Income Inequality Some More
Much of the talk we hear about Income Inequality focuses on the percentage of the wealthy (High Earners / Producers / Motivated) as it exists within the economy and how much higher that percentage is getting. Then we talk of the not so wealthy (Unemployed / Low Earners / Unskilled / Unmotivated) as they exist in the economy and how much smaller their contribution is becoming.
We never discuss how the high earners got to be high earner and how the low earners got to be low earners. Some of the high earners are unbelievably lucky, they have literally hit the lottery, or won a jackpot on a slot machine. Some of them are lucky because when they were a child and were auditioning for a commercial for bubble gum they were selected and they are now a movie star making millions on every bad movie they star in. Some are athletes who got lucky enough to be placed on championship teams. Possibly other than the lottery and slot machine winners, maybe some hard work and talent helps them make so much money.
Now let’s talk about bankers and CEOs, how do they get to be in position to make all that money that the low earners can’t earn. Alost all of them have a college degree, maybe more than one college degree. They usually have worked in a succession of jobs that provided a balance of experience and achievement. They positioned themselves to be recognized as having the ability to lead an organization and make money. They built a pedigree of education, hard work, experience and success.
When we are in grammar school we’re all about even. Some of us get to go to better grammar schools than others, but we have almost equal chance to learn the basics. After that we have the chance to get into high school and again we all seem to have about equal opportunity, but first we must choose to finish High School. After High School we get to make some choices. College is easier to get into for some, and much easier to finance for some. Everyone has the opportunity to learn and go to college, but it’s easier to make happen for some than for others.
The high earners maximize these opportunities, the low earners do not. No matter how much I earn, there is still something left for you to earn. My success does NOT cause your lack of success. My success may open doors and provide opportunities for your success, but it cannot prevent your success. If we are competitors my success may cause the failure of your organization, but that’s part of the free market economy. Competition is a motivator to enhance performance. A mom and pop grocery store can’t compete with a Walmart, and shouldn’t try. Move to where a mom and pop grocery store is needed or change businesses. This is why we don’t make buggy whips anymore. They aren’t needed, neither are the mom and pop stores. Success requires that you have a marketable product or service.
In today’s economy where does someone go to earn a living with few skills and limited ambition? Manufacturing used to be a staple employer for those who chose to make a living through pure labor. (It may have been a deliberate choice or a choice by default due to a failure to earn a degree or acquire any marketable skills). Most of those manufacturing opportunities don’t exist anymore. Well, they do exist, but only in third world markets where the cheapest labor can be found.
Why pay the price for unskilled labor in this country when unskilled labor in the third world is so much cheaper. Could this be an unexpected consequence of the minimum wage requirements? Legislators attempt to buy votes by forcing employers to artificially inflate the wages for unskilled labor. The end result of that is that the cost of unskilled labor is no longer competitive in this country so it is moved to the third world where it is competitive.
Income inequality is the difference between what an education, experience and hard work offers and what a cavalier attitude toward personal responsibility provides.
Your success will not prevent me from also being successful. Your success will provide an inspiration for me and others. Your success will also provide an opportunity to create a successful opportunity in some way.
Education, experience and hard work will always lead to success. That’s nothing to be ashamed of or to apologize for.