The myth of income inequality

Illustration: David G. Klein

The latest rallying cry from progressive socialists designed to divide and incite anger is the theme of “income inequality.” It is repeated endlessly by President Obama, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other Democrats on Capitol Hill. But what does it really mean?

Perhaps it’s useful to look at the opposite, “income equality.” Do liberal progressives truly believe it is up to them to mandate what every person receives as compensation for their work or efforts? Why stop at income?

How about marathon race equality? Why should there be a winner? How about grade equality? I am sure our children would consent to everyone receiving the same grade. Imagine if we told students that regardless of their hard work in studying and test success, all grades will be equally shared — after all, that’s fair, right?

How many of you would go to a doctor who received his qualifications through “grade equality?”

What about this past weekend during the NFL Wild Card playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts. Early into the second half the Chiefs were leading the Colts 38-10 — now that certainly wasn’t fair! Heck, there was no equality there. Should Commissioner Roger Goodell called the officials and said, “hey fellas, we can’t have this “score inequality.” We need to enact the policy of shared touchdowns to support our policy of score equality. Change the scoreboard to reflect a new score of 28-20 by redistributing 10 points from the Chiefs to the Colts.”

Imagine the response from Chiefs fans! But more importantly, would the Colts play harder or just rely on the officials to “ensure equality?” Thank goodness that’s not what happened — but what did happen on Saturday is a reflection on who we are as Americans. The Colts, led by QB Andrew Luck, didn’t quit, they played harder, the coaches made the adjustments — and lo and behold the Colts came back and won 45-44. All the Colts needed was a level playing field: equality of opportunity. That is the lesson for progressive socialists, President Obama and his acolytes.

America is about fairness of opportunity, not an equality of outcomes. We all have a fair shot at success. You can’t punish those who work hard and employ government mandates or coercion to rig the game for a specific group.

How’s it working in North Korea, Cuba, Soviet Union, and every other place where a Marxist/socialist governing philosophy has been implemented?

Thomas Jefferson stated, “A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

Famed NFL coach Vince Lombardi said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

However, progressives like Obama and DeBlasio, agree with Karl Marx, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” That philosophy is as anti-American as they come which begs the question, why would an American president hold this belief?

Progressive socialists want to redistribute the hard earnings of Americans in order to make a country of average citizens, C students all.

Just look at the Communist Manifesto and the goal of a “progressive tax system” which increasingly punishes individual productivity. We started with a top marginal tax rate in 1913 of 7 percent which is 39.6 percent today, and the liberal progressives still believe it’s not enough. Clearly they’re ok with tax inequality.

Progressives believe it’s within their power to determine an individual’s goals and objectives – but of course they wouldn’t apply it to themselves. If they really want to apply “income inequality” why not start with their friends in the entertainment industry? But leave us hard working folks alone.

It’s very disconcerting for me to see how many Republicans go on offense when they hear these insulting words “income inequality.” Income inequality is a myth, a dangerous concept, a tool for political divisiveness, and yet we have elected charlatans who truly believe “We the People” want them, and their cronies, to determine the outcomes of our lives.

This is the first full week of the New Year. Send President Obama an email to remind him who is the father of the concept of income inequality and that we don’t believe in equality of outcomes in America.


  1. Colonel West, I have four words for you and the idea of making everyone winners and no losers: “War Eagle!” and “Go Midshipmen!”

    • long sea voyages ere the reason for don’t as don’t tell which now gave more meaning to the descripton of naval types anchor crankors, which if the present cic were to actually serve it would be in that capacity or as a submariner going deep and he wouldnt be on the football team

      • And yet for twelve years in a row, those “anchor crankers” have had their wicked way with the Black Knights. This is about football, Bub. Don’t bring your sexuality into it.

