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GUEST BLOG BY DIANE MEDVED: Do We Need to End Inequality? For People? For Nations?

Labor activists celebrate during a rally at Seattle City Hall after a Seattle City Council meeting

The buzz word “inequality” has weirdly become a rallying cry for the far left in America.

Our nation embraces equality, as in “all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” Both political parties love that phrase. The issue is whether all men and women should remain equal and develop equally, and whether it’s within government’s scope to assure that outcome.

Minimum wage debates express the notion that free markets don’t adequately offer fair compensation; that the government must therefore make laws requiring a floor salary for every and any type of work. Each state has its own minimum wage.

Now, we’ve extended that to make the floor salary a federal minimum, rather than a state issue that can respond to local circumstances. Somehow, Pres. Obama believes that $10.10 per hour provides a comparable “living wage” in both New York City and Memphis, Tennessee.

This is a huge debate, one we in Seattle endured en route to the newly council-approved $15 minimum wage, successfully championed by socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.

The trendy term “inequality” assumes socialistic underpinnings–but rather than delve into them, I’d like you to think about inequality in the shockingly novel way it’s now being internationally applied.

If we should strive for all citizens within our country to have financial “equality” or at least a comparable level of comfort in life, what about nations? Do all countries deserve equality, too? Given that the U.S. has so much, should people in another nation suffer just because that unfortunate land​ has a corrupt government and a culture of bribery and cruelty?

Apparently the Presidents of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala don’t think so. With 57,000 unaccompanied children since October sent to the U.S. with coyotes (smugglers) by their fearful and hopeful parents, leaders of their home countries say our tempting plenty and opportunity are to blame.

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that conniving coyotes “peddle a mistake…a totally wrong interpretation to the parents of these children saying ‘You can get your kids into the U.S., we can do it for you.’”  The lure is our safety and economic opportunity–which we unfairly enjoy while they suffer.

​​”We will not be able to solve this problem unless we go to the root, and this requires an integral task, one that is based on the principle of shared responsibility,” Hernandez declared. “The U.S.A. is responsible, and we are responsible, and we are facing up to our responsibility.” The implication being that we, the United States, are not.

If only there were equality among nations, Central American parents fearful of violent gangs wouldn’t have to send their offspring far away, alone. If only they could go to school, choose a college, and have a chance for good jobs or to start businesses, their people would keep their progeny at home. We have all these things in the U.S., and they don’t. We must therefore “share responsibility” for the influx of people who risk all, including their lives, for freedom.

Our nation has been blessed by God, but also blessed in the self-selecting populations who came across oceans because they had the courage to face even greater uncertainty and danger for the chance of a better life, spiritually or economically. The personality traits of such people, I believe, shaped our country’s success. Our nation’s founding populations rooted their entrepreneurial efforts in biblical values and ethics, which underpinned both law and behavior.

Are the governments and populations of Central American countries behaving in their own lands similarly to the builders and continued leaders of the United States?  If you believe in “shared responsibility” and want to stop inequality internationally, it doesn’t matter. One nation is “as good as” another, and the successful owe the chaotic some of what they’ve built to “even the playing field” and “spread the wealth.”

Does this relative morality sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me? The problems for these countries are complex, but a deeply-rooted system of corruption, and citizens so adapted to it that they perpetrate it so as to at least reap some advantage from it, dominate the list. The proliferation of drug thugs and gangs’ power apparently arose over the past two decades, but devastating civil conflicts with warlords intermittently assuming power, made survival the priority rather than adherence to standards of ethics. Whatever analysis you choose, not all countries can be, or deserve to be ​equally successful. ​

Those individuals or nations who place honorable values above personal gain are the sources of freedom, order and opportunity that attract and deserve support. I would have liked to hear the Central American presidents address these underlying issues rather than insisting that the United States, object of desperate desire for so many immigrants, is at fault and owes them redress.

This column appears on Diane Medved’s blog, Searching for Bright Light.

