Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

ECONOMY: Growth hurt by redistribution

Letter by Noel S. Williams, Lakewood on Sep. 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm with 37 Comments »
September 26, 2012 3:42 pm

Rewarding businesses that provide society with the products and services they want is fundamental to economic vibrancy.

Apple Inc., the world’s largest company by market capitalization, recently released the newest version of its iconic Smartphone: iPhone 5. Preorders topped 2 million in the first 24 hours. It will give a massive boost to suppliers and derivative companies; indeed, JPMorgan estimates it could add about 0.5 percent to the nation’s GDP on an annualized basis.

Should public servants determine that Apple’s executives, or any brilliant innovators who create wealth for society, have “made enough money”? Is the government more efficient than free markets in spreading wealth around?

President Obama seems to think so. Here are a few things he’s said: “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” and “You didn’t build that.”

These sentiments thrive in community organizations and academia’s ivory towers, but the troubled history of failed socialist states shows that redistribution slows overall economic growth. Actually, slower growth adversely affects minorities disproportionately, creating even wider inequality. Just look at the current unemployment rates by race.

While government can properly foster equality of opportunity, sanctioning equality of outcomes is folly; it contradicts human nature. That’s why Marx’s infamous slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” has been consigned to the scrapheap of history.


Leave a comment Comments → 37
  1. Of course, Apple is considered a rather Democratic-leaning company…..Al Gore is on their board of directors.

    This letter sure has a whole bunch of quotes with no context. Funny thing, for a quote that has been “consigned to the scrapheap of history” (I’ve read that quote before too!), that Marx quote sure gets quoted a lot by people who keep insisting that we need to be afraid of Marx’s ideas.

  2. Frankenchrist says:

    Steve Jobs was a total liberal.

    Apple was selling at $88.36/share when Obama was inaugerated. It recently hit $703/share. Thanks Obama!!!

  3. Sonofwashington says:

    For crying out loud, can everyone just stipulate that every governmental/economic system is a redistribution system!!

    It’s just a matter of what economic/fiscal/tax/fee policies you impose and whether or not it is targeted to a selected few, the greatest good, or the greatest number. Pick your poison.

  4. aislander says:

    The previous two comments are completely irrelevant. Human beings are complex creatures and it is perfectly possible for one to act conservatively in one sphere and espouse left-leaning beliefs in another.

    The wealth that liberals steal would not exist except for the private economy…

  5. Liberals pay taxes too. Those taxes offset corporate wellfare, wars, ranchers and farmers (who tend vote republican). Who is stealing from whom? Taxes are your dues to a civilized society and in a democracy you do not always get or pay for what you want.

  6. took14theteam says:

    “Apple was selling at $88.36/share when Obama was inaugerated. It recently hit $703/share. Thanks Obama!!!”

    Thanks Obama. LMAO

    Wait, he DID give the Queen of England an iPod on his first visit. Maybe THAT made people suddenly interested in Apple products.


  7. took14theteam says:

    Oh, I forgot to add “Hope and Change” and “We are the ones we have been waiting for”.

  8. aislander says:

    You’re stealing from those who made the money in the first place.

    Yes, pay for services we all use, but don’t take my money to give to someone who didn’t earn it.

    That’s charity, and charity ain’t in the Constitution…

  9. charliebucket says:

    I find it unbelievable that anyone is still using the “You didn’t build that” line. Whoever continues to quote that line out of context and thereby assign meaning to it that doesn’t exist has no credibility whatsoever. none, nada, zip.

    next letter, please.

  10. That’s why Marx’s infamous slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” has been consigned to the scrapheap of history.

    Actually, Craig, you’re forgetting that lefties think of themselves as big recyclers.

    With that in mind, here are a few more 0bama quotes that you missed:

    0bama speaking at Loyola College, 1998:

    “I actually believe in redistribution. At least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody’s got a shot. How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities?”

    “What I think will reengage people in politics is if we’re doing significant, serious policy work around what I will label the ‘working poor’… [W]e are then putting together a potential majority coalition to move those agendas forward” [emphasis added].

    Obama continues:
    “One of the good things about welfare reform, which—the 1996 legislation, I did not entirely agree with and probably would have voted against at the federal level. But… it essentially desegregates the welfare population, which presumably is black and underserved and urban—versus the working poor, which are the other people. Now you just have one batch of folks… That is increasingly a majority population…” [emphasis added].

