I want to discuss the issue that Bernie Sanders says is “the great moral issue of our time, the great economic issue of our time, and the great political issue of our time.” It is the problem of wealth and income inequality. This topic has been an effective rallying cry for him throughout his presidential campaign, pointing out that, “There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent… or when 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash has gone to the top one percent.”
I don’t often say this, but Bernie Sanders is absolutely right. This is an important issue morally, politically, and economically. This is a problem that needs solving and most candidates running for president have not told us the real causes or have offered a real solution. The Democrats place the blame on capitalism run wild or the greed of the capitalists, and when asked about the causes, The Republicans answer every income inequality question the same way they answer every climate change question, “it might be real, it might be a problem, but I’m probably not going to do a whole lot about it.” At least Bernie Sanders and the Democrats offer an explanation and a solution, they are wrong, but at least they are talking about it.
Bernie Sander’s solution to the problem is the same thing that caused the problem in the first place: big government with power to interfere in the free market. His solution, in short, is to pass a series of laws to magically legislate the poor out of poverty and to create equality. He will force corporations and wealthy people to stay in America regardless of how high their taxes are (I’m not sure how, but that’s what he promises). Last but not least, he will also give us tons of “free” stuff like healthcare and college. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and this is no different.
Like I said above, the real cause of wealth and income inequality is big government with the power to interfere in the market. Big government and big corporations work together to suppress competition and to increase profits. The one is not the enemy of the other as is often portrayed by both parties, they are in fact friends. They are in cahoots together against the American people and most of our politicians are too afraid to change the status quo (probably because they’re part of it). Like P.J. O’Rourke says “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation the first thing to be bought and sold are legislators.”
Is it any wonder we see people from government agencies move to the private sector to cushy jobs at big corporations in the industry that they “regulated”? Is it because they rigged the system to benefit themselves and their friends, or is it just a coincidence? The fact is we would not have billions spent on lobbying if there were not billions more to be lobbied for. I cannot argue for more laws and more government because while pointing out the corruption of the big corporations, the so called “capitalists”, we also point out that that corruption is only possible because of the existing big government! If the government really wanted to help address wealth and income inequality, the best thing they could do, is to get completely out of the market.
In a real free market that allows free competition it is impossible to exploit your employees or consumers for long. You cannot pay your employees substantially less than what they produce, because someone else will pay them more. You cannot charge consumers substantially more than what it costs to produce, because someone else will charge less. It really is that simple.
For example, if I pay someone $7.25 an hour to produce something at which I sell for $15 an hour, I would invite thousands of people to come into my industry. I’m making almost an $8 an hour profit off of each worker I employ. Therefore you could come in and offer $8.50 to my workers and sell essentially the same product for $14 an hour. You would still be making a $5.50 an hour profit off each worker. Now in order to keep my workers I must pay them either the same (or more if I want to keep the best ones) and in order to keep my customers I must offer my product for the same or less than you. This cycle continues back and forth between producers until you have the highest wage possible for the workers and the lowest price for the consumers, while keeping the business profitable.
This is the only way you can create higher wages and a lower cost of living for the entire country. This is the only way you can slowly but surely raise the standard of living for everyone. You can’t pass laws and expect to raise people out of poverty. It would be like passing a law against gravity and expecting people to float off into the air. Of course, corporations wouldn’t want to sell their product for less or pay their employees more but they would be forced to! The “greed” of capitalists doesn’t need to be kept in check by untrustworthy government force, it is automatically kept in check by something we can always count on, other competing capitalists.
Bernie Sanders harps on this issue to sell more government as the solution. Don’t buy it. This is an important issue, not because it shows that capitalism has run wild like people wrongly suggest, but rather that we as a country have ran wild away from true capitalism. This issue does not show that capitalism is broken or that the free market doesn’t work, it shows that the Government has destroyed the free market by granting itself the power to choose the winners and losers in the economy. It does not show that we need to adopt more socialist government policy, instead it shows that we need to get rid of the socialist government policies that already exist. Our solution is not a bigger, more intrusive government, our solution is to restore freedom and the free market.
Sanders, Bernie. “Wealth and Income Inequality.” Https://berniesanders.com/issues/income-and-wealth-inequality/. Bernie Sanders, n.d. Web. <https%3A%2F%2Fberniesanders.com%2Fissues%2Fincome-and-wealth-inequality%2F>.
O’Rourke, P.J. “P. J. O’Rourke Quote.” BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/pjorour101111.html>.