Monday, January 28, 2013

Makers, Takers, Fairness and Playing by the Same Rules

By: Dale Bowling

Life isn't fair. I hear that all the time and I'm sure you do too. 

And life really isn't fair, is it? Some people get more opportunities than others by the sheer fact they
were born into one family versus another or in one neighborhood or city or country instead of some
other one.

Some kids have two parents who love them and some don't have any.

Not everyone is equally smart or equally healthy or whatever. Sadly true.

Life's not fair.

But it's not its truth that causes that phrase to be repeated over and over again.

The reason it gets repeated is that it allows people to accept something terrible as inevitable and then
feel just fine about not doing anything about it. It gets trotted out a lot whenever there is an injustice
that someone can't be bothered to rectify.

There are people who feel that everybody has the right to life, but not right a decent life. Because life's not fair. The Government should be there to make sure you take your first gasp of breath but after that, you're on your own Kid.

People who struggle can be allowed to struggle because life's not fair. Hungry- too bad. Life's not fair. Sick, but not insured? That's tough.

"Life's not fair" is really code for "that's not my problem".

But these same folks are all about fairness to themselves. They say, "Is it fair that I work and they
don't?"  47% or 90% or 53% (depending on who you talk to on the Right) of people aren't being fair to the Makers of Wealth. They're just Takers.

Does it matter that a lot of these "Takers" do work, but make so little they still meet the income
requirement for assistance? Does it matter that a lot of these "Takers" would really like to the
opportunity to improve themselves or their position in life?

These self-described Makers are usually the same people who have had every advantage up to now. They had access to good educations, parents who understood the system and could advise them accordingly, had connections, some capital. All the good cards were dealt to them. The game was theirs to lose from the get-go.

But as we go forward many of these self-described Makers are increasingly stacking the deck. They can make up rules as they go and those rules don't have to be fair because life isn't fair.

In 2010, 93% of income gains went to the top 1% of earners. Was that 93% fairly acquired since that top 1% worked so hard or were so much more self-disciplined or so much smarter than the bottom 99%? 

Nope. Stacked deck. That means that 99% of Americans (including a whole lot of self-described Makers) got screwed on the deal.

Let's turn this whole business on its head. The fact that "Life's not Fair" is all the more reason why we
as Americans need to shuffle the deck and all play by the same rules.

We can't have a Nation where some have opportunities to contribute and not others or where only some can rise - just because life wasn't equally fair to all Americans.

Playing by the same rules obviously won't make everyone equally successful. Life really isn't fair. But it will allow everyone to have a shot at improving themselves and their lot in life. Playing by the same rules just gives all Americans a chance at the American Dream.

And when everyone has a stake in the system, we are a stronger, better America as a result.

And that's what we want as Democrats.

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