    “I think that cuts across issues of race and geography, and as a consequence becomes a useful means for coupling policy with politics” [emphasis added].

    “I am actually a strong believer that if we organize policy around issues of economics that diverse populations have in common, we will have the basis… and the coalitions will have been formed” [emphasis added].

    Yep’… just about 47% worth.


  11. took14theteam says:

    Shall we start listing the “out of context” lines the MSM is using against Romney?

    That would mean the MSM has no credibility whatsoever. none, nada, zip.

    But that is a given with the MSM and the leftists.

  12. Then there’s this doozie:

    “In America, we have this strong bias toward individual action. You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams, are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations.”

    Hmmm… “collective action, institutions, and organizations”. Whaddya ‘spose he meant by that?

  13. “You’re stealing from those who made the money in the first place.”

    Stealing is against the law. Taxes aren’t.

  14. natomony says:

    I’ve got an idea. How about those who don’t pay any taxes not be allowed to subscribe to cable television.

    Oops. There goes 80% of faux news watchers.

  15. Wait, this guy gets credit for the work of Steve Jobs?


    Come on FC, be better.

    You know what enabled Apple to dominate? Investors. Those evil rich and banks. Thank a venture capitalist next time you use any piece of technology.

  16. aislander says:

    Of course taxes that go to provide services that can benefit everyone are not stealing, but if you take property from one citizen to give to another that actually IS stealing.

    It’s just not called stealing because the thieves are the ones making the laws…

  17. The problem with the current crop of CEO’s is they are blind to the fact that one needs a job to buy their products.

  18. Sonofwashington says:

    You know what I hate about this stealing thing? I hate how G.W. Bush stole my taxes (and my kids’ taxes and my grandkids’ taxes)to pay for an illegal and unecessary war in Iraq. And I hate how he sent pallet loads of my tax dollars to the warlords in Iraq to bribe their cooperation. And I hate how he stole my tax dollars to build a super monstrosity of an embassy complex in Iraq.

    And now I hate how Mitt Romney and his corportist friends who want to steal my taxpayer dollars to pay off the deficit with interest while they only get ripped off with a much smaller portion (if at all) because they are “very special people”.

  19. aislander says:

    Reread the Constitution, SoW. Defense is a legitimate function of the federal government as is diplomacy; transfer payments are not. If you don’t agree with how one president goes about it, vote someone else in. Not Hillary, though: she voted to authorize the use of force…

    The War on Poverty–which we have lost apparently, since the poverty level is higher now than it was in 1965–has cost more than all the wars we have ever fought…

  20. lamofred says:

    What do banks and capital investment companies do? They redistribute your wealth. They take your money and give it to someone who needs it to stimulate their business, promising you rewards for your investment in the future. That is exactly what government stimulus programs do: they invest your money in America’s future. When the government does it, you decry it as “socialism.” When Bain Capital does it, you call it “the American way of free enterprise.”

  21. Defense is a legitimate function of the federal government

    but you, of all people, should know that our Founders were adamantly opposed to maintaining a standing army.

  22. Very little of the funding for our military can be accurately defined as “defense”.

  23. Big difference Fred is that you can choose to invest in the private sector. Terrible analogy. That is the freedom part you just ignored.

    What is our current gain in GDP vs Spending? Govt is a bad investor.

  24. charlieb – “you didn’t build that” was taken out of context? Obama defended his comment for 2 days so I guess he didn’t think it was “out of context”. After 2 days, he and the media decided it was best just to say it was “out of context” to cover the truth. He was using Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s quote and thought it was just fine.

  25. charliebucket says:

    yes, “you didn’t build that” was taken out of context and assigned meaning by conservatives that it did not contain. anyone who continues to use it to imply Obama says the govt built the business he was referring to is either brainwashed or lying or both.

    regarding took’s MSM comment: I do not get my opinions of Romney, or base them on clips of Romney’s words, from MSM. I form my opinions and get Romney’s words, in full context, from Romney himself. nice try. fail.

  26. rooster_02 says:

    The Dow was at 6400 when Bush left office. What is it now? 13468. What does that mean? Republicans are freaking out and saying anything that makes them feel better. Tha truth is the truth. Something the repubs ignore.

  27. averageJose says:

    The Dow was at 6400 after two years of democrats controlling both houses. How much money has been printed since Bush left office?

