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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Jerry Jackson: Envy and redistribution

  • Failing on all other arguments, Democrats are turning to "income inequality"
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  • Being defeated by logic and reality on such issues of health care, income taxes and massive spending by a massive federal government, the Democrats are desperately turning to an issue they think will resonate with voters – Income Inequality.
                They believe they can make points by turning to one of man’s (and woman’s) basic sins – envy.  It matters not how well off we are, if someone is in better financial shape than us, something must be wrong.
                To illustrate – Steven and Barbara both work for a successful company that is producing a new exciting product.  Barbara has been partially responsible for originating and developing the new product.  Steven has been a good steady worker in the purchasing department.  Barbara gets a 40 percent raise and Steven gets a 20 percent raise.  Steven was elated with his 20 percent raise until he found out Barbara got a raise of 40 percent – now he is furious.
                If you were the decision maker in this scenario what would you do?  Steven is a good employee and you don’t want to lose him.  Practically, he probably won’t leave because with his 20 percent raise, he’s at the high end for his position in the industry.
    The financial situation for Barbara is an entirely different story.  The market will soon realize the capabilities of Barbara and she will become very marketable.
                Some of you may be saying, “Come on, now.  We all know jobs are not all about money; many factors are involved besides compensation in accepting a position and deciding whether or not to stay.”
                My answer to that – try competing with an offer to one of your employees that is planning to leave because he has an offer to double his compensation.  You think he will stay because you have created a climate of warm and fuzzy feelings and have just hired a consultant to play games on how to support your fellow worker?
                In my own experience, having responsibility for compensation, I have never regretted giving larger bonuses or larger raises to those with superior performance. That doesn’t mean all were pleased but taking a union-type approach to compensation is a sure fire way to lose top performing employees.  The basic principles here are capitalism and competition.
    Page 2 of 3 -             A recent letter to the Dem-Gaz illustrates the result of playing the envy game.  This writer was explaining the pie is only so big and if the wealthy take a big slice, then only crumbs will be left for others.  The fallacy to this narrow approach is believing the pie size is a static amount.  If the size of the pie can be increased and your actual piece shows a good increase, are you going to let envy destroy you because someone else got a bigger increase than you?  That, of course, is exactly what the progressives hope.  If they can just get you to despise the person who is successful and creating more jobs, then maybe you will vote for those who promote more food stamps, more welfare and in turn increase the tax on the rich.
                Obama has been the king of promoting the envy game.  On January 6th our president arrived back from his two weeks in Hawaii and gave us his pitiful excuse for helping the unemployed.  Instead of promoting policies to increase jobs, he held a news conference giving us his second-grade logic on economics.
                With a straight face he told us that extending the unemployment benefits beyond the normal date for the sixth time will increase employment itself. Huh?  Follow this logic – it is classic.  He says this money that unemployed Dorothy (standing beside him) will receive will be spent at the grocery store and at the clothing store and maybe because of these dollars they may hire a new employee at the grocery and clothing establishments.  Why in the world did we not think of this brilliant idea?
                Our president just had an epiphany.  Using this method, let’s double the unemployment compensation to all these jobless persons.  Heck, let’s not stop there; let’s pass out funds to all employed people too.  Just think how much more goods and products will be purchased thereby creating more and more jobs.  With this kind of leadership, Obama convinced Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other Democrats to join the chorus on how to solve unemployment.
                How many years does it take to explain to the electorate that government does not create jobs?  It doesn’t create a new product or a new service.  It simply takes money from some citizens and transfers it to other citizens.  That redistribution of income is unfair enough, but to compound this tragedy our government doesn’t have the money to fulfill the redistribution so it borrows the funds from China and other nations.  Not long ago Obama said a 9 trillion national debt is irresponsible and unpatriotic.  However,
    Page 3 of 3 - 17 trillion under his leadership is okay.
                This theory on redistribution helping our economy and capitalizing on envy is not limited to Paul Krugman or The New York Times.  You can receive the same information by reading both the front page and the opinion section of The Sun Times.
     
    (Jerry Jackson of Heber Springs writes his “conservative viewpoint” column each week)
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