      • no bra pal sport pal amigo its about equality inequality u chose to attempt to make it about football and when I served don’t ask don’t tell ever have to figure in. nor did I have to learn basic military procedures that I learned to help save my life and my fellow warriors listening to or marching to show tunes and learn close order hand to hand combat of scratching eyes and pulling hair

  2. The only way to reach income equality is for the government to take all the money and distribute it to the masses in equal mounts, but wait. That was tried and failed. Those that do the distribution become the leadership and they become wealthy while the rest become slaves to them.

  3. Colonel West is an economist today. I wonder how player unions would feel about his false equivalencies. Why would players become millionaires off the risk-taking and hard work of all those brave team owners. Football analogies don’t always work.

    • yea ijgits like to dez Bryant and other punkdom players could never make their millions running a nfl business equal playingfield right jerry ones Daniel Snyder running post routes catchin a ball for a first down then acting like a damn idiot or scoring a td that makes the score 38 to 6 its the 4th qtr 1 min to go and its your 6 pts.. that just doesn’t have the same results even if you throw in a cpl of yo mfer’s thump ur chest then flex ur bicepts

  4. A lot of the income inequality issue are related to patent and copyright protections. 200 years ago, it took 20 years (the length of a patent) to penetrate most of the marketplace. Today, this takes weeks or months, then the rest is gravy. It’s a protection racket with the government that allows for the accumulation of huge amounts of wealth in the hands of a few.

    To change this, one might offer reduced tax rates to companies that accepted reduced patent or copyright terms. Cut the patent time in half, get a 50% tax break. Some industries, like tech, might see a huge boom and spread of wealth across the economic spectrum as companies might choose to have a 5 year patent in this rapidly changing industry. New companies, with access to unpatented goods, will spring up taking advantage of technology to develop new products.

  5. Actually, calls for reducing income inequality have a lot to do with returning our nation to one of equal opportunity. It’s disengenuous of Mr. west to rant against a claim for equal outcome, when such was never made.

    • JeremyG, where do you get that from this article? Mr. West is simply stating income equality is a progressive means to an end. He does not suggest an issue with opportunity equality. Read it again, and if you still don’t understand, maybe you should find another site that fulfills your needs.

      • One need simply reed the article. When West states such frivolous crap as Liberals desire to choose people’s goals and determine what compensation they should receive–all in opposition to “fairness of opportunity”–he’s simply conjuring phantoms with which to rail against, as opposed to first recognizing the source from which the calls originate, which is a desire for equality of opportunity.

        You yourself might want to read the article before choosing to be a jerk to others online, or at least admit to yourself that your panties bunch up whenever anyone dare criticize West’s writings and so you can’t quite think straight.

    • Not
      Necessarily. Entrepreneurial opportunity
      is burdened by regulation to the point that the barriers to starting a business
      are the greatest in our history. Income
      equality won’t correct this without regulation equality. Corporate opportunity already exists for one to
      work their way up the corporate ladder and is only limited by the individual’s
      desire to achieve. Income inequality happens
      to be the source of that desire. The opportunity
      you are referring to is in that in the poorest precincts. Counter to your argument, opportunity exists
      there too. Those in that predicament are
      able to go to school, learn, and take advantage of opportunities to better
      themselves. However, the barriers
      present here come from within – peer pressure.
      Can the government regulate that?
      Simply put, government at all levels (federal, state, and local) fit
      into the equation and have a greater impact on fairness of opportunity than
      income inequality. Government can’t have
      it both ways, regulating opportunity and income equality. Sure you can mandate higher wages but does
      that result in a greater desire to achieve?

      • Yeah But…
        In 1979 the head-of-household sole breadwinner was able to buy a car, buy a house, keep his wife at home to raise the 2.3 kids and send those kids through four years of college. You know that is not possible today. Is that his fault? Or has he been poorly compensated?
        In that same time period, the net increase in wealth of the top 3% of income earners [sole and corporate] went up more than 200%.
        The heads of businesses/corporations are shackled to what their stock earns in the market. Bad year[s]? Fire the CEO. So, their bottom lines have flourished— at the expense of reduced salaries, commissions and wages to those who ran the machine that earned the profit.
        That needs to get addressed, not by the de Blasios of this world, but by Republicans of a stripe of a different color than the one that runs down the middle of Karl Rove’s back.