  28. Obama defended his comment for 2 days so I guess he didn’t think it was “out of context”.

    So, you didn’t do so well in your logic/rhetoric class did you? Defending a comment for 2 days doesn’t prove that the attacks weren’t taken out of context – it only demonstrates that the Obama campaign team decided that they had to defend themselves from the Echo Chamber.

  29. charliebucket says:

    beerboy, it doesn’t matter what anyone says or what facts are provided or what reasons are given, these peoples’ minds are made up. sound bite in, mind closed.

    there is a mobile home park (oh the irony) on River Road that for weeks after Obama said “you didn’t build that” referring to infrastructure etc…had on their reader board:

    “God helped build this business 48 years ago, not the government!”

    There is no reaching these kind of people.

  30. Sonofwashington says:

    Since the main thread is about “resdistribution of weatlh” it’s worth noting this from yesterday’s column by Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post:

    “the only time in U.S. history when workers substantially benefited from productivity gains was the three decades that followed World War II, when median household income and productivity gains both increased by 102 percent. Not coincidentally, that was also the only period of genuine union power in U.S. history, and the time when the tax code was at its most progressive.

    During the past quarter-century, as progressivity was lessened and unions diminished, all productivity gains have gone to the wealthiest 10 percent, according to research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 1955, at the height of union strength, the wealthiest 10 percent received 33 percent of the nation’s personal income. In 2007, they received 50 percent, Economic Policy Institute data show.”

    Bottom line, our Republican/conservative friends have done a marvelous job of redistributing wealth from the average American to the top 1%.

    BTW, the Walton family now has as much cumulative wealth as the bottom 40% of Americans.

  31. aislander says:

    Meyerson, a VERY left-wing guy, is making the classic progressive/liberal mistake of attributing causation to correlation. The definitive example of that fallacy is in promoting the lie that prosperity is built on high tax rates.

    The years after WWII were particularly good for America because we were the only one of the industrialized nations still standing, with our manufacturing infrastructure able to produce. That is obviously no longer the case, and we need to compete effectively rather than just “be.”

    How does one “redistribute” from those who are said to have little available to redistribute?

  32. post WWII we had the only manufacturing base.

    Since then we have shot ourselves in the foot with regulations, the EPA, and unions. The wealth created had zero to do with unions.

  33. Frankenchrist says:

    The post-WWII United States had a mighty manufacturing base until the GOP with their religious devotion to the dogma of free trade killed most of it with cheap foreign imports. The few remaining jobs were off-shored by vulture capitalists like Mittens.

  34. Sonofwashington says:

    CT8 – The wealth we create is all done by the hands of workers either manufacturing goods or delivering services. Unions had a huge part in ensuring that workers got a fair share of the wealth they produced so that it wasn’t all “redistributed” to the top. As a result, the average American had a living stand that was the envy of the world.

    Now, thanks to Republican/conservative crushing of unions, deregulation, and tax policies, they’ve done one fine job of redistribution wealth to the corportist elite.

    Sure, we could compete by getting rid of the EPA, SEC, and other regulatory bodies, while also unloading the burden of pesky labor laws and emulate FOXCONN, the Taiwan based company that produces iPhones for Apple. Now there is a capitalist utopia for you!

  35. SwordofPerseus says:

    Gee CT8 thanks for that typically idiotic comment from the moon called Stupid in tight orbit around the planet Oblivious in a newly discovered dimension where Einstein’s Theory of relativity gives way; where up is down, no is yes and facts and reality are all warped to fit the Reich Wing narrative of lies and hate.

  36. Since the loss of the American manufacturing base directly corresponds with the deregulations that commenced with Reagan (actually it started earlier, with Carter), it is hard to support the conclusion that even more deregulation will somehow bring the manufacturing sector back. But then, this truthyism is constantly be mouthed by the same folks who – in spite of the horrific jobs creations numbers since the Bush tax cuts – continue to maintain that tax cuts will create jobs.

  37. FOXCONN, the Taiwan based company that produces iPhones for Apple.

    Foxconn riot in China seen as likely to recur
    BEIJING — The factory riot that hit one of world’s largest electronics manufacturers this week in northern China was rooted in growing economic pressure and impatience with poor work conditions among the country’s vast pool of migrant workers, analysts say, adding that if grievances remain unaddressed, such incidents are likely to increase.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0