The Top 1% Are Not Causing the USA's Problems

This writer knows a leftwing corporate lawyer who sees our society as top-heavy with a rich, exploitative class drinking glasses of champagne while there are millions of starving children in America, millions of homeless in the streets, degradation and hopelessness everywhere based on economic deprivation as well as racist, sexist, and moral rigidity....  To him, there are too many Marie Antoinette types laughing in their palaces saying to the miserable masses, "Let them eat cake...."  In his mind, most of those laughing are Republicans with a few Democrats thrown into this heartless, capitalist mix.  He is obsessed with the “heartless” top 1% or .1% (the exact number is of small importance to this hater of “the system”) who are venal, smirking, self-satisfied individuals while the other 99% consists of miserable starving children and cast aside adults who, whatever their faults, deserve a better deal from life than they are getting.  

This writer had a ministry to the homeless for a few years.  As many neglected and hurting persons as I encountered at various locations in New York City, I did not find the streets teeming with homeless and starving children as for example I know exists in India, Africa, or parts of Latin America.  This maudlin crowd of poverty chasers are looking at today’s poor the same way as Jacob Riis at the turn of the 20th century when he studied the hordes of immigrants living in six floor walk-up tenements in New York City.  

Now there are food stamps for the indigent; yet, this writer knows from having taught in the public schools that there are hundreds of thousands of people in New York who are not feeding their own children breakfast or lunch even though they receive food stamps. Knowing this, the socialist hucksters still are blaming the racist system for rampant “food insecurity.”  In today’s world, unlike the USA at the turn of the 20th century, there are hundreds of thousands of big city residents who want their kids to be in "daycare" until 9:00 p.m. (many people who work in daycare centers encounter many parents who complain that they have to pick up their kids at 6;30 pm or 7:00 pm when they would prefer more downtime by themselves).  So, we may be moving towards a system of compulsory education to age 20 or 22, or perhaps a Spartan model where children are raised by the state 24/7 from the age of 6 onwards.

Not only is a fortune being spent supposedly meeting real-time needs, but the more that is spent, the more the need for more and more expenditures seems to grow.  If you took all the assets and money of the top 1%, those moneys wouldn't even begin to make a dent in these expenditures or the national debt. Yet, the progressive left (now totalitarian to the core) believes we are short of doing all that can be done to solve the problems of the poor. Instead of perceiving that the definition of the word "poor" has been stretched to a grotesque level or that expenditures must, in a humane way, begin to be lowered, it seems that the incorrigible, power mad left, wants to buy even more votes by extending its welfare programs and laws to more and more people at higher and higher levels of taxation and regulation. All this overreach is ostensibly for the sake of the 99% who are being exploited from the soles of their feet all the way up to their sinuses by a corrupt system.    

Right in front of me at this moment are various graphs that indicate that housing assistance has increased from $26 billion in 1990 to about $60 billion in 2010. 33.6 million participated in government assistance programs in 1962, but now it's 91.2 million persons (tripled). “Approximately 52.2 million (or 21.3 percent) people in the U.S. participated in major means-tested government assistance programs each month in 2012.”  In 2019, 46.6% paid no income tax and depended for their living expenses in whole or in part on government assistance from the other half that pays income taxes. Medicaid expenditures have risen from about $175 billion in 1997 to $600 billion (estimated) in 2020.  This is not a picture of a society that is being wiped out by poverty, but a society that is impoverishing itself.

The oft-repeated challenge offered by the left is that the income gap between the rich and the poor is growing and that is proof of the exploitation of the middle and lower classes.  This conclusion is built on a false premise. That premise is that the amplified income is the cause of the income stagnation or slippage of everyone else.  A dollar added to the pockets of the rich does not mean a dollar subtracted from the pockets of everyone else.  Thomas Sowell, one of our legendary pro-capitalism economists, noted that only 15% of the poor, not of society as a whole, remain at the same level of poverty or go to a lower level, but the other 85% rise out of poverty over a 25 year period.  If someone gets a raise in a job does that mean that somebody else is getting a pay cut somewhere else?  No way.
The left continually claims that the rich together are the key agents for undermining the good, the true, the beautiful, and the progress of society.  Yet, if one believes there are starving people who are crying out for a decent meal and to know someone who cares, a person doesn't need permission from the rich to go and feed starving children. As I wrote, there are many great Christian organizations that are doing this work.  My daughter was doing telemarketing work for an organization raising money for various charities for starving children in Israel (Jewish charities).  The cooperation of the super-rich was not needed for this great work.  I don't have to wait until the legal system changes to help feed starving children either in the U.S. or in other countries if I want to. In many cases, the governments of the countries where the children live are actually keeping children from being fed -- in some cases, they even keep out humanitarian aid or steal the food and sell it on the black market.  If I want to feed the rich, nobody -- nobody -- including the top .01% can stop me.

The left -- and I do mean the Biden administration and its supporters in the Democratic Socialist and Communist parties -- are proposing a redistribution of wealth.  They contend that under capitalism wealth is being redistributed upwards,  and they simply want to re-distribute wealth downwards which is demanded by the ideals of true justice.  However, it is clear to me and others not in the top 1% who have grown up under capitalism and struggled throughout my life that wealth distribution is still more fair and more potentially fair than any pre-determined equality (sic) model. Further, their tentacles will actually extend beyond the top 1% to the middle class.  If there is any injustice in the oversized profits of the rich (assuming that some gains are ill-gotten or the results of undue influence on the legal and tax structure), I would much prefer to live with those injustices than put myself in the hands of redistributionists.

Image via Max Pixel.