At a graduation of a family friend, out of the blue, one in our group began lamenting that progressives tended to live in cities. She proposed that progressives should move to rural areas and “purge [such areas] of those awful conservatives.” Thus spoke the tolerant Left. I was stunned. Given the festive occasion, I kindly reminded her that this is America and we are lucky that we have all kinds of people. I wanted to ask her what we should do with the conservatives. Re-education camps? Death by a continuous loop of Bernie Sanders speeches?
It is unfortunate that such unreasonableness isn’t isolated within the D.C. swamp containment zone.
These pied pipers who offer free college, free food, free medical care, and free money for simply having a pulse freely admit they have no idea how to pay for it. Oh, yes: tax the “rich” and corporations who will pass the tax on to consumers and employees in the form of higher prices and lower wages. And eventually the heretofore untouchable middle class will be taxed directly. Let’s not forget that free food and housing are components of slavery.
These Einsteins are scientists when it comes to global warming and evolution but think it’s medically acceptable to permanently sterilize a 7-year old to avoid appearing like a “transgender” bigot. Science lesson: there are 2 genders. Every human has 23 pairs of chromosomes. The X chromosomes and Y chromosomes determine sex. With rare exceptions of random abnormalities, female is XX and male is XY.
These self-described health care experts try to debunk innovative medical care delivery methods like direct pay and direct primary care subscription practices by claiming these are reserved for the rich. Approximately, $1,500 per year ensures that you and your doctor, make your medical decisions—not the government. These “experts” are the same people who prop up the medical-insurance-government industrial complex at the expense of private physicians, writing laws that favor big-box retail clinics staffed by non-physicians. These swamp creatures equate physicians with “mid-level” practitioners with one fifth the training and education as physicians—but likely demand the chairman of the department when they themselves need medical services.
These compassionate legislators are keen on the government taking over the “social determinants of health,” including loneliness. I anxiously await an army of a government operatives coming to our homes and telling us to be happy or else. Most people just want to control their own lives, even if their life does not fit the government blueprint. If you want your life to be your own, and your body to be your own, then you cannot let the government’s foot in the door.
These forward thinkers decided it was good public policy to ban children’s fathers from the home in order for the family to receive government funds. It became normalized for the federal government to be the daddy.
These elitists castigate the middle class for not wanting homeless people sleeping and defecating in front of their houses for which they worked two jobs, saved, and sacrificed for years. Their remedy is a tent city in a middle-class neighborhood that is nowhere near theirs. These people do not want to admit that the disintegration of the family and the moral decay leading to drug use and detachment from society is the first problem that must be addressed.
And the biggest hobgoblins of them all are the peddlers of faux racism. Americans do not wake up every morning hating on each other. They ponder their family’s safety and keeping a decent job to pay their bills. Something is seriously wrong, indeed demented, when a former First Lady—unchallenged—claimed that white Americans are “still running” from minority communities when they move to another neighborhood. Perhaps they are getting away from homeless encampments (with mostly white people) or poorly run government schools in Democrat-controlled cities. Get over yourself.
Everything is not about race. Get out in the real world and sit at a local bar or café in central Mississippi and watch blacks and whites eating and laughing together. Who is the hatemonger?
America has had a few tragic well-publicized racially motivated incidents. Undaunted, we continue to strive for liberty for all—despite the calculated enmity and scab-picking by rich and famous black people who ran away from minorities to live on a $15 million estate on Martha’s Vineyard (and not in Oak Bluffs) and who expect us to swallow their vitriol-laced baloney.
This insanity is patently sick and sickening. It is about power at any cost and not what can help move America forward.
Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is Immediate Past President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Her opinions are her own. This column originally appeared on pennypress.com. Reprinted with permission.
Last week I presented basic facts and issues around family income inequality in America, a hot political issue in the last decade. Today, let’s turn to the related matter of wealth inequality.
First, the distinction between them. Income refers to the net money or benefits we receive each period of time – typically, a week or month. It includes pay for work; earnings from savings and investments; “transfer payments” such as social security, welfare, food stamps, health care subsidies, etc. The sum of all those items, less the taxes folks pay directly or indirectly, constitutes income.
