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Local opinion columnists

Lies they tell about ‘inequality’

By From page A11 | January 31, 2014

If you followed the build-up to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, you would know that one theme kept coming up. Indeed, it’s been a feature of Democratic propaganda for years, but it reaches a crescendo when an election is in sight.

I’m talking about “inequality,” of course. I put the word in quotes because the way Democrats use it is a rhetorical fraud. What they want you to believe is that some Americans become wealthy while others live in poverty because, well, the game is rigged.

What history tells us is, that to the extent that they go to the polls, the lowest-income quartile in America vote heavily for Democrats. The poor are not the only ones who support Democrats. Unions traditionally have given money and votes to left-wing candidates. In return, unions often get the laws they want from politicians who have benefitted from their largesse. What we have heard for years is that union power barely offsets the influence of fat-cat capitalists.

The accusation of inequality has a hidden meaning behind it. It’s not just that the rich live so much better than hourly workers, for example, but that their wealth was accumulated at the expense of the “poor.” The idea, naturally, is to generate class envy, and for years, many in the working class have taken the bait and voted for Democrats. The less-affluent and the impoverished live in crowded urban areas or desolate farming towns with poor schools.

At least, that’s what we’re led to believe. There’s a little bit of truth in that – just enough for many Democrats to hold on to it like a bulldog holds a bone.

What I still find disturbing are the deeply held beliefs by some on the left that the Republicans are pure evil. I plead guilty to reading the opinion pages of The New York Times and what amazes me is that most of the letter writers sound like leftists from the 1930s. Letters in Thursday’s paper accuse, in effect, the Republican party of “deeply rooted racism,” climate change denial and keeping an economic boot on the necks of the working class.

It’s still surprising how many on the left persist in making the claim that the poor are poor because of the wealthy. You know the old saying, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

I was listening to a talk show Monday, before the State of the Union speech, during which the topic was inequality. Among the reasons suggested were single-parent families, bad schools, few role models, availability of drugs and the notion that children are trapped in their economic circumstances. As the hour was almost over, a caller said something that is rarely mentioned when the subject of inequality comes up.

But first, let me ask the question: Did Michael Jordan become probably the best basketball player ever primarily because of opportunity or because of skill, hard work and desire? Of course, it helps if you’re very tall and very agile.

Just as there’s a gradient in baseball between .250 hitters and once-in-a-lifetime hitters like Ted Williams, so there’s a ladder when it comes to IQ. I guess it was somewhere after the turn of the last century that the subject of intelligence differences was pushed off the academic stage and we’re still living with the consequences. Of course, the Fairfield-area high schools have advanced placement classes and I would guess there’s an IQ difference, on average, between students in the AP classes and those in the standard classes.

Even though it’s common knowledge that very smart people have a greater chance of success in business or academics, it’s not talked about very often. But, think about it: Could I have been an offensive lineman for the 49ers if I had only been given the opportunity?

Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected]

Bud Stevenson

Bud Stevenson


Discussion | 7 comments

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  • DanielJanuary 31, 2014 - 3:26 am

    Ask the poor and homeless if any of Obama forced redistribution of your money is trickling down from his bureaucracy instead of to Obamas cronies

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  • rlw895January 31, 2014 - 3:53 am

    "What they want you to believe is that some Americans become wealthy while others live in poverty because, well, the game is rigged." I don't think so. No one wants to change game so that people don't become wealthy. The question is what do you do about widening wealth disparity without wrecking the system that produces that wealth. The answer is a more progressive tax system. See this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsMNovember 25, 2013

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  • my2centsJanuary 31, 2014 - 6:16 am

    "Mr. Nice Guy" is clouded by a lack of personal understanding. Many poor are so disenfranchised they don't vote because they are more worried about more important things, um..like will I eat today, will I be evicted today? I'm so sick of individuals who have no personal understanding of what it means to be a minority in America, to be poor in America, or to deal with serious struggle for survival on a daily basis, taking up their pen to write about the same. If you're going to regularly give this guy a forum, how about ensuring equal time to someone who is representative of real, struggling Americans.

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  • TylerJanuary 31, 2014 - 7:11 am

    You have Mike Kirchubel.

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  • Rich GiddensJanuary 31, 2014 - 6:28 am

    The welfare underclass are the scum of the earth and they breed like rats. The united States is insane to dump trillions into duplicative anti-poverty programs that haven't worked and are little more then modern day slavery. Get off the welfare plantation people! Adopt conservative values. Every time I see people begging (and yes, California seems to be a magnet for them) I can't stop from bellowing ''you should have voted Republican!" at them.

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  • TJ BairdJanuary 31, 2014 - 8:07 am

    It is unlikely that any child in America dreams, "When I grow up, I want to be poor." Most children have dreams of an occupation that is fulfilling and rewarding, a family that is supportive, and a life that is productive. However, somewhere along the line these hopes and dreams are dashed by the reality of life. Why is there a growing economic inequality? There may be a hundred reasons, but I'm certain of these three: 1. We have too many children who do not have the advantages of a stable family - unfortunately we reward (our welfare system) women for producing babies, and trying to raise them in less than stable family environments. 2)We overpay and underachieve in our educational system. I still don't understand why those who are in failing schools systems are not on the doorsteps of their elected representatives demanding some typle voucher system so that their child(ren) can recieve a world class education (remember we among the industralized nations are ranked in the middle or toward the rear of the pack in academic achievement). A great education is one certain way to narrow the "economic gap". 3. A booming economy is good for all. We are 4 years out of the 'worst ecomomic period since the Great Depression," yet we seem to be in the middle job stagnation. We need to change the course in the ecomomy and not hope that staying the course is going to have a better outcome. Four years has only made the gap bigger between the rich and poor, created more poverty and fewer job than are needed. I don't think that any of our want our "neighbors" to not be successful and productive. The great challenge of this generation is certainly income inequality, but that bumper sticker mentality is fueled by "opportunity inequality" - solid families, great educations and plentiful jobs will solve many things that afflict our great nation.

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  • CD BrooksJanuary 31, 2014 - 8:56 am

    As a card-carrying member of the GOP, you feign some disbelief then brush aside the correct presumptions from the left. Too sum this column up, that would be a lie or ign*rance on your part. I don't believe you're ign*rant.

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