MSNBC’s Reverend Al Sharpton cited a New York Time’s pol that says the majority of Americans believe that income inequality is on the rise. According to Reverend Sharpton the poor earn too little and the rich earn too much. The Reverend says income inequality is unfair and immoral and that government must use force to re-distribute income in a way that addresses this social injustice. Income inequality must be replaced with — income equality.
Before we roll out the tanks to impose income equality I would like to ask a few questions.
Income inequality posits that it is not fair that some people earn more money than other people. If this is correct then what is the mathematical formula for achieving income equality? Would we achieve income equality if the highest earners were forced to surrender 80% of their earnings, 90%? 99%? Should CEOs, business owners, rock stars, NFL quarterbacks and television talk-show hosts earnings be capped at a maximum of $1,000 per hour, $100 per hour, $20 per hour? or how about $15 per hour? What equality of outcome formula would achieve the Reverend’s definition of a moral and fair re-distribution of income?
Does income equality have a mathematical low bar for unskilled labor? Would a federally mandated minimum wage of $15 per hour achieve income equality between high and low earners? No? Well, how about $20 per hour? $100 per hour? or maybe $1,000 per hour? How shall a fair distribution of income that insures income equality be determined? What equality of outcome formula would satisfy the Reverend’s scale of a moral and fair re-distribution of income?
Does income inequality mean that a rich person such as the aforementioned Reverend Sharpton is immoral because he has earned more than a relatively poor person such as I? Does income inequality mean that the government should use force to take that which the Reverend has earned and give it to me? If so, how is that moral and fair? What entitles me to take by force that which the good Reverend has earned? What entitles anyone, rich or poor, to take by force that which someone else has earned? How is taking that which does not belong to you moral and fair?
Mark Van Schuyver