In Part One I agreed with Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VA) that income inequality was a problem but disagreed with him for not differentiating its moral from its immoral causes.
In Part Two I shared how consumer choice made Taylor Swift wealthy and how each transaction left individuals better off than they were before. Each transaction was a “win-win”.
In this post I address the inequality created by poor decisions. While income inequality created by government favoritism is unjust there is nothing immoral about allowing individuals the freedom to make their own decisions. The freedom to make a good decision must necessarily be accompanied by the freedom to make poor one. Our growth in learning and character are stunted when we are deprived of the consequences of our decisions.
Sometimes our economic problems are the result of our own decisions and we are left with no one to blame but ourselves. Studies are clear, our level of education will impact our earning potential. If I drop out of high school I only have myself to blame. My decision to not attend or finish college is a personal choice and in most cases will impact my future earnings.
Staying married has an impact on wealth accumulation. Married households have higher earnings than divorced ones. Some individuals develop the character to work hard and exercise delayed gratification while others do not. Each of us have different investing and saving habits. Some choose to spend everything they make while others choose to live on less than their means. Our decisions will always have consequences. Consequences are an important part of our education. Individuals desiring to self-govern need these consequences to learn from and not be deprived or protected from them. There is no such thing as limited government without self-government. External and internal government are directly related to each other and exist in inverse proportion.
We note here that in most income inequality studies age is often left out. Shouldn’t individuals in their 60s have more wealth than individuals in their 40s? The same goes for incomes. All things being equal one with forty years of experience should be earning a higher income than one with twenty years of experience. A 40 year old man has ten times the experience as a 20 year old. Unfortunately this is seldom taken into account.
It should be noted the while each of us are created equal and should be treated equally under the law we were not created economically equal. We are not equal in talent. Taylor Swift and Lebron James will always have skills I can never acquire. Our personality traits are a defining characteristic of our humanity and as such are never to be subjected to the jurisdiction of government.
All said, if workers were stuck in the income quintile in which they began and remained for the course of their career we would have reason for outrage but that doesn’t appear to be the case. See a 2005 Federal Reserve study. 60 percent of Americans move up or down one full income “quintile” each decade. Only a quarter of the middle class stays in the middle class over a ten-year period. Nearly half of all people in the top quintile “fall out” of the top during a decade and are replaced by men and women from the lower quintiles.
Next: Part Four – Income Inequality and Government
Eric Andersen is a member of the Central Committee of the San Diego County Republican Party and is the Co-Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus of San Diego County and im2moro.com. He is a former Rock Church Citizen of the Year.