      • I
        think people confuse what exactly equal opportunity and income inequality
        really mean. In the same time period you
        describe, my father’s income went up 200% – he wasn’t a CEO. The minimum wage has also gone up roughly
        150% in the same period you define. My income went up 100% between 1990-2005. It is unreasonable, and down-right unAmerican
        IMO, to suggest that the line worker or fast food worker should make the same amount
        as the CEO (income equality in its severest form). That would ultimately destroy the desire to
        succeed in the work force. Equal
        opportunity does exist, and has always existed in the corporate structure – the
        story of the entry level worker rising up through the ranks to become CEO is
        the story of America. Government intervention
        and meddling on behalf of special interests on either side of the aisle is to
        blame for arresting that equal opportunity.
        And, now government wants to correct their error by meddling more with
        income equality. That is not the Republicans’
        fault alone. The Democrats also are at
        fault, perhaps with a greater share of the blame. It’s not that guy’s fault that he hasn’t kept
        up with the CEO’s, it’s a matter of simple math and the government’s ill-conceived

      • You miss or avoid the point. Your incomes went up but your purchasing power went down. Money has become worth less. The oligopoly [look it up] has compensated for that by increasing their “take”, Congress and it Regulators have complied by not prosecuting them for crimes [See Chase Settlement stories today], permitting tax loopholes, etc. etc.
        Net-net-net, at the ‘grunt’ level you have both spouses working full time jobs, the college-grad-kids are up to their butts in debt upon graduation and the core family is a shambles because, out of economic necessity, both parents work instead of parent. They are exhausted at the end of the day, month, quarter and year. That doesn’t happen at the top, does it.

  6. Income equality is absurd. First, monetary gains/ success can be and is a motivating factor for many to improve their current situation. Why did I study for years to become a MD, just to have the same salary as the grocery cashier? Equal opportunity yes. Equal income no.

    • Did you have equal opportunity to enter medical school? Were racial quota’s still being used? I know at least 10 people, all white, rejected with higher scores due to racial quotas. Do you wish to address THAT “equal opportunity” issue?

  7. If we want to keep up with the dumb sport analogy theme. Why do we need weight class in boxing let’s get rid of that it’s marxist. Why would woman have to compete each-other in any sports who are those sports league to decide who’s eligible. Let man play women in tennis, track or whatever. And we need a wheelchair team in the NBA maybe coach Lombardi can guide them to a championship.

    • vlad 99 so that’s how we get around not just the gays in sports issue but the trans genders such as rene Richards it tennis player

  8. this is ridiculous article ridiculous, to downplay people’s livelihood is perverse. private corporations have sold out our country and don’t want to pay their works. welcome to socialist America. thanks Republicans.

  9. Example of slanted writing:

    “We started with a top marginal tax rate in 1913 of 7 percent which is 39.6 percent today,”

    Why not mention 1916 when it was 15% or 1917 when it was 67%? Even 1950 when it was 91%?

    These are facts with no attempt to incite the reader.

  10. stop paying any one for their work give everyone a card that reflects a balanced income for every one that is used to pay for items and services.
    Wonder how that would work out?

    • Yep… Forget teaching and/or learning to fish, just hang out for the free fish. Seems I recall something short and succinct like that was written up a while ago — wonder why it persists…?

      Collectivist projects are how a lot of school assignments are done these days. One person in the group usually ends up doing all of the work, the rest of the group sits on their butts and gets the busybody’s grade. Then the sloths go to college and find out they don’t know squat.

      So they fall back on their ‘successful’ secular public school training of doing as little as possible and having someone else do all the work… After mumbling about how their poverty is the busybody’s fault, just be sure to vote for Ocrats. The more free stuff the gubermint gives you, the more free stuff you can expect in the future… Debt and deficits only matter to those with money… and that ain’t you.

