Never mind the gap 178

In the market economies, where the rich are richest the poor are least poor.

Socialists make much of “the gap between rich and poor” in order to promote their egalitarian agenda. But the gap doesn’t matter in the least.

It is the politics of envy to claim that even when you have what you want it is never enough as long as someone else has more.

Socialism is the politics of envy. It’s solution to the “problem” of the gap is to keep everybody (except the elite who make the rules) equally poor.

Walter Williams writes at Townhall about the “poor” in America (quoting statistics from a report by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation):

— Forty-three percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage and a porch or patio.

— Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

— Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded; two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

— The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

— Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

— Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

— Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

— Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

Material poverty can be measured relatively or absolutely. An absolute measure would consist of some minimum quantity of goods and services deemed adequate for a baseline level of survival. Achieving that level means that poverty has been eliminated. However, if poverty is defined as, say, the lowest one-fifth of the income distribution, it is impossible to eliminate poverty. Everyone’s income could double, triple and quadruple, but there will always be the lowest one-fifth.

Yesterday’s material poverty is all but gone. In all too many cases, it has been replaced by a more debilitating kind of poverty — behavioral poverty or poverty of the spirit. This kind of poverty refers to conduct and values that prevent the development of healthy families, work ethic and self-sufficiency. The absence of these values virtually guarantees pathological lifestyles that include: drug and alcohol addiction, crime, violence, incarceration, illegitimacy, single-parent households, dependency and erosion of work ethic. Poverty of the spirit is a direct result of the perverse incentives created by some of our efforts to address material poverty.

Walter Williams’s article can be profitably read alongside another one written by JB Williams at Canada Free Press on the global economy. An extract:

Facts about the U.S. economy

The U.S. remains by far the largest economy on earth with a $14.5 Trillion GDP

Americans remain the most productive people on earth with a per capita GDP of $46,400

We have one of the highest per capita personal incomes in the world at $37,500 (80.8% of PGDP)

Our federal budget is approximately 25.2% of GDP

The federal tax rate is 28.2% of GDP – and we are still running red ink well into the future

And our federal debt will 97% of GDP by end of 2010, not counting interest or unfunded Obama promises, an increase of 40% since Obama took office less than two years ago

The good news is – Americans are still very productive and prosperous despite the fact that our federal government is suffocating that private sector productivity to death with excessive spending and increasing government intrusion into the free-market.

The bad news is – Obama is not leading anyone towards the principles and values that made America the most powerful nation on earth. Instead, he is leading America toward utter destruction on the pathway of European economics.

He goes on to compare the US economy with those of Britain, Canada, France and Greece . The statistics are well worth looking at. To start with, the difference in the size of the economies is immense: the US $14.5 trillion to Britain’s $2.2 trillion, Canada’s $1.33 trillion,  France’s $2.66 trillion – and Greece’s $342 billion.

He observes:

In every case, the nations that have already been where Obama & Co. are leading the USA are in far worse shape than the USA. That’s why they all rejected Obama’s call for more debt spending at the G20 Summit – and that’s why they are all drawing back from past Democratic Socialist policies and are all headed into major austerity mode.

He goes on to remind Americans that –

The reason for America’s past economic superiority is no secret to most Americans who violently oppose everything Obama and the District of Corruption is doing to the U.S. economy today.

That reason can be summed up in two words – “individual incentive”.

The harder and smarter free people work in a free-market economy, the more productive and prosperous they become. The more saddled they become with government regulations and taxation, the less productive and prosperous they become.

Posted under Britain, Canada, Commentary, Economics, Europe, France, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 30, 2010

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