Mona Charen

A Gallup poll released this week shows that almost 60 percent of adults in America believe that wealth is distributed unfairly, with over 50 percent saying that "the rich" should be taxed heavily to accomplish a fair distribution of resources.

This news coincides with reports that the economy may well be starting to sputter and with the nation once again gripped by acts of terrorism. The results of this poll are stunningly ominous for our future as a nation that in any way will resemble what most of us have grown up knowing.

This is how we got there.

First, those who believe in free enterprise and hard work and happened to have control of much government in the first decade of this millennium overplayed their hand. They stretched our nation's capacity to wage war, and refused to keep a watchful eye on Wall Street, banks and the Federal Reserve, while at the same time expanding domestic spending by the federal government. Their actions often enriched big industries with backdoor programs disguised as efforts to supply cheaper drugs to those on Medicare or cellphone access to the indigent.

When everything fell apart in late 2008, a crack in the door was opened for legitimate political candidates and leaders such as Barack Obama to begin uttering softened versions of sharing wealth with a neighbor or whomever.

President Obama meant what he said, and his comments were representative of what had become years of similar thought among many in the fields of public and private education, a world with which he had great familiarity.

This school of thought began in earnest during the boom years of Ronald Reagan, which are now cast in documentaries as years of excess and greed. Throughout the 1990s, this concept of wealth redistribution and "fairness to all" was quietly gathering support among academicians. This, even as a Democratic President Bill Clinton -- who as recently as 2011 was openly questioning a mentality of taxing people in a down economy and never dared to consider the concept of wealth redistribution as a general philosophy -- presided over years of great prosperity.

Just as the Americans were enjoying that prosperity, Alan Greenspan, then head of the Federal Reserve, uttered the famous phrase of "irrational exuberance," and sure enough, by late 2000 the nation's much vaulted "dot-com" economy came tumbling down. A year later, gruesome acts of terror pummeled the nation.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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