Why Wage Inequality Arguments are Ridiculous
Would you rather have almost no liability or have potentially billions of dollars worth liability? Is it harder to perform a task that has little responsibility or one with incredible amounts of responsibility that could possibly shape the world economy? Chances are you’d rather have limited liability and think it’s harder to have a job with a gargantuan amount of responsibility. And that, dear reader, is why wage inequality arguments are ridiculous; as Don Watkins and Yaron Brook would say, equal is unfair.
I’ve already written about why wage and wealth inequality aren’t a problem; the rising tide of capitalism lifts all boats, so it doesn’t really matter if someone makes more than someone else. In fact, that just provides an incentive to work harder.
Unfortunately, liberals keep harking on the idea of wage inequality. They think the fact that a CEO makes more than a burger flipper means capitalism is evil. As if socialism, the ideology that killed tens of millions, is better, but that’s an argument for another day. In any case, their wage inequality arguments are ridiculous.
For one, why does it matter if a CEO makes more than someone else? If the CEO is really being paid “too much,” then it’s the responsibility of investors and board members to step in and cut his pay. Not the job of socialist politicians or union members. His or her wages, like the wages of everyone else in the company, are set by the free market. That is, unless minimum wage laws are enacted that distort the labor market.
Secondly, wage inequality arguments are ridiculous because they don’t take the incentive system that capitalism creates into account. Who would study for years to be a doctor if they could make the same amount just painting pictures? That’s right, nobody.
Instead of focusing on out of context, scary-sounding numbers, we should focus on the facts, all of which clearly show that wage inequality arguments are ridiculous. The facts are that the rising tide of capitalism has made everyone’s lives better, a fact well supported in both Why Liberalism Failed and Capitalism and Freedom, and that capitalism helps the poor. Especially if there is wage inequality. Don’t listen to the socialist politicians that would tell you otherwise, they’re just pandering for votes and trying to buy your vote, as Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that they would.
The thing is, there is no way that in a nation such as America, it will ever be untrue that wage inequality arguments are ridiculous. We are all free to act as we want. We can take what jobs we want and pursue what careers we want to. No one will stop you. If you want to earn more money, better yourself, and be more ambitious. All it takes is hard work, as you can read about in The Millionaire Mind. The people who earn the most are not the most intelligent people. They are hard-workers and risk-takers. That is why wage inequality arguments are ridiculous; they go against the American creed.
And make no mistake, not only is it true that wage inequality arguments are ridiculous, they are also incredibly un-American. Do you think that George Washington sat around complaining about how Lord Randolph made more off the plantation than he made off of Mt. Vernon? No, of course not! Even trying to imagine that is just absurd.
The thing is, Americans used to care far more about freedom and opportunity than anything else. They were quick to anger when someone used government favors to get an advantage over others, as the men who built the transcontinental did, but were never angry simply because some people earned more money.
In fact, becoming one of the people who used the economic opportunity granted to all Americans to become fabulously wealthy was always part of the American Dream. Your average American didn’t want to remain average, but instead wanted to travel the nation and become successful. Those men and women braved the Indians on the plains, the dangers of settling the vast interior, the uncertainty of starting their own farm or homestead, and/or many other dangers when trying to become wealthy.
And, by and large, they did. Not everyone was famously rich, of course. But, compared to their contemporaries in Britain or continental Europe, the average American was remarkably well off and well fed.
That is proof that wage inequality arguments are ridiculous. It is your ability to take advantage of opportunities and your work ethic that matter when it comes to becoming wealthy and living well in America, not how much you make relative to someone else.
The simple fact is, all you have to do to succeed in America is a) don’t have a kid before you are married b) graduate high school and c) make reasonable choices. That’s it! If you do those things, you might not be Jeff Bezos, but you will be well off and live well.
And that’s why wealth and wage inequality arguments are ridiculous. It’s easy to succeed here, especially when compared with the rest of the world. We should be grateful, not complainers.