The demands of forced economic equality are usually justified by the “growing income gap” between rich and poor, and men and women, as well as various groups of minorities. Such demands are usually followed by a plan to improve on reality by aggressively tampering with market forces — which, as we already know, can only make the existing income gap worse due to the resulting poverty, economic stagnation, and limited upward mobility.
In a free society, an income gap results from the success of some and the failure of others, and is, on the most part, fair. A rational, constructive way to diminish this gap is to increase the number of successful people by ensuring that everyone has the freedom and opportunity to earn an honest income. An irrational, destructive approach is to blame the successful, restrict their growth, and redistribute their property. Its proponents would never call it that, though — they prefer the familiar Orwellian “economic equality and justice,” and sometimes “fairness” for short. Resulting in state-sanctioned inequality, it punishes effort, rewards sloth, fosters corruption, and keeps people down by restricting their freedoms, which is neither just not fair.
That is why the only unfair income gap that deserves to be looked at in today’s U.S. economy is the gap between the market-based, non-union wages and the artificially inflated union wages — a gap that was deliberately created by twisting the arms of businesses, paying off politicians, and lobbying for anti-business regulations.
Observe an absurd charade: union-forced unequal pay for equal work has the blessing of the champions of “fairness” who like to preach equal pay for equal work, while all they really advocate is equal pay for unequal work — otherwise known as the communist principle “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” And these are the same people who can’t shut up about the unfairness of capitalism.
They argue that the gap wouldn’t exist if all workers joined in solidarity and demanded higher wages, benefits, and job guarantees — or, better yet, elected a government that would force the employers to pay up. Let’s test this theory and assume that, as of this morning, all Americans have become equally entitled to union-style wages and benefits. What happens next?
The prices will go up on all essential products. Unionized workers will lose their current advantages. Naturally, the unions will go on strike and use all means in their arsenal to upgrade their members to a “more equal” status. Once they’ve been upgraded, things will return to the old unequal ways — only now the cost of living will be much higher and the people’s savings accounts will be severely depreciated. The country will emerge from the pay hikes poorer than before.
And that will only be the tip of the iceberg. The unreasonably high cost of American products will make them less competitive internationally. To maintain a comfortable standard of living in a shrinking economy, Americans will increasingly rely on the influx of cheap products from countries that hadn’t been touched by the wage cycle. A skyrocketing trade imbalance will undermine America’s standing in the world. A greater number of American businesses will now be outsourcing jobs or hiring illegal migrants in order to stay afloat.
The worsening unemployment, economic recession, and the growing income gap — both domestic and international — as well as the media campaign blaming the crisis on greed, selfishness, and other evils of the free market, will rally more people under the banners of economic equality and redistribution. In the absence of articulate opposition, free enterprise will lose its former attractiveness and Americans will elect a socialist government that will nationalize key industries and begin openly to dismantle the framework of capitalism.
If you find such a dystopia frightening, I have news for you: it is already happening.