Joseph Horton

I was excited when I learned that the parents of a student I knew produced a product my family used and enjoyed. His response to me was “Yea, they’re getting rich off you.” He was quite confused when I replied “They should be. They make a very good product. If they are not getting rich, they are not good business people.” The student expected me to be envious of his parents’ success rather than thankful for the product that met my family’s needs better than anything else.

In a free society, people get rich by providing goods and services people want at prices they are willing to pay. Yes, there are people like the founders of Solyndra who game the system and get rich from government favors. Still, most people who become rich do so by serving others, whether it be designing new computers or running a carpet installation business.

President Obama has made the reduction of income inequality a key focus of his second term. Our president is promoting the politics of envy. We are told that some people have more than their fair share, and that only the government can make things more fair by taxing and regulating the successful. The losses of the rich are supposed to make the rest of us happier and better off.

Since the president was inaugurated, middle-class incomes have fallen when adjusted for inflation. Five years of the Obama presidency with tens of thousands of new regulations and hundreds of billions of dollars of stimulus spending and tax increases on the wealthy have not helped middle-income families.

This is not surprising. Remember President Clinton’s luxury tax? It was supposed to affect only the rich who bought things like yachts. The people who built yachts lost their jobs when the rich stopped buying luxuries. President Clinton was humble enough to allow the luxury tax to be repealed. Our current president is doubling down on more of what has failed and is prepared to use constitutionally dubious methods, circumventing the legislative branch, to do so.

We do not need new savings accounts created by executive fiat so middle-income people can loan more money to the government. Savings Bonds already exist. We need more wealth creation. Contrary to what many pundits claim, wealth is good. Wealth is fresh fruits and vegetables in January, indoor plumbing, and MRI machines.

Neither will raising the minimum wage improve the lot of those who earn it. People can only be paid what their labor is worth for a particular job in the current economy. Raising the minimum wage will increase automation, eliminating low-level jobs. Claiming otherwise for political support simply takes advantage of people while pretending to help.


Joseph Horton

Dr. Joseph J. Horton is professor of psychology at Grove City College and a researcher on Positive Youth Development with The Center for Vision & Values. Among the courses he teaches are Marriage and Family Assessment and Intervention, Child Development, Foundations of Psychological Science, and Advanced Research Methods. Dr. Horton earned his Ph. D. and master's degrees from The Pennsylvania State University with an emphasis in developmental psychology. He is particularly interested in reasoning in young children, character development in adolescents as well as marriage and the impact of marriage on children. Dr. Horton is part The Center for Research on Positive Youth Development at Grove City College. The research done by the center has been funded by the John Templeton Foundation. He serves as board chair of Pregnancy Services of Western Pennsylvania, a pro-life, Christian pregnancy help center. In his spare time, he enjoys watching college football with his family and taking his daughter to dog shows.