The 1% Fallacy

The left wages endless class warfare. One of the foundational talking points revolves around endless drivel concerning the widening gap between our “rich” and “poor”. Those terms in and of themselves connote separation and anxiety. Those who favor redistribution of wealth  insist that without same the United States is sliding perilously down the slope of inevitable revolution. Social upheaval is apparently what must happen unless the “rich” give more to the “poor”. Proponents of this are quick to point to the French (1789) and Russian (1917) Revolutions as cases in point. 

Let’s put this class warfare to rest, shall we? First, let’s understand that both aforementioned revolutions were indeed revolts by the people. They were not political, they were social. It is important to understand the difference. The people simply rose and upended the political framework. In Russia’s case, they literally did so in the space of one week. Both revolutions (each in their own way and in their own time) became political, but they were not inspired by politics or politicians. 

In each case, the people rose up because they had nothing; nada. In each case, they were truly the 99% who were relegated to hopeless lives; no upward mobility, no ability to put food on the table, no anything!

The United States bears no resemblance to the failed monarchies that created the social upheaval which ended pre Revolutionary France and Russia. The hue and cry over GOP ruthlessness is a mockery. We are arguing about runaway deficit spending and entitlement philosophy. No one in the United States is suggesting we should not help our “poor”.

So lets start by stopping the “rich” and “poor” rhetoric. We have successful and less successful Americans. Some Americans are completely down on their luck and are just plumb not successful. They have run into roadblocks at every turn. The GOP wants to help those who want to help themselves. The GOP also wants to help those who have given up. The difference between the left and the GOP is that the GOP doesn’t want to perpetuate hopelessness and make it a way of life. In short, we believe government support should be like a trampoline. One should be able to receive assistance until one can bounce back onto one’s feet. We do not think the taxpayer should be required to provided a metaphoric  hammock; something that encourages one to lie down and never get back up! 

To put things in perspective, look how much money we spend on social programs. (Click here to see.) We spend over $350,000,000,000 a year on the social safety net! All I am saying is that we should all agree that the net should be more like a trampoline than a hammock!

It is a sham for the left to continue to try to foment social upheaval based on the economic gap between those who have succeeded and those who haven’t. We are a kind nation. There is help for those who need it. Let’s also not forget the magnificence of our philanthropic endeavors. Those who have succeeded contribute billions of dollars a year to those less fortunate. In fact, in 2016, Americans gave over $390,000,000,000 of their own money to charity. (Click here to see report.) The private sector will always be able to target and more efficiently help those in need than will the massive bureaucracy that is our US government. Just out of interest, how much money do you think our private sector will contribute if the government continues to tax it into ruin?

As an aside, if you want to help someone, I recommend you check out I Am Waters. It is the only non-profit organization in the country dedicated to the physical and spiritual hydration of our homeless population; a group of people democrats and Republicans have left behind. If you want to learn more, click here.) 

I could easily segue into the the current (and seemingly endless) health care repeal and replace debate. No folks, the GOP is not trying to kill you. Obamacare is imploding. It will die under its own weight. Will whatever comes out of the House and Senate conference be perfect? No! But whatever comes out will be better than the DOA legislation that is currently derailing. The left is not being honest with the American people. They are not acknowledging how terribly flawed the current law is. We will end up with a muddled compromise, but it will be less murky and more navigable than the quicksand in which we now try to walk.

But I digress. All I ask is this; the next time Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi rise up in righteous indignation about GOP cold hearted 1% callousness, just take a step back and ask yourself, “wait, what?” And when you take the time to see what is driving the GOP’s philosophy, you just might find that it makes some sense. Only time will tell. I’m just asking you to give it a shot. 

Just to close, we are not France in 1789. Nor are we Russia in 1917. Not even close. We have a heart. Don’t smirk at Lee Greenwood. This song (here) resonated for a reason. 

More to follow-

 

 

 

Philanthropy Is An American Tradition

Benjamin Franklin | A Founding Philanthropist

Benjamin Franklin | A Founding Philanthropist

Philanthropy in the United States is as American as apple pie. As a people, we give more of our money to charitable causes than any other citizens in the world.