  11. Obama and every democrat who supports him and his Communist agenda, are flat-out “TRAITORS” to America. They are progressive RED COMMUNISTS, the natural enemy of this country, our constitution, our laws, our history, capitolism, demoracy, and freedom! Every communist in this country should be on a “watch list” by the F.B.I. as national threats and enemies of freedom. Instead, we now have a communist as our president, another one as the mayor of New York City! And, I am sure, numerous other democrat political leaders who have not yet admitted their real loyalities are as Marxists. The “commies” in this country are “stealth americans”, pretending, waving the american flag, hiding behind the protection given them in their political office, the office they “lied and swore false oath to obtain”. A reckoning is comming to these “trojan horse infultrators, spies, and traitors”. Justice should dictate that upon conviction the penalties include; confiscation of all their wealth and property, prison, stripping them of their U.S. citizenship, deportation to a communist country, or death. Maybe then, we could get this nation back on the path of individual freedoms, justice, and common sense.

    • It’s terribly ironic that you used the words “common sense” at the end of that screed.

      You misuse the word Communist and seem to have no idea what the word actually means. There are Communists in China who make it there pastime to laugh at people in America that call other Americans Communists.

      You assume the worst of your fellow Americans, rather than get to know them.

      You can do better.

  12. When the first colonies were established here in this country they tried the same thing they want now: a version of communism or all for one and one for all — unless the new core education has changed these facts as well — and it didn’t work. Then, as now, some worked and some took. Then the ones who worked got tired of doing it all. Everyone nearly starved. Remember about being doomed to repeat history … if you don’t pay attention to it … Some are going to nit pick my words, but you can’t argue facts. Well, since schools and government are literally re-writing history, maybe you can.

  13. IF ONE WORKS HARDER BY GOING ONTO SCHOOL, COLLEGE, OR EVEN TO LEARN A TRADE, THEY DESERVE A HIGHER PAY! If someone makes bad decisions in life, like dropping out of high school, or refusing to put in the time, money, and work, of going onto to school, then why should they make as much income as someone that planned their life out, went onto school, and had to make sacrifices in order in finish their education. I had to do without in order to work my way through college, and work while in college, and it was hard, I feel I deserve a higher pay for having done so… I also have more knowledge than those that did not, and am a more valuable employee do to that fact.
    Carrie Geren Scoggins Political Newsletter

    • What an interesting argument. Do all people in your world have the time and money to go to school? Do they lack dependents to care for?

      Surely there are those who lack the will, even when they have the means, and yes, I agree with you that those who work hard ought to get paid more; after all, they have the skills and, one hopes, the knowledge.

      But there will always be those who have the will, but not the means. What of them?

      • Interesting point Jeremy. I think the ideas brought out is that kids need to take advantage of the years in high school, while living at home and having the State pay, and apply themselves. So the least kids can do is graduate from High School.

  14. Where is my post?
    I said, if someone works harder by finishing school, or going onto to a trade school, that they deserve a higher pay, as they worked harder, they are a more valuable employee, and they should receive a higher pay. People that dropped out of high school, or did not want to put in the work to go onto college or trade school, know they are going to make less. We do have a class system in the US, but one can work their way to the top in it! I had to work all through college, pay for my tuition, and I feel I deserve a higher pay due to that, as well as the fact that it makes me a more valuable employee due to the knowledge gained in doing so.
    Carrie Geren Scoggins Political Newsletter


    I said, if someone works harder by finishing school, or going onto to a trade school, that they deserve a higher pay, as they worked harder, they are a more valuable employee, and they should receive a higher pay. People that dropped out of high school, or did not want to put in the work to go onto college or trade school, know they are going to make less. We do have a class system in the US, but one can work their way to the top in it! I had to work all through college, pay for my tuition, and I feel I deserve a higher pay due to that, as well as the fact that it makes me a more valuable employee due to the knowledge gained in doing so.

