Critiquing Commentary on Income Inequality
I was reading a recent post by David Harsanyi on You Want More Equality? Support More Capitalism. He makes a couple of points. When discussing the explosion of news on income inequality, he asks, “Who cares?” The wealthy don’t get wealthy at the expense of the poor. In fact, he notes, the median after-tax household income grew by 35% over the past three decades; and the poorest 5% of Americans are still richer than 70% of the world. He continues on by describing how much social mobility there really is in America, and rails against the idea, which he ascribes to the OWS crowds, that wealth is immoral and unhealthy for society.
But on this Veteran’s Day, I can’t help but catch a tone that the writer doesn’t have this sense of common nationhood, this sense that we are all a family together. Our fathers and grandfathers came from the people, fought in World War II for the salvation of the nation, or as Bill Clinton so admirably put it in remarks at the U.S. National Cemetery on June 6, 1994 on the 50th anniversary of D-Day, “but let us never forget; when they were young, these men saved the world.” In more recent years it is the sons and daughters of the humble who have stood America’s ground in faraway places. These are the ones on whose backs this nation rests. It is to them that we owe the debt.
The tone that so many conservative commentaries on “the 99%” seem to be taking these days remind me of a parent who is content to let his children go without so that he can surround himself with comfort and luxury. The tone they take does not seem appropriate.