Letters to the Editor

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INEQUALITY: Talent, hard work aren’t always rewarded

Letter by Catherine Forte, Lakewood on Jan. 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm with No Comments »
January 9, 2014 10:33 am

Re: “‘Income inequality’ a brilliant turn of phrase” (Kathleen Parker column, 1-8).

Parker criticizes the “rabble rousers” who use the term “income inequality.” She contends that most of us “actually like income inequality . . . because we value merit, talent and hard work, and all people aspire to be commensurately rewarded.”

If only it were that simple. Our current system does not reward people solely or even primarily on the basis of hard work. If it did, those who are holding two jobs just to make ends meet would earn much more. They’re working hard, aren’t they?

Nor does it always reward talent. There are plenty of people with college degrees, for instance, who are out of work or underemployed.

In actuality, our system has evolved to reward some at the expense of others. The redistribution that Parker cites as problematic is actually going in a different direction than the one that concerns her. It is going toward corporations and the wealthy.

Middle- and lower-class wages have stagnated in recent decades, while corporate profits continue to rise and taxes on the wealthiest Americans have dropped. Banks that are “too big to fail” have received government bailouts. Isn’t that redistribution?

For more on this topic, I would refer readers to Hedrick Smith’s book, “Who Stole the American Dream?”

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