AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

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Fairness is About Opportunity, not About Results

There is a good discussion going on in the comments of this post over at This Ain’t Hell regarding economic policy and tax cuts: The Waddler fears GOP “gangsters”

It is a rarity when I actually can articulate my thoughts well enough to (1) make sense and (2) have others understand them. So I decided to make my comment contribution there into a post here. But do click over to This Ain’t Hell to read (and join in, if so inclined) the economic discussion there in the comments.

Michael in MI Says:
December 14th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I would like to know why some people are bound to succeed despite setbacks, whereas others in a similar situation fold under the pressure, get depressed, get alienated, never recover. Or where the line between assisting and enabling lies, and how you determine that line with different people. Or how you give someone who’s been beaten down the incentive to dust themselves off and get back in the fight. These are not democratic or republican questions. They’re human questions.

The difference in philosophies between the modern liberal and conservative is that liberals want equality of result while conservatives want equality of opportunity. The fallacy of the liberal way of going about government is exactly as you mention here… everyone could have the same opportunity to succeed, but not everyone takes advantage of that opportunity. The result for everyone is not the same.

But that is not the responsibility of government to guarantee the result. It is the responsibility to provide an environment that everyone has the opportunity. There is a reason people from all over the world have seen the United States as the “land of opportunity” and not the “land of guaranteed result of living off welfare” (though they might be feeling that way now).

The fact is that it is not the responsbility of government to provide everything for the people. The government should do just enough to provide everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. After that, it is the responsibility of the individual to succeed or fail on their own. Some will succeed. Some will fail. It is not the government’s responsibility to guarantee that no one fails. It is the responsibility of the indidividual to take advantage of their opportunities given by this nation to succeed.

Some people will only work minimum wage jobs and will live their lives poor. Some people will go to a trade school and learn a skill that will help them earn a middle class wage and live a middle class lifestyle. Some people will go on to college and do the same. Some people will go on to college and earn an upper middle class wage and live an upper middle class lifestyle. Some people will go on to graduate school and earn an upper class wage and live an upper class lifestyle.

All of those results came from having the same opportunity. But there is no way for the government to guarantee that every person in the nation is able to have the result of going to a great university and ending up earning an upper class wage and living an upper class lifestyle. And just because that does not happen does not mean the system is not “fair”. Fairness is about opportunity, not about results.

What liberals are obsessed over is fairness of results. And there is just no possible way to guarantee that. But that is what socialism and communism try to do. But what they end up doing is making sure everyone is fairly miserable.

The problem with liberals is that the logical result of their policies of socialism and communism is that they encourage people to be lazy and dependent. That’s what happens when “the rich” are taxed for their success and their earnings are given out for free to those who haven’t achieved success, even though they had the same opportunity of everyone else to achieve that success. All that does is encourage people to not achieve… why bother when the see that when you achieve you are punished, but if you do nothing, you will still be given handouts.

The liberal policies are akin to a parent allowing their grown children to live for free at home, instead of encouraging them to move out of the house, get a job and become independent and self-reliant. Why would a grown child (citizen) have the incentive to move out on their own if their parents (government) were providing everything for them for free (welfare and unending unemployment ‘benefits’)?

Something that I have not see asked is concerning the Democrat politicians’ focus on unemployment extensions (and the idiotic claim by Democrats that tax cuts don’t spur the job growth, but unemployment benefits do spur job growth… I believe that was the verbal riTARDation emanating from Nancy Pelosi herself last week). Well, we know that when people are given unending unemployment checks, they don’t have the incentive to go out and look for a job. I wonder if something similar is also happening with regards to the Democrat politicians. I wonder if Democrats don’t feel the incentive to improve the economy and job growth, since they can just pass unemployment benefit extensions and their constituents are appeased for another 6 months to a year. Imagine no more unemployment benefits and tens of millions of Americans demanding a better environment for job growth. I think that would give the Democrats (and everyone else in Congress) plenty of incentive to get their asses moving to improve job growth. Instead, they keep the masses appeased with unemployment benefit extensions and the Democrats go back to not doing a damn thing to improve the economy.

