In a December 4 speech, President Obama declared income "inequality" to be "the defining challenge of our time."
It is time for me to come clean; to own up to a dark secret I have been hiding most of my life. It is embarrassing to admit it, but I suffer from income inequality.
Yes, there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people who make more money than I do and it has affected my life in ways too numerous to recount.
Starting with my first summer job as a bellhop and kitchen worker at a hotel in Maine when I was 14, I kept records of the amount of money I earned. The ledger records that on a really good day I made as much as $8 in tips. The hotel owner paid me a salary of $20 a week, but included a small room in the basement and all the food I could eat. He made more money than I did.
In the early '60s, as a copyboy at NBC News in Washington, my take-home pay was less than $100 a week. Everyone else, including, I suspect, the janitor, made more than I did.
When I finally got on the air as a broadcast journalist, my NBC check stubs were far less than the withholding on David Brinkley's paycheck. I still bear the scars from this income "inequality."
When I was 37 I made $25,000 a year and took public transportation to and from work. Many others, including most of the people I interviewed, made far more money than I did. Some of them had cars and drivers to squire them around Washington.
Was it "fair" that these people were richer than I was? Absolutely, as long as I had the opportunity through education, risk-taking, experience and hard work to eventually make more.
President Obama and some leaders in the Democratic Party appear to want us to accept a false premise: that if I earn more money than you, I "owe" you some of my money to make things "fair." This might be true if the amount of money available were fixed, but it is not. The communist philosophy is similar to this way of thinking: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," is the slogan popularized by Karl Marx. In other words, mutually-shared poverty with just enough to barely sustain everyone, not an avenue out of poverty with hope as the mode of transportation, hard work as the fuel and success as the destination.
Income "inequality" is a part of the greed-envy-entitlement philosophy promoted by liberals who want to addict more people to government and entice them to vote for the party that is effectively buying their loyalty. And now they want to extend the 99-week limit for unemployment benefits, which has the potential to enable those people who are unwilling to look for a job.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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