiction in “Why is Romney’s Wealth an Issue?” The author called attention to the absurdity of holding Mitt Romney’s wealth against him in the presidential election, and correctly suggested that the opportunity to become rich is “part of the American experience”. Yet at the end of the piece, he cited growing income inequality between lower and upper income brackets as symptomatic of a slipping American Dream, without explaining the relationship.

Mitt Romney’s earnings are certainly not equal to mine or to the author’s. Perhaps the amount that Romney has earned in a year has increased relative to the amount I have earned. I fail to see this inequality as a problem, and by the author’s original standard, it is not one.

In fact, income in equality is not a problem – at least not inherently. Provided that someone has earned wealth honestly – without violating another person’s right to do so by initiating force or fraud – there is absolutely no moral or practical issue with his having far more money than the average American. Income inequality is proof that America is a place where everyone has the right and the opportunity – but not anyone’s promise – to become and stay wealthy. As such, income inequality is at worst a non-issue, and at best an integral part of the American experience and a confirmation of the American dream.

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One thought on “Is income inequality a problem?

  1. There is no John Galt says:

    “In fact, income in equality is not a problem – at least not inherently. Provided that someone has earned wealth honestly – without violating another person’s right to do so by initiating force or fraud – there is absolutely no moral or practical issue with his having far more money than the average American.”

    The way our current system exists can you honestly believe that Mitt Romney made his money in an honest way? He has taken advantage of every tax and economic benefit given to him by the government. His wealth is a function of the economic subsidy given by government policy that favors the “old wealth” over the creation of “new wealth” and a free market. If you hate welfare recipients you should also hate the ultra rich who game and play the system as well, they are morally equivalent.

    If you truly believe in a free market philosophy you need to recognize that many people do not get rich because of their hard work and ingenuity given our current system. You have to realize that many engage in rent seeking behavior. I think Romney is a perfect example of such a person, read his family’s biography, their relation to government and what they have supported.

    Obama was correct when he said “You didn’t build that.” Given our current system and how we subsidize the rich it is a correct statement. Now maybe that’s a bad system, but it correctly analysis of what is going on.

    Given all this we should be concerned about inequality because it is no longer a function of people’s skill, work and luck. It is rather a function of their relationship to government. If you believe markets are not free, you should realize that this inequality is caused by government not the market.

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