Explaining Those “Gaps” and “Disparities” in Income
Thomas Sowell begins a five-part series at Townhall.com by noting the media’s and academia’s obsession with the gaps and disparities in incomes. And who better to explain it so those two elite groups can understand the income disparities that exist than Thomas Sowell, who writes in part:
“Moreover, if this obsession with income disparities is to be something more than mere hand-wringing or gnashing of teeth, obviously the point is that somebody ought to "do something" to change what you don't understand.
“Usually that means that the government -- politicians -- should impose policies based on your ignorance of what is going on. Can you imagine anything more dangerous than allowing politicians to decide how much money each of us can earn?
“Of course, such political control of incomes is usually advocated only to deal with "the rich." But, when income taxes were imposed in the early 20th century, they applied only to "the rich" and they took a very small percentage of their income.
“Once the floodgates are opened to this kind of political power, however, we have seen with the income taxes that they not only spread far beyond "the rich," they took a serious share of even middle class incomes.”
Sowell then writes:
“Today's "progressives" want to expand political control of incomes even more. They call it "social justice" but you could call it Rumpelstiltskin and it would still mean politicians deciding how much money each of us can be allowed to have.”
UPDATE 12/30/06 and 1/1/07: In Part IV, published yesterday, Sowell addresses the question: "Is anyone really worth the millions of dollars a year that some people receive as personal income?" He provides an excellent lesson of why some people are paid so much while others are paid so little.
In Part V, Sowell addresses the issue of why so many people "feel confident to voice strong convictions about things they know little or nothing about -- or, worse yet, are misinformed about." Speficifically, he says:
"One of the hardest things for anyone to be informed about is the value of someone else's productivity. Yet there are cries from all directions that some people are being paid "too much" and others "too little."