I was prompted to write about this topic by a note I saw on Facebook. I am Chairman of I Am Waters, a wholly non-political 501© 3 Foundation committed to providing physical and spiritual hydration to America’s homeless population. We recently held a successful fundraiser in Houston, Texas. In discussing the success of the event, I made the comment that we have a growing homeless population in the United States, and I Am Waters is committed to working with and helping this “underclass” of our society. One comment (in reference to our growing homeless population) posted after my observations was “Thanks to the Republicans”.

After shaking my head, and deciding to ignore the comment, I started thinking, “how can people be so misinformed?” This comment was offensive on at least two levels. It:

  • politicized a wholly non-political charitable foundation, and
  • explicitly (and groundlessly) blamed Republicans for our homeless population.

Do these people ever stop and wonder why the 10 cities in the United States with the highest level of poverty and unemployment are cities with a legacy of democrat mayors and entitlement spending that have done nothing but encourage indigence and cultures of unfulfilled expectations? George W. Bush called it the “soft bigotry of low expectations”, and he was spot on.

I write about the historical connectivity between private sector success and philanthropy because it is clear many people today have not the slightest inkling of how the United States of America became such an incredibly exceptional nation. The lack of understanding and appreciation for the work ethic and philanthropic mentality that helped us grow yesterday is part of the reason we are so challenged by such destructive social and economic redistributionist policies today.

The art of giving is not a new phenomenon. Benjamin Franklin epitomized the charitable nature of our founding fathers. Alexis de Tocqueville, when writing his book on the uniqueness of the American experiment, noted that ours was a nation that believed in creating opportunity for the private citizen to succeed; partially so that citizen (not the government) could initiate “private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of life”.

Indeed, until the last few decades, it was implicitly understood that if one were to achieve success in life, it was incumbent upon that person to find a way to give some of that success back to the greater good. This was an intrinsic American way of life, born of our pioneering colonial “can-do” attitude, and infused with and by a strong Judeo-Christian ethic. While many choose to remember George H.W. Bush’s “no new taxes” pledge in the 1988 Republican Convention in New Orleans, many also remember his call to all Americans to give of themselves to others, and for each to become one of a “1000 points of light”.

Somewhere along the way in the madness of our inexorable post WWII rush to political correctness, we lost the thread of connectivity between success and philanthropy. The progressive left began to disconnect the historical association between living the American dream and voluntarily giving back. Worse, these liberals (those who denounce our history [the way we grew into ourselves] in the 17th-19th centuries, and view virtually all past events in apologetic terms) began to build and perpetuate a new reality; namely, that success is evil, and private sector philanthropy should be largely replaced by something mandated by the federal government.

In essence, while the democrats still talk about philanthropy, (and many democrat citizens still give large amounts of money to worthy causes) the reality is that the democrat party believes in forced philanthropy though taxation, with the end game being one in which our successful producers are diminished by way of their accumulated capital being involuntarily redistributed to those less successful.

History matters! And to that person who thought to politicize the good work of I Am Waters, I implore you to look at the homeless populations and poverty levels of every government in the recorded annals of man that tried to socialize its industry, commerce, and engines of societal production.

Whenever it has been the goal of government to create equality of outcome for its people, there has been failure. Our unprecedented success and growth as a fledgling nation was, in large part, due to:

  • access to property, and
  • a governing philosophy that was driven by a desire to create equality of opportunity. By so doing, our founding fathers and those who followed in their footsteps ensured that a man’s work ethic and a burgeoning private sector economy lifted the spirits and livelihoods of far more people than ever possible in a redistributionist state.

The left refuses to acknowledge that employment and hope cannot be created by the whims of social progressive politicians. Long-term jobs are only sustained by the private sector. And only with jobs and a viable economic outlook will philanthropy thrive.

Ronald Reagan understood the importance of our history. You may see him say it for himself here:

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