Equality or Inequality

Walter E. Williams, Townhall, February 29, 2012

Rick Santorum’s speech at the Detroit Economic Club stirred a bit of controversy when he said: “I’m not about equality of result when it comes to income inequality. There is income inequality in America. There always has been, and hopefully—and I do say that—there always will be.” That kind of statement, though having merit, should not be made to people who have little or no understanding. Let’s look at inequality.

{snip}

Wage inequality is everywhere. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Asian men and women earn more than white men and women. Female cafeteria attendants earn more than their male counterparts. Females who are younger than 30 and have never been married earn salaries 8 percent higher than males of the same description. {snip}

There are other inequalities that ought to be addressed. With all of the excitement about New York Knick Jeremy Lin’s rising stardom, nobody questions league domination by blacks, who are a mere 13 percent of our population but constitute 80 percent of NBA players and are the highest-paid ones. It’s not much better in the NFL, with blacks being 65 percent of its players. Colleges have made diversity their primary calling, but watch any basketball game and you’d be hard-put to find white players in roles other than bench warming. Worse than that, Japanese, Chinese and American Indian players aren’t even recruited for bench warming.

{snip}

Anyone with one ounce of brains can see the problem and solution. Congress has permitted—and even fostered—a misallocation of people by race, sex and ethnicity. Courts have consistently concluded that “gross” disparities are probative of a pattern and practice of discrimination. So what to do? One remedy that Congress might consider is to require females, who are overrepresented in fields such as preschool and kindergarten teaching, to become boilermakers and brickmasons and mandate that male boilermakers and brickmasons become preschool and kindergarten teachers until both of their percentages are equal to their percentages in the population. You say, “Williams, that would be totalitarianism!” But if Americans accept that Congress can make us buy health insurance whether we want to or not, how much more totalitarian would it be for Congress to allocate jobs in the name of social equality and the good of our nation?

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman said: “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” Equality before the general rules of law is the only kind of equality conducive to liberty that can be secured without destroying liberty.

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  • loyalwhitebriton

    The last paragraph of the above article explains, in the most clear and concise way, the absolute folly of equality.
    The problem with equality is: we are not equal.
    Not only are there well documented biological and psychological differences between the races, but there are differences of IQ and ability even amongst members of the same race.
    The only way to achieve absolute equality would be to impose the most intolerable tyranny. 
    That is, to force society downwards to the lowest common denominator. This may achieve the ‘holy grail’ of equality, but would be grossly unfair to the majority; the lowest common denominator people are a minority, most people are average and above.
    And would a society based on equalising people to the lowest common denominator be fair even to those people who actually fall in the lowest common denominator – without people better than them using their abilities to improve the lives of everyone?.  

    • Kurt Plummer

      Animal Farm.
      Enforcing equality as a ‘downwards retrograde of excellence’ is how the very wealthy and smart control everyone else by making sure that none may take a step ahead of any others without being called out for it.
      I live around blacks all the time now and watching the cool, studied, care by which they measure every opportunity to invest themselves in social situations, only to become domineering and ugly when they get there and are in turned called out for the stupidity that inevitably comes to the fore has been an incredible lesson in the difference between cunning as empathic instinct and intelligence as the innocence to explore and resolve issues based solely on what the moment as the problem calls for.
      The use of precedence should be the guide by which we choose application of ‘justice’.  Fixing of quotas as laws to enforce ratios of achievement without aptitude only reaches lower into the grab bag of population to grab the LCD.
      Intelligence as capability in the higher capability fields is not distributed on a Gaussian curve.  There are clusters whose plateau correspond to specific IQ levels by which we can perform, positively, in a given job field.  In lower IQ populations, those plateaus become narrower and less frequent (skipping entire threshold levels), the higher the job requirements issue becomes.
      What people need to realize is that _population loyalty_ is still a key factor so that people who feel a sense of social obligation, can reach beyond the limits of class as intelligence towards another commonality as aesthetics of affinity.
      We are moving towards a society where the whites and asians are increasingly being asked to help create and sustain a make-work ‘service’ culture which benefits only the high birth rate black and hispanic groups who -cannot- (see Mexico, see Africa) generate a Western culture norm on their own.
      That will fail because whites will turn inwards to their own identity groups rather than support those with whom they will not breed.  Because they see the reality of low IQ that goes with low beauty and realize it’s a dead end.  Society will collapse and instead of moving the first world into the third, the third will inundate and cause the Atlantean Collapse of the first.

