by Daniel Gardner
Why don't we have enough money to take care of everybody? The answer depends upon whether one is asking in political or humanitarian terms. In humanitarian terms, we have way more than enough money and resources to make everyone comfortable. In political terms…not so much.
Progressive politicians insist we have enough money if only they could raise taxes enough on the rich and spread the wealth to those in the lower socio-economic echelons. In fact, taken to the extreme suggested by President Obama's father, taxing the people 100-percent and redistributing the wealth according to need is the ideal way to provide for everyone's needs.
On the other hand conservatives contend government is the least efficient and effective way to spread the wealth. Indeed, conservatives contend government becomes the problem when it controls the wealth.
Our founders created one of the greatest political, economic, and social experiments in history when they wrote the Constitution. They came out of political-economic systems in Europe dominated by aristocracies who ruled the masses of working class folks. In other words, there were essentially two classes: aristocracy and working.
Our founders envisioned a third class: the middle class. The middle class offered things formerly not imagined under historical European systems: education for the masses and opportunities for prosperity neither hindered nor limited by class.
As America grew and prospered, other nations took notice. Immigrants streamed to America, the only nation on earth offering freedom from royal oppression and open-ended opportunities for prosperity. All that was required was a willingness to work hard.
The Constitution worked. The people worked. And, the nation prospered to become the greatest nation in the history of the world. Yet, America still had some who were poor and oppressed. Jesus said we would always have poor among us, though I believe He taught His disciples to care for the poor out of their own purses.
Americans have always cared for the poor and needy. We're the most generous people on earth. Some of us are more generous than others.
Progressives have portrayed TEA Partiers and supporters as those against the poor, who don't want to support the poor or meet their minimal needs. Nancy Pelosi said TEA Partiers are working "for the rich instead of for the great middle class." That's odd since the great preponderance of TEA Partiers is firmly planted in the middle class.
Perhaps the oddest fact in the debate over meeting the needs of the poor comes from the General Social Survey which has consistently found those who were against higher levels of government redistribution - like TEA Partiers - privately give as much as four times more money, on average, as people who favor redistribution, i.e. political progressives like Pelosi.
The problem is not that we don't have enough money. The problem is government is inherently incapable of redistributing the wealth.
We need to return to our roots where we are free from oppression of big government and free to pursue open-ended opportunities for success, prosperity, and personal charity.