    Carrie Geren Scoggins Political Newsletter

  16. Two points:

    “income inequality” is more political correct speak which is a means for the progressives to infringe on our liberties of individual choice and entrepreneurialshp. Why try to succeed if I am forced to finance 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 of those who have been mandated to be dependent.

    Fairness of opportunity is harder to deliver than equality of outcome because the former relies on the individual’s drive for success while the latter strips the former of a portion of that success. Therefore, a promise of equal outcome is placation and subjugation of those predisposed to the vice of sloth.

  17. Perhaps we need equality of mental ability and genetic makeup, We want government to provide…when everyone is the same clone of each other ( fully equal ) there will be no need for laws or even social infrastructure…we’ll think alike. How’s that for progress?

  18. With the respect of one grunt for another, Colonel, I believe you are on the wrong side of this issue.
    The problem of income inequality in this country that has not been addressed. A married head of household of 2.8 kids used to be able to buy a car, pay a mortgage and put those kids through college on his salary. That stopped around 1979. Today, we have both spouses working, which has a negative affect on how the children are raised. And, the children who get to college are saddled with enormous debt upon graduation to pay for their education, not the bailouts for the white collar criminals on Wall Street and inside the Beltway [SEC].
    That head of household’s disposable income has stagnated, not gone up, while the top one percent of earners in this country have seen their net wealth increase by more than 200% over that same post-1979 period. There’s something wrong, real wrong, with that.
    De Blasio and the rest are grabbing this issue politically, but their solutions is more give-away. They are simply the boys with ‘fresh legs’ to run the ball this quarter.
    The solution is a robust economy that, this time, lets the profit find its way to the taxpayer in the form of higher salaries, commissions and wages.
    Re-visit some of the writings and speeches of Jack Kemp and WALT Romney.
    No one wants the government “equalizing” income. But, the money that gets made from the brains and the sweat of the American People needs to end up in their pockets, not in the offshore accounts and tax breaks for the big boys in the air conditioning, sir.

    • Most companies do not have profits from a legitimate business in offshore accounts. When I see the term “tax breaks for the rich” (or big boys), it makes me think the government owns all the money to begin with and it will decide who gets to keep how much of what they earn. Actually it’s the same for the individual who actually works.
      If we stop and think of the money companies have to spend for CPA’s, tax experts, tax lawyers, epa and osha regulations the government piles on – just to open the doors everyday – depending on the size of the company, that’s a lot of jobs or raises for the people already working there. Government is the biggest reason more people are not making more money. I know, I’ve been self employed.
      And for some who do keep money out of US, government is the reason. We are not a very business friendly country right now.
      Just my thoughts.

      • It’s like my liberal friends keep telling me that insurance companies make huge profits of health care. Their margins are about 3% which is way down the line from other businesses.

        I just shut the doors to my business 12/31/2013. I no longer wish to be a slave to and intrusive, over-bearing and corrupt government. 122 jobs are gone now. Obamacare, and it’s hidden taxes, was the last straw.

        What we need to fight is government spending – then borrowing, and the collusion that exists between the Federal Reserve and out government. It’s the largest Ponzi scheme in existence today and it’s robbing this country of it’s economy, manufacturing jobs, and buy power of all Americans. The larger the federal government, the smaller the economy… Argentina and Venezuela found that out.

    • Sorry – but if you work hard, and invest you to can be in the top. But, here’s the deal. I just shut the doors to my business (122 jobs gone) because of government regulations and taxation. They didn’t start the business, they didn’t help me keep it going in the beginning. They didn’t work 80 hours a week to keep it going and they didn’t worry about how I was going to make payroll when I took a second out on my home.

      They, along with people like you, have only hurt the middle class and poor by spending more than they take in and the borrowing from the Federal Reserve so the shareholders of the FED make huge profits.

      So my questions back to you is when is enough enough? I’ve certain had enough and have purchased a modest home outside of this country because they way it’s going, I won’t have any savings left, nor will I have any good medical left after Obama and the Democrats (socialists) are finished robbing me blind to pay for drug dealers, and all the other ghetto rats they have created via their social engineering.