  • Anon12

     Anyone with one ounce of brains can see the problem and solution.
    Congress has permitted—and even fostered—a misallocation of people by
    race, sex and ethnicity.
    ______________________

    Well, gee, Rick why didn’t you take your own advice?  Was it not you and Bush2 that was all for that “giving loans to minorities to buy homes since most were “poor”?   You know the fiasco of the housing collapse that has cost US billions???  You and Bush also KNEW they could not and never would pay those mortgages didn’t you?  But of course they were “minorities” and that is WHY you were for it.  So explain your “reasoning” for your stand on that issue?

    You are nothing but a hypocrite and I hope voters find out about you before they cast a vote in your favor. I for one will not vote for any of you.

  • Alexandra1973

    “Female cafeteria attendants earn more than their male counterparts. Females who are younger than 30 and have never been married earn salaries 8 percent higher than males of the same description.”

    Shh!  Don’t tell the feminazis!  They won’t be able to play the victim card!

  • sflbib

    People don’t want equality. That’s why they work hard to rise above.

    “If incomes are equalized, they will be equalized at a low level.” — Economist Vilfredo Pareto

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    Nuke Santorum would send White soldiers to die in the desert. He’d relish in this. Think about that when you step in the voting booth.

  • JohnEngelman

    Rick Santorum is presenting a straw man argument. No one is advocating that everyone earn the same pay check. Nevertheless, during the 1950s the top tax rate never dipped below 91 percent. One third of the work force was in labor unions. The minimum wage in terms of constant dollars was higher than it is now.  Back then it was possible for most factory workers and skilled blue collar workers to live in the suburbs and support a wife who did not need to work, and several children. Now it is not. 
     
    The economic policies advocated by Rick Santorum will result in more inequality, more national debt, and almost certainly more unemployment.

    • Nevertheless, during the 1950s the top tax rate never dipped below 91
      percent. One third of the work force was in labor unions. The minimum
      wage in terms of constant dollars was higher than it is now.  Back then
      it was possible for most factory workers and skilled blue collar workers
      to live in the suburbs and support a wife who did not need to work, and
      several children.

      You have four items of economic truth in there, two of them are totally irrelevant to the other two.

      1.  While the top marginal tax rate “on paper” was 91%, nobody ever paid that rate, because the very very few who had incomes that would have put them in that bracket had their money and incomes in trusts and foundations.  Also, remember, there were a lot of tax brackets, so you had brackets in the 60s, 70s and 80s before the top one was 91%.

      2.  The minimum wage is a price floor.  Like any price floor, if it’s above the QS-QD equilibrium, it created a surplus in demand and a shortage in supply, which means unemployment in the labor market for lower wage employees.

      That a big chunk of the blue collar work force was unionized was a contributing factor to their prosperity.  Other factors that helped a lot were almost no legal non-white immigration, Mexican illegals being deported (Operation W*tb**k), and our fortunate circumstance that we were the only big industrial economy whose domestic front was not war torn after WWII.  So you had a high QD of blue collar labor and a relatively low QS, so it’s obvious where the wage equilibrium would be, high.

      • JohnEngelman

        There is little if any evidence that increases in the minimum wage have lead to increases in unemployment. With few exceptions minimum wage jobs are easy to learn, but they cannot be automated or shipped overseas. If you own a restaurant you cannot have the tables waited on by robots, and bused in Bangladesh. 
         