Wealth is the net value of all we own. The value of our homes, bank and investment accounts, vehicles, personal property, businesses and real estate, etc., less the amounts we owe in mortgages, auto, consumer and student credit, etc. Economists call income a “flow” variable and wealth a “stock” variable.
Two outstanding analysts at Washington’s Cato Institute, Chris Edwards and Ryan Bourne, assisted by David Kemp, produced a 74-page in-depth analysis this month titled, “Exploring Wealth Inequality.” To best fit their findings into this column, below I quote from their summary, which has stated them far beyond my poor power to add or subtract (as Lincoln said at Gettysburg).
“Many political leaders and pundits consider wealth inequality to be a major economic and social problem. They complain about a shift of wealth to the top at everyone else’s expense and about plutocrats dominating policymaking in Washington.
“Is wealth inequality the crisis that some people believe? This study examines six aspects of wealth inequality and discusses the evidence for the claims being made.
“Section 1 describes how wealth inequality has risen in recent years but by less than is often asserted in the media. Indeed, wealth inequality has changed surprisingly little given the large economic changes in recent decades from technology and globalization. Furthermore, most estimates overstate wealth inequality because they do not include the effects of social programs.
“Section 2 argues that wealth inequality data tell us nothing about levels of poverty or prosperity and thus are not useful for guiding public policy. Wealth inequality may reflect innovation in a growing economy that is raising overall living standards, or it may reflect cronyism that causes economic damage.
“Section 3 examines the sources of wealth for the richest Americans. Most of today’s wealthy are business people who built their fortunes by adding to economic growth, and some have created major innovations that benefit all of us. The share of the wealthy who inherited their fortunes has sharply declined in recent decades.
“Section 4 looks at cronyism, which refers to insiders and businesses securing narrow tax, spending, and regulatory advantages. Cronyism is one cause of wealth inequality, and it has likely increased over time as the government has grown.
“Section 5 explains how the growing welfare state has increased wealth inequality. Government programs for retirement, healthcare, and other benefits have reduced the incentives and the ability of non wealthy households to accumulate savings and thus have increased wealth inequality.
“Section 6 examines whether wealth inequality undermines democracy, which is a frequent claim of the political left. Research shows that wealthy people do not have homogeneous views on policy and do not have an outsized ability to get their goals enacted in Washington.
“In sum, wealth inequality has increased modestly but mainly because of general economic growth and entrepreneurs creating innovations that are broadly beneficial. Nonetheless, policymakers should aim to reduce inequality by ending cronyist programs and reducing barriers to wealth-building by moderate-income households.”
The authors title their second section, “Poverty Matters, Not Inequality,” and they show that poverty has greatly decreased domestically and around the world in recent decades – greatly due to the creation of wealth by those at the top.
As I noted last week, recent research shows that when transfer payments and taxes are included, the average yearly income of American families in the lowest income quintile (20 percent) is $50,901 and that of top-quintile families is $194,906. That’s a ratio of 3.8:1, not the erroneous much higher figures often quoted by liberals, progressives, class warriors and mainstream media.
As my friend Joe Morabito notes: “The poor are not poor because the rich are rich.”
In the poker game of American life, the white man is on tilt, bleeding chips like he’s giving them away—because that’s exactly what the white, American man has been doing for 150 years. White, American men started comfortable and stayed comfortable. Some got lazy, and now the chip leader in the poker game of American life senses his chip stack dwindling at the poker table that is American capitalism.
Income inequality grew in 2017 to the largest income gap ever recorded, but for roughly 200 years the white man was the only person at the poker table that is American capitalism. His chips were safe and regularly augmented along with a glass of lemonade by a slave who did the work responsible for the chip stack while his master played solitaire alone.
But when the white man’s first challenger arrived in the 1820s, he felt immediately threatened despite his massive chip stack and perceived mental and physical advantage over his opponent. White men were threatened by women entering the workplace because they’d work for less and advanced machinery made factory jobs easier for them to do. So when a white, American woman approached the poker table with her modest chip stack in hand, the white man went to work, teaching the white woman about American capitalism by using his superior stack of money to take hers. The white man didn’t take the white woman lightly, but he enjoyed her company and gave her enough time and just enough money to learn the game—opportunities not afforded his male opponents. When civil war broke out in the states the white woman’s chip stack grew considerably, and when slavery was abolished, more new players sat at the poker table that is American capitalism.
