Walter E. Williams
by Walter E. Williams: Minimum
Wage's Discriminatory Effects
vision of government is easily understood and makes perfect sense
if one acknowledges their misunderstanding and implied assumptions
about the sources of income. Their vision helps explain the language
they use and policies they support, such as income redistribution
and calls for the rich to give something back.
true source of income was a gigantic pile of money meant to be shared
equally amongst Americans. The reason some people have more money
than others is because they got to the pile first and greedily took
an unfair share. That being the case, justice requires that the
rich give something back, and if they won't do so voluntarily, Congress
should confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their
liberal implied assumption about the sources of income is that income
is distributed, as in distribution of income. There might be a dealer
of dollars. The reason why some people have more dollars than others
is because the dollar dealer is a racist, a sexist, a multinationalist
or a conservative. The only right thing to do, for those to whom
the dollar dealer unfairly dealt too many dollars, is to give back
their ill-gotten gains. If they refuse to do so, then it's the job
of Congress to use their agents at the IRS to confiscate their ill-gotten
gains and return them to their rightful owners. In a word, there
must be a re-dealing of the dollars or what some people call income
The sane among
us recognize that in a free society, income is neither taken nor
distributed; for the most part, it is earned. Income is earned by
pleasing one's fellow man. The greater one's ability to please his
fellow man, the greater is his claim on what his fellow man produces.
Those claims are represented by the number of dollars received from
his fellow man.
Say I mow
your lawn. For doing so, you pay me $20. I go to my grocer and demand,
"Give me 2 pounds of steak and a six-pack of beer that my fellow
man produced." In effect, the grocer asks, "Williams, you're asking
your fellow man to serve you. Did you serve him?" I reply, "Yes."
The grocer says, "Prove it."
I pull out the $20 I earned from serving my fellow man. We can think
of that $20 as "certificates of performance." They stand as proof
that I served my fellow man. It would be no different if I were
an orthopedic doctor, with a large clientele, earning $500,000 per
year by serving my fellow man. By the way, having mowed my fellow
man's lawn or set his fractured fibula, what else do I owe him or
anyone else? What's the case for being forced to give anything back?
If one wishes to be charitable, that's an entirely different matter.
morality of having to serve one's fellow man in order to have a
claim on what he produces with congressional handouts. In effect,
Congress says, "You don't have to serve your fellow man in order
to have a claim on what he produces. We'll take what he produces
and give it to you. Just vote for me."
should give back? Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart, Bill Gates founded
Microsoft, Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer. Which one of these
billionaires acquired their wealth by coercing us to purchase their
product? Which has taken the property of anyone?
Each of these
examples, and thousands more, is a person who served his fellow
men by producing products and services that made life easier. What
else do they owe? They've already given.
If anyone is
obliged to give something back, they are the thieves and recipients
of legalized theft, namely people who've used Congress, including
America's corporate welfare queens, to live at the expense of others.
When a nation vilifies the productive and makes mascots of the unproductive,
it doesn't bode well for its future.
E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics
at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist.
To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other
Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators
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