        By enabling blue collar workers to earn more than the law of supply and demand would, minimum wage laws and strong labor unions make blue collar workers better consumers. As they buy more, manufacturers are induced to produce more and to hire more. Also, when labor unions raise wages in an industry non union companies in that industry are induced to pay more in order to compete with union wages, and in order to discourage union activism among employees.
         
        I agree with you that the Immigration Act of 1965 exposed American blue collar workers to competition from Hispanic workers, and placed downward pressure on their wages. In addition, the civil rights legislation passed during the 196os exposed white blue collar workers to competition from blacks. The women’s movement exposed male blue collar workers to competition from women. 
         
        Most women did not enter the job market to seek personal fulfillment. They entered to compensate for stagnant wages among their husbands. The entry of millions of women in the job market was a factor that has kept those wages stagnant. 

        • There is little if any evidence that increases in the minimum wage have lead to increases in unemployment.

          And there will be very few real world examples of the minimum wage creating extra unemployment, for a simple reason:  For almost all circumstances of the economics of the employment market for almost all people, the minimum wage has been significantly below the market equilibrium, in the history of the American min wage.  Ineffective price floor, as the economists call it.

          By enabling blue collar workers to earn more than the law of supply and
          demand would, minimum wage laws and strong labor unions make blue collar
          workers better consumers. As they buy more, manufacturers are induced
          to produce more and to hire more. Also, when labor unions raise wages in
          an industry non union companies in that industry are induced to pay
          more in order to compete with union wages, and in order to discourage
          union activism among employees.

          You’re arguing apples and oranges here.  An above equilibrium minimum wage would only create unemployment.  It’s maliciously hacking around the existing quantity supplied-quantity demanded reality.  Effective organized labor does have the history of raising blue collar wages and salaries, because it restricts the supply of labor.  Therefore, it’s actually shifting the entire supply curve, not just moving along the existing curve of quantity supplied, but shifting in favor of a higher equilibrium (higher wages).

          Third paragraph, agreed.

          Most women did not enter the job market to seek personal fulfillment.
          They entered to compensate for stagnant wages among their husbands. The
          entry of millions of women in the job market was a factor that has kept
          those wages stagnant.

          And it was a domino effect:  As more did, that changed the supply curve to a lower equilibrium wage.  The only reason why it didn’t seem that way is that this happened in a print money inflationary climate.  People were getting more in dollar amounts, but less in real purchasing power.  Furthermore, because the tax brackets weren’t indexed to the same print money inflation, (and were not until 1985), people making more but really making less were subject to higher and higher tax brackets.  And like I said one post ago here, there were a lot of tax brackets before 1981, and therefore, it was really easy artificially to be pushed up.

  • JohnEngelman

    The following website demonstrates how economic inequality has grown since Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. It also demonstrates that most Americans would like a more equal distribution.
     
    http://investorvillage.com/smbd.asp?mb=971&mn=389436&pt=msg&mid=10153698  

  • JohnEngelman

    Many of the same posters on this website who boast of white superiority to blacks resent Oriental superiority to whites, and think Orientals do not belong in this country. 

  • JohnEngelman

    Varina,                                                   
                                                                                                              
    I have read De Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America.” I do not recall him drawing a dichotomy between freedom and equality. What he did say is that the American government is more democratic than European governments, and that American society is more egalitarian.                                                 
                                                                                        
    I disagree that we have equality in the United States. Inequality has increased significantly since the election of Ronald Reagan, as you can see by looking at this website:                                                         
                                                                                    
    http://investorvillage.com/smbd.asp?mb=971&mn=389436&pt=msg&mid=10153698 
                                                                                                            
    Since “Democracy in America” was published in 1835 economic inequality in Europe has declined, while it has increased in the United States to the point that there is more inequality here than there.                              
                                                                 
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2172rank.html?countryName=United%20States&countryCode=us&regionCode=noa&rank=40#us  

  • JohnEngelman

    Latin American societies have traditionally been more unequal than American societies. I do not think there has been more liberty under Latin American dictatorships.