Sunday, July 17, 2011
Milton Friedman: Redistribution of Wealth: The Question not should but how much
The debate of whether there's Redistribution of Wealth or not is a bogus debate to put it mildly. Of course there's Redistribution of Wealth and its all over the World, at all levels of government. The debate is usually centered around whether government should highly tax successful wealthy people, in order to take care of the Less Fortunate or not. But the problem with that argument, is thats not the only Redistribution of Wealth anywhere. The Highway System, Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, really any Government Agency or Program is a form or Wealth Redistribution. And what do I mean by that in case you were wondering, the definition of Redistribution of Wealth is to to take money from one person or a group of people to give to other people. This happens everyday without people complaining about it. Government takes money from Tax Payers in New York to fund bridge, road, base in Texas as examples. Government takes money from Tax Payers in Florida in Payroll Taxes to fund Grandpa's Social Security or Medicare in Arizona. Government takes money away from from Joe Jones Construction Worker again in Payroll Taxes. To fund John Smith Auto Mechanic Unemployment Insurance in Detroit. And there more examples then that, actually more examples then I'm and hopefully any sane person would be willing to count. These are all forms of Redistribution of Wealth, so when people say they are against all forms of Redistribution of Wealth. They are implying intentionally or not, that they are against Social Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Medicare, roads, National Defense etc. Perhaps they are not aware of this or they simply don't know any better what they are against.
The question is not whether we'll have Redistribution of Wealth or not, we will always have some form of Wealth Redistribution forever. Now people can argue if we should or not but either way, we will always have it. The real debate is to what degree of Wealth Redistribution we should have and what it should be used for. I'll just use one example and I'll use this example because I care about it a lot and blog about it a lot. Which is the War on Poverty, a war we've losing badly for about ten years now and you argue we've been losing this war for forty five years. And part of that has to do with Wealth Redistribution, socialists say lets "Soak the Rich" so government can take care of Joe and Jane and others who live in poverty. Well a question comes to my mind anyway, should government be taking care of people who don't have the skills and money to take care of them selves. My answer to that to put it simply is no thats not a role for government and before you call me selfish or a scrooge or a jerk or use your own imagination. I'll explain, to take care implies intentional or not an indefinite amount of time that government funded by Tax Payers will take care of the Less Fortunate. That poor people don't need to better them selves and their worries are over. Because Uncle Sam will take care of them, leave it to your favorite uncle. But this is what I would do to help the Less Fortunate, yes the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes and that means a lot more then people who don't make nearly as much. But what I want to do with some of that Tax Revenue, is to empower Low Income people to become Self Sufficient, with education so they can get the skills that they need to get a good job and become independent. Which is a much different concept then "Soaking the Rich" and taking care of the Less Fortunate through government.
Its not about whether we have Wealth Distribution or not, we've always had that and will always have that, the question is to what degree and what we do with it. The fact is to have a strong economy in America and any other major country in the world. Taxes on everyone have to be low enough but not too low. So there's enough incentive for people to go to school, get the skills that they need to earn a good living and be as independent on government for their financial survival as possible. Otherwise people aren't going to want to do these things, because government will end up with most of their money. Making them more dependent on government then they need to be.