UTNE #2 August 1998

greenspun.com : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Show Us the Money by Mark Dowie, August 1998, p. 24-27.

Mark Dowie's article Show Us the Money talks about redistributing the wealth using several different methods. He says that an inheritance transfer of $10 trillion between generations is going to happen over the next 25 years, and he offers suggestions of how to move that money around to help the poverty-stricken people in America. His ideas included creating jobs by the rich for the poor, introducing new charities through taxing the wealthy, promoting a religious revival, and finally just taking away the money and redistributing it where it was needed.

Capitalism is often looked upon as the great benefit of living in America. The biggest problem with capitalism, though, is that some people could fall between the cracks. If you are not willing to work or cannot work, you might be disadvantaged compared to the rest of society. Essentially, capitalism is the survival of the fittest. Those who can and are willing to put in a day of work will reap the rewards or a least enough money to sustain a living. Therefore, I believe the wealthy have earned their money and deserve to do whatever they want to with it.

A direct armed robbery of these peoples accounts is unlawful. Why should they be punished for their hard work ethic that got them where they are? I believe people would be more cautious about working hard if they were afraid that their hard earned money might be given to someone else; especially if that someone else is capable of working. A complacent attitude toward getting ahead would overcome the basic idea of a days work for a days pay.

Yes, the wealthy do control many of the industries, job markets, and stores, but they do not control all of them. If a person does not like the way they are being treated, they can always go somewhere else. No matter what the situation is: low wages, high prices, or an unsatisfying job a person has the power to go somewhere else, and that is another great freedom and benefit of living in America.

When people are given something without having to work for it, they usually do not take pride in it and, therefore, do not take very good care of it. All too often, I see people who live off the system and make no effort to do better. They are content living with what is given to them. They do not care that it is the work of others that is allowing them not to have to work. So to answer Dowies question,  Would the social conditions that made them poor disappear? I believe the answer is no.

Do not get me wrong. I do like to help people and children in need, but I feel that free handouts are not the best solution. Satisfying jobs and foundation endowments are the best ways to help children and people in need. This way the people giving the money can do it the way they choose, and I feel they have that right. Instead of coercing money from these people, offer them incentives that encourage them to give more.

It would be a good idea to monitor foundation assets closely to ensure that corrupt people are not using them to make more money. I am no financial expert, but I think that it would be safe to give more than 5% of the endowment fund each year. Caution in spending should also be taken to make sure that the endowment funds are not spent carelessly. If they are depleted on worthwhile projects, I do not believe any harm would be done. But, again, the government should be careful not to scare people away from donating because there are too many regulations on endowments.

Capitalism has increased the socioeconomic status between the wealthy and the poor. Capitalism has also allowed each person to decide how hard they want to work and how much money they want to make. If the wealthy were forced by legislation to give their money to the poor, I believe many of them would find ways to keep it just to defy the governments demands. A much better idea is to encourage foundation endowments by offering them incentives and some control over how their money is used. I firmly believe that every person who earns their own money should be able to determine what happens to their own earnings no matter how much they are worth.

-- Anonymous, January 10, 1999

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