After the last century, it shouldn't even be controversial to assert that the more a nation focuses on income inequality, the more it hurts the poor. After all, there have been whole societies formed around the slogan Marx popularized, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" -- and they've universally been lousy places to be poor. Would you rather be poor in America or Cuba, Vietnam or the old Soviet Union? If the question doesn't answer itself, P.J. O'Rourke's quotation about traveling to the Soviet Union with a gang of Communists should answer it for you, "These were people who believed everything about the Soviet Union was perfect, but they were bringing their own toilet paper." Meanwhile, we live in a world where China has seen tremendous economic growth by embracing some of the capitalistic policies that made America a superpower while the Democrats are embracing some of the policies that led to hundreds of millions of Chinese living in huts on less than a dollar a day.
Getting beyond that, shouldn't there be massive income inequality between someone with rare skills who works 70 hours a week and an unskilled part time worker? Most people say "yes" and even liberals who talk obsessively about income inequality behave as if there should be a difference. Do you see Michael Moore, Barack Obama, or Al Gore refusing to work for more than $20 an hour because they want to show solidarity with poor workers? No, they believe they deserve their money, but those "other people" should have more of their money taken away for the common good. If a CEO should have his pay limited, why shouldn't Michael Moore make $20 an hour? If Barack Obama thinks fast food workers are so vitally important to the economy, why doesn't he reduce his salary to the point where he only makes as much as they do? If Al Gore really believes in fighting for income inequality, why doesn't he refuse to make more than the guy who spends 8 hours a day saying, "Welcome to Wal-Mart?"
In Honor of His 103rd Birthday, Here Are The 20 Best Quotes From The Late, Great Milton Friedman | John Hawkins