      • “They [the government], along with people like you”, Woooo! Ouch!

        I, you’re telling me, have “hurt the middle class and poor by spending more than they [?] take in”, etc. etc.

        You don’t know who you’re talking to.

        I, too, have invested— all my Vietnam foxhole pay— and I lost my a**. I have worked 80 hours a week for others , and in my own businesses, and succeeded. I landed in LA with a suitcase and $350.00 at age 18 and have real estate here and in another country. This, after three expensive divorces in a State where to be a male in divorce court is to be Black in a Mississippi court in the ’50s.

        So, let’s stick to the points instead of you pointing sticks, OK?

        The oligarchy that loosely controls the commerce of this country has bled the Middle Class, almost to the point of revolt. Look no further than the honey-sweet deal Chase just got from the Federal Government over the Madoff scam.

        With the sole exception of Bernie himself, no executive at Chase and no executives at SEC got jail time, and there are many who are indictable. Chase and SEC people are very busy felating each other as they travel the path from Regulator to Bank Executive to golden Parachute. That is corporate welfare and it, like our current cancerous and inept welfare system, is on the way bringing this country down. It has spawned the ghetto rats, as readily it has spawned Wall Street rats.

        You are right that the shareholders are blackmailing CEOs into producing profit at all costs. This is where we might differ. I feel that those profits ought to, more generously, find there ways into salaries, commissions and wages for those below the level of the board room. That’s all.
        Stick around and fight.

      • I exactly know what I’m talking about. I put myself through school after being raised on a reservation in North Dakota. I started a business. I got a Masters in Economics.

        I’m sure there is corporate welfare, but my business was taxes at the full tax rate, which is the second highest in the world today. I was also taxed a “rich” for personal income.

        We have definitely spawned a society of people believing that because they were born they somehow deserve what I work hard for.

        If you want to blame – blame the collusion between the Federal Government and the Federal Reserve Banking system. That’s the biggest Ponzi scheme every implemented and until recently no one actually knew how money was “printed”.

        As for corporations – they are not inherently bad, their leaders are and it’s a good ole’ boy network for bribery and corruption. GE is a prime example of that. BUT we can do something about that – just don’t buy their products until they adhere to honestly and integrity. There are still many good business owners and corporate execs left who have civic minded.

        The FED however is a corrupt and thieving entity. YouTube has a video on how the FED works that every single American should see and then write the congressional representatives and DEMAND an audit and full disclosure of where over $2 Trillion went during the financial collapse.

        Stick around and fight? Did that last election and the election before. Worked hard to get Ted Cruz and Bill Flores elected against odds I might add. Now the media is calling them “terrorist”, “nut jobs” and other insulting names. so stick around? I might till next election but if a few people aren’t gone from congress and the White House, I’m out of here because it going to go down fast when the bill for our borrowing can no longer by paid.

        I’m going to work hard to get rid of a few – McCain, McConnel, Boener, Pelosi, Waters, Boxster, Reid, and others who present themselves, etc. They are all corrupt and should have been gone years ago.

      • You just put McCain in the same pile with Reid and Pelosi, and you lost me right there. You’re angry which is OK but you’re striking out blindly, and I don’t have the time.


      • I’m not angry. I’m sick of corrupt politicians that feather their own beds. Do you really think McCain is good? Why?

    • BTW where are all these “off shore” accounts? GE? they have great Democratic support, in fact doesn’t their CEO or ex-CEO sit on one of Obama’s committees that we didn’t vote for and are costing us a fortune?

  19. have to start somewhere so begin with all the folks pushing this and take all there money and homes cars and start dividing it to the poor see how long Al Gore will last before bitching about losing half of his million dollar homes, or all the actors who support this. It would be a dead topic in about two hours

  20. Great article.

    Not to mention that a system of forced “equality” is fundamentally hypocritical because it requires an elite class to do the forcing. That’s when you get tyrannies like the USSR, N. Korea, Cuba, etc.


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