Fairness, Taxes, GPA, and Redistribution
If ever three articles capture the essence of what we, as a country, are currently experiencing, these three do it. First, there is "Devious Taxation" by Dr. Walter E. Williams, an economist and one of my personal heroes. Second, there is "Students Sign Petition To 'Redistribute' GPAs, But Some Are Too 'Greedy' To Lower Their Grades For Others" by Ron Meyer. Third, there is "Obama and Redistribution of Your Wealth" by Joseph Harris.
In "Devious Taxation," Williams says that instead of focusing on how the federal government has grown to 24% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), our attention has been diverted to the tax fairness demagoguery.
Williams cites 2009 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data and notes that 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax at all, while the top 1% of income-earners paid almost 37% of federal income taxes, the top 10% paid about 70%, and the top 50% paid nearly 98%.
He then asks, "What standard of fairness dictates that ... 47% of Americans pay nothing?" If almost half of Americans pay no income tax, why should they be concerned about increasing taxes and about tax rate fairness?
Now let's turn our attention to Meyer's article. When it applies to the grade point average (GPA), many students view the idea of redistribution as unfair. The GPA is calculated based on the grade earned or received in a course, with a grade of "A" earning four points, a "B" earning three, and so forth, divided by the total number of course hours. The sum of all grade points earned divided by the total number of course hours taken is the GPA.
Young America's Foundation's fourth annual "GPA Redistribution Petition and Video Contest" focused on "fairness" through taxing the wealthy (in this instance, students with higher GPAs) in an attempt to redistribute wealth. Yet when students at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, were asked if they would be willing to sign a petition to redistribute GPA points to the rest of the college's students, most top students declined. Here is what some top students said:
- "No, because I worked hard for my grades!"
- "At Carthage, each student has an equal opportunity to get the GPA they desire."
- "I don't want my GPA being taken away from me if I had an 'A'."
- "No. I'm low-income and a minority, and I have a fairly decent GPA, so..."
- "It takes away from people working hard ... and obviously it's paid off with their higher GPA." When asked to sign the [grade redistribution] petition by a fellow student, that student said, "How about trying harder for a semester?"
Students with lower GPAs didn't seem to mind benefiting from students with higher GPAs. A student who stood to benefit from grade redistribution said, "Why not? I'm down."
Students who were "greedy" with their GPAs got a real-life lesson in redistribution of wealth, in what is "fair." Many leftist students think it's just fine to redistribute money from people who earned it, but it's not so fine to redistribute grades so that everyone can have the same GPA.
Young America's Foundation holds this contest every year to highlight the hypocrisy of the left's view on taxes.
Finally, there is the article by Harris. Obama, while speaking to students at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL, on April 10, 2012, said, "So these investments - in things like education and research and health care - they haven't been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another ... this is not some socialist dream." Yet in 2008, candidate Obama told Joe the plumber, "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
How can Obama's two statements ever be reconciled? To do so is impossible, so one statement must be eliminated. I would suggest that, based on his actions rather than words, his first statement, the one he made in 2012, should be discarded. In other words, he was, in 2012, lying.
Further, Obama has a past association with socialism. In his 1995 autobiography Dreams from My Father, Obama, discussing his time studying political science at New York's Columbia University in the early '80s, reveals that he "went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union and African cultural fairs in Brooklyn." He was also a member of the New Party, a very socialist organization.
So how are the articles related? How do they together capture today's experience? They all speak about "fairness" and wealth redistribution. Obama has called upon everyone to pay "his fair share" of taxes. And what does Obama want to do with taxes collected? In order to make things "fair," he wants to redistribute wealth. When confronted with a redistribution issue that will directly affect them, students who worked hard were not so ready to be "fair." And socialism, redistribution, and "fairness" go hand-in-hand.
We are deceived by tax policy. We are deceived by "fairness." We are deceived by redistribution. What other deceptions by Obama await us?
No one has a right to something for which someone else has worked. "Fair" doesn't mean one group can steal (called "redistribution in the name of fairness" by Obama and fellow socialists) the possessions of everyone who has worked hard for what the latter has earned. Once earned, the "Pursuit of Happiness" means people get to keep the "Happiness" earned.
Dr. Beatty earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.