Barbarians at the Gate
Tom: earlier this month, you replied to my concerns about “spread the wealth around” with your opinion given as follows:
In my oh so humble opinion, we definitely need a serious
redistribution of wealth. We've seen the number of people in the
middle class decrease while the poor have increased and more and more wealth is concentrated among a few very rich. This is exactly the phenomenon that spelled doom for the Romans. Wealth becomes more and more concentrated in a few hands at the expense of the masses. If McCain wins and more and more people are poor and without health care, etc., violence will increase, public schools will go down the tubes, the American dream will vanish, and hello revolution and civil war.
Is that what rich fat cats who bank roll the McCain lies about Obama want? Come on! Ties to terrorists? He's a Muslim because of his middle name? How stupid are we? If we don't change course soon, this country is headed for a revolution that's going to be ugly for us all.
I want to provide a response. I know it would be better in a dialogue or discourse, however let me at least give a few of my reactions.
Redistribution of wealth equates to socialism. And yes, we have some of that now: we pay a negative income tax to people at the bottom, and we heavily tax those at the top of the income ladder. We have numerous welfare programs. You want more distribution of wealth? Tell me where socialism has worked – one can certainly point to places where capitalism has even overcome communism –
The overall theme of your response appears to be that if we allow more poor people to exist, then we are asking for revolution. “Poor” is such a subjective term, however I would interpret this to mean folks who don’t have (or have considerable trouble with obtaining) the basic needs of food and shelter. Do you think that just giving money to people gets them out of this “poor” category? Only if the money is given forever, throughout their lives. That is a welfare state, and to some degree, we have that in this country now. Have you seen any of the statistics that after the welfare rolls were purged during the Reagan administration that people actually went out and got jobs? That’s how people can stop “being” poor, not by waiting around for their government handouts during what should be their productive years.
I would not agree that increase of poor, and wealth at the top, was what spelled doom for the Romans. I would argue that it was, if you want to put a word on it, apathy – apathy coupled with, or even brought on by, the excesses of the welfare state. Here’s what Wikipedia.com says:
The historian Vegetius theorized, and has recently been supported by the historian Arthur Ferrill, that the
To me, a better example of poor causing a revolution is the example of the French Revolution of 1789, however there the "rich" were indeed the ruling class and the "poor" had no say in their government.
Perhaps you would argue that wealth causes decadence. I can point to numerous cases of wealthy people working hard – some are even Democrats! However, there is a more important point here. Your response appears to imply that people are poor or middle class or rich essentially throughout their lives, and that those are their permanent classes (thus the concern of Republicans that Obama is encouraging this ‘class warfare.’) However, if you think about it, you will see that (for examples) your in-laws the Elders, and the Genonis, and the Ganongs, and the Blackledges all started as “poor” – we were all making about $220 a month, and we all had just about enough to get by on as we had babies and young careers. You state that if McCain were elected, the American dream will vanish – well, we all lived that American Dream. We all worked hard and improved our status a little each year as we rose through the ranks of the military and then into the military-industrial complex, and voila! We became RICH! (at least by Obama’s yardstick). This IS the American Dream!
What we did then can still be done today: moving from poor to rich by applying oneself: working your way through college as Paul did at Montana State, or applying for an appointment to a service academy as Tom and Gary and I did. Giving money to poor people, or furthering the welfare state, is very much in opposition to what the American Dream is all about. Giving people 110% mortgage loans with no money down and no proof of the ability to repay the loan may be the dream of some liberal Democrats but it is not the American Dream. It is a blueprint for the Fall of the America-We-Know-And-Love.
It appears at this juncture that you will get your dream, in that Barack Obama will indeed be the 44th President of our
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