When a black, American man brought his meager chip stack to the poker table in 1865, the white man might have lost his means of subsidizing his stack, but he knew he could still steal chips from the black man as he did the white woman. And he did and continues to do so, but less often and at an ever-decreasing rate of success.
In 1910, the Mexican Revolution sparked a wave of immigration in the United States, but the first successful labor movement of immigrants in America took place in 1903, when Mexican and Japanese farm workers unionized. It was the first union to win a strike against the giant, California agriculture industry. Then the first wave of Asian immigration to the United States during the California Gold Rush in the 1950s brought more players to the table, each with a larger chip stack than the last. The white man gained another opponent to bully each player who dared sit at the poker table of American capitalism, but that window of opportunity grew shorter with each new player.
When your chip stack is bigger than everyone else’s, you don’t actually have to play poker, or any game for that matter, including the game that is the American economy. You just have to use your money to repeatedly force the poor to decide whether they’re ready to lose everything they have, and they seldom are regardless of the amount. That’s not poker; it’s old-fashioned bullying. The haves lean on the have-nots until they break, at which point the white man borrows them money to buy back into the game, with interest, of course.
The rules of both a poker game and a capitalistic economy cease to govern the gameplay when the majority of wealth is controlled by an extreme minority of players. The game has never been fair and still isn’t, but white, American men are scared anyway. While their chip stack hasn’t decreased significantly, there are more players at the table, and the white man fears there will be more coming for his ill-gotten gains. They can sense the table turning, which is why they’re expressing their anger more boisterously than in the past. They didn’t have much reason to complain while they were buying pots with busted, gutshot straight draws and suited connectors that found no similar suits nor connections amongst the community cards. The white, American man was probably only called and forced to show his cards once every few years in the poker game of American life.
The wealth gap between white and black households in America persists, as does the gap between white and black men. And the wealth gap between white and Hispanic-American men is expected to widen until 2020. But that’s not the case for white and black women. While women have and continue to make less than their male counterparts, white women do not make considerably more than black women raised in similar households. So while white and black women aren’t winning pots as big as the white or black men, they are winning similarly-sized pots relative to each other.
The white man has managed to avoid losing chips to the black man, but the white and black women at the table have charmed the chips right out of the hands of the white man. And he’s enjoyed losing to the women so much the white man has only just realized the growing chip stacks of his other opponents at the table, like the Hispanic- and Asian-Americans. Worse yet, the white and black women at the table are starting to call the white (and brown) on their attempts at getting more than just a handful of chips from the ladies.
Instead of observing the tendencies of his opponents and acting on them, the white man has resorted to bullying the rest of the table with his chip stack, over-betting the pot and forcing his opponents to either risk all their chips or fold. But it’s harder to buy pots with a dwindling chip stack, and the rest of the table has him figured now. The white man doesn’t have the chips to bluff with garbage cards anymore, and while he thinks he’s on a frozen wave of cards you read about, he’s really just scared of all the new action at the table. More players means more cards are out, too, so with every new player at the table, every hand becomes less and less valuable. But that doesn't make immigrants a threat; they can actually pad the chip stack of white, American men, too.
Immigrants work the jobs American men and women won't do, and they pay income taxes for doing them, and spend their income in the American economy, creating more jobs and more wealth for everyone. More players means more action, which means bigger pots and bigger swings of fortune. That worries the white man, as it should, because he's the only one who hasn't been playing poker these last 150 years or so.
White, American men have always been unreasonably angry, but how can you be mad after enjoying an economic advantage built on the backs of slave labor for over 150 years? White, American men tilted the economic playing field so much with slavery and ensuing racial discrimination that their advantage persists to this day. But they sense that advantage dissipating with every immigrant that arrives at the poker table of American capitalism, and that pisses them off, but not rightfully so. Simply being entitled to earning more money isn’t reason enough to be angry about that entitlement decreasing ever so slightly. Being the reason for providing that entitlement against your will, as black Americans were and continue to be (as well as women), is reason enough to be angry, and to be angry for however long the table is tilted in the white man’s favor.