Comments (5)

  1. From: Keenan Mahaffey   On: July 30, 2014

    It is such a common theme with conservative folks to characterize the calls to address inequality as an effort to literally take money from someone’s bank account and simply give it to someone less fortunate. It’s not surprising because the only way one can argue against combating the historical inequality that has developed over the past 30 years is to pretend that any effort to reign it in is an effort to make sure that every person has the exact same amount of money. That interpretation is so literal and lacks such comprehension of the point it borders on lunacy.

    No one is saying that everyone deserves the exact same amount of money, regardless of productivity or the work one does. The argument is that there are structural problems with our current form of capitalism, and those problems reward disproportionately folks who already have money, regardless of their performance on the job.

    Do you really think, in terms of value, a CEO deserves 250x salary (on average) what the average salaried employee makes? Think about that. Your interpretation appears to be that anyone who’s made their money has done it all by themselves and everyone else needs to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and start their own company. It’s absurd. Upon closer inspection you see that these self-made folks are clearly, undeniably the exception to the rule.

    No one is lobbying for laziness. No one thinks people shouldn’t be able to get rich, quite the contrary. What bothers TRULY moral people is looking at companies making record profits, quarterly no less, while they freeze wages and lay off employees. All the while giving their CEOs maximum compensation packages under the guise of “keeping the best and brightest”. I could list 25 companies who’s stock has fallen significantly but still managed to reward their CEO handsomely. Does that type of behavior not indicate any type of problem in your eyes?

    You can attempt to distort and obfuscate the true motivation behind curbing income inequality if it makes you feel better, but I know ultimately, when we are judged by our maker, your position will prove to be the one that needs the explanation, not mine.

  2. From: American   On: July 31, 2014

    First of all Keenan, how dare you invoke our creator. I thought you on the left hated when the right invoked God, eh. I guess when you think it serves your purpose (it doesn’t) it’s ok. Having said that, you will indeed be required to explain to your maker why you supported systems of “equality” that resulted in millions upon millions of deaths (communism, socialism) not to mention the mass-dehumanization of those that were allowed to live. What do you think God is most concerned with greed or murder? You are the one destroying society in an attempt to make yourself feel better, not us.

    • From: Keenan   On: July 31, 2014

      Are you insane? You see hate and fear everywhere. Who the hell is talking about being communist? Who mentioned anything about socialism? Do you even know what those words mean?

      Just because I think you’re an idiot doesn’t mean I’m on the left. That’s the real truth. I could be a religious nut or an atheist but you’d still be a fool.

      Look at all the jumps you made in your reply. They are so extreme it makes me think you are divorced from reality. I simply question whether a CEO making 250x the average employee is appropriate, and your reply is to call me a communist. I point out the extreme inequality of the super-rich and everyone else and you immediately jump to socialism. I

      The irony is that your worthless response proves the point I was making in my post. Any mention of the historical inequality we have or ways to improve it are immediately deemed as communism or socialism. That kind of extreme reaction is indicative of a moron who can’t handle shades of grey, only black and white. Capitalism is great, but if you can’t see there are tweaks we need to make in order to reign in the runaway inequality then you are blind.

      Please tell me again, how am I destroying society? Is it by making ridiculous comments on a message board without having any reasoning ability or critical thinking skills? Oops, that would be you. It amazes me people in our country are starving and you have the audacity to pretend you have some religious authority. You are bankrupt, mentally and morally, and your Creator will put you in your place when the time comes.

  3. From: Work6Rest1   On: August 2, 2014

    Agreed that some wealthy people are greedy. In the USA and in Central America (and Europe and Russia and Africa and. . .) Those greedy men and women. “How much is enough” – “Just a little more.” But ironically while a poor person points the finger at a rich ‘so and so’, is he not just as greedy? “You shall not covet,” applies to all people. All. I am by no means rich. Not even close. I’m a school teacher. I realized a long time ago I would never catch the Jones’s. I tried. Almost ruined my marriage. My perspective now. Good for them rich people. I’m choosing to be content. Besides, I’m not taking any of it with me. But I will see my wife and kids when I get there. Instead of throwing earnings around maybe we ought to be comparing our measure of contentment. Now that, my friend, is worth a $trillion!

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