My friend Nathaniel added a great comment:

NathanielPatton Says:
December 15th, 2010 at 9:05 am

Michael, that has got to be the dumbest post I’ve ever read. Trying to say that it’s about opportunity, not results. Have you ever even read Keynes? HAHAHA I’m just pulling your leg man, great post, thanks for letting me know about this debate, I’ve gotten a lot of good laughs off of the basic beat down that’s gone on here. Looks like the battle’s all over, but I’m going to fire a volley anyway just in case.

Joe, I’m assuming that you went to school. Maybe not college, but if you did, I think that your economics professors owe you a refund, but the point is this. At any point in your scholastic life did you get A’s? Maybe upper B’s? Hell, even C’s? I’m going to assume that if you got the upper grades, you probably had to work and study for them. You know, homework, show up for class, do the reading, etc. How would you feel about the following scenario?

Your professor tells the class after the first exam that he’s got an amazing parity. Most of the kids passed with C’s, there were a few B’s and even fewer A’s. He also had some D’s and a few failing E’s. BUT, those results aren’t fair. How is it fair that some kids are going to end up on the Dean’s List while others are failing? So the prof says that he’s going to take points from the A’s and give them to the E’s to boost them to C average, and he’s going to take a few less points from the B’s and give them to the D’s to get them to a C average. NOW the grades are fair, because everyone in the class has a C. There’s nothing wrong with a C, you can pass the class with a C, so what’s the problem? I mean sure, you worked your ass off to get the A, you skipped a party last weekend, you put in several hours a week just on reading for that class alone, but why should you have all of those points while Joey doesn’t have any? Sure, he did go to that party, his book is still in it’s wrapper, and that last time you saw him in class was the 1st week, but how is any of that his fault? We’ve got to have fairness and fairness means an equality of results, not opportunity. Everyone had the opportunity to pass, but not everyone did pass, so we’ve got to fair stuff up a bit.

Ok, it’s at this point that Michael left off, but I’m going to go 1 step further and fast forward a little bit.

Alright, back to our scenario. Prof evened out everyone’s grades. You go home after class and you are PISSED. You worked your ass off for that A, and what’d it get you? Your friend Joey begged you to go to that party with him, he found a girl and said he had one for you too, he hasn’t put in a dimes worth of work, had tons of fun, and got the same grade in the end. Screw it, next time Joey asks you to a party, what are you likely to say? “No, I’ve got to study?” Hell no, you’re going to go to that party, you’re going to read less, skip classes, etc.

Fast forward again now to the next exam, how many people who got A’s on the 1st exam get A’s this time? A quarter maybe, who still have some pride in hard work, or are just really smart, or are socially awkward, or just really enjoy the material? Meanwhile the number of kids with B’s also went down, the number of kids with C’s went down, there are way more D’s and E’s out there. BUT the prof can’t make points up for his grading system, he can only take them from the haves and redistribute them to the have nots. So now, with fewer people at the top(because really, what incentive is there to be at the top when the results are the same?) there are fewer points to give to those down below. Now, instead of everyone averaging a C, the class average is a low D to a failing E.

Do you kind of see the point here Joe? Taking from those that work the hardest (The A’s), and giving to those that don’t work at all (The E’s) so that they can enjoy a middle class like living eventually brings everyone down. Pretty soon, you’ll see those with an A transfer their points/wealth to another classroom that doesn’t have such a redistributive professor, i.e. move their money overseas or hide it in a fund of some sort. The B’s and C’s won’t do this because they either don’t have the knowledge or it’s too expensive for them to transfer, so they end up having to shoulder more of the D’s and E’s burden.

Yes Joe, it’s about people. Now you look that A in the eye and tell him he doesn’t need his A, he can share his points because he doesn’t need them as much as E over there.

Oh, and as for the gov’t providing a “safety net” and us not knowing when best to pull them off of it blah blah blah, no, not at all. That is NOT the job of the gov’t to provide a safety net for anyone. If people like that billionaire liar Warren Buffet are sooooooo concerned, they could be funding private organizations who would make sure through a vested interest that the person was out looking for a job, in earnest, because the rug isn’t going to be under them for long.

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December 14, 2010 , 7:45PM - Posted by | Communism, Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism

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