The IMF “has identified the gap between rich and poor” as an important problem. Novel.

posted at 6:31 pm on January 19, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

The zero-sum assumption that income inequality is an inherent cause of economic injustice in and of itself rather than an effect of a still larger problem of economic growth is a populist tale as old as time, and it isn’t just American progressives deciding to make it their especial issue of the year. The Financial Times reports that the esteemed financiers and bureaucrats of the world are once again conferring this week, and “the World Economic Forum has identified the gap between the rich and poor as an important theme for this year’s gathering”:

The International Monetary Fund has highlighted the threat posed to the global economy by growing income inequality as the world’s business and political leaders prepare to head off to the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, is concerned that the fruits of economic activity in many countries are not being widely shared.

“Business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum should remember that in far too many countries the benefits of growth are being enjoyed by far too few people. This is not a recipe for stability and sustainability,” she told the Financial Times. …

The message is hitting home. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, is coming to Switzerland with the message that Japanese companies must raise wages, while the government of David Cameron, his UK counterpart who is also attending the forum, called for a large inflation-busting rise in the British minimum wage last week.

So, I’d imagine, these guys will be talking about exactly what our own darling Democrats plan to campaign upon: More government intervention; more financial regulation; higher taxation on the ill-begotten wealthy; coercing private-sector companies into doing things like raising wages because it’s the “fair” thing to do rather than the profitable thing to do (as if those two agenda items are mutually exclusive); and etcetera. In a nutshell, all of the old-and-tired non-solutions that will pretty much ensure the problem of income inequality persists, rather than relieving it with a freer, more fluid and robust economy capable of creating more wealth for more people. Goody.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

No. More. Big. Government…

OmahaConservative on January 19, 2014 at 6:38 PM

…must raise wages

That always works. Oh, and while they’re at it, the government can tax the newly wealthy to pay those without a job. This will make them wealthy too. Everybody will have lots of money. You just won’t be able to buy anything with it, but you’ll have lots of money.

Fenris on January 19, 2014 at 6:40 PM

To be studied and whined about by the richest people on the planet glibly flying on junkets to conferences while dining like Byzantine royalty as they masticate this problem and then pontificate from their detached reality known as Progressive-ville.

profitsbeard on January 19, 2014 at 6:43 PM

Well I feel better… unicorns are sporting on the lawn dropping gum drops everywhere… we can all sit back and put up our feet now…the IMF is going to redistribute everyone’s money to combat income inequality.

I wonder when they’ll take up productivity inequality, too.

thatsafactjack on January 19, 2014 at 6:43 PM

I understand that lifespan inequality can be solved too….

ElectricPhase on January 19, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Speaking of the IMF,..KaBul KaBlewy,
Alot of Accountants,and Financial Re
lated got wiped out:

Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the IMF’s Resident Representative in Afghanistan
Press Release No. 14/14
January 17, 2014

Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made the following statement today on the death of Mr. Wabel Abdallah, the IMF’s Resident Representative in Afghanistan:

“We have just learned that our dear colleague and friend Wabel Abdallah, our Resident Representative in Afghanistan, was killed in an attack at a restaurant in Kabul in which many people were killed. This is tragic news, and we at the Fund are all devastated.

“Our hearts go out to Wabel’s family and friends, as well as the other victims of this attack.”

Mr. Wabel Abdallah, 60, a Lebanese national, was appointed Resident Representative in June 2008. He joined the Fund from the Central Bank of Lebanon in 1993, and has held various IMF positions, especially on the IMF’s activities and operations in the Middle East.

http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2014/pr1414.htm

http://www.imf.org/external/index.htm

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Hey, Erika.

Prediction for 2014……..biggest buzzword of the year?……”Inequality”.

PappyD61 on December 30, 2013 at 9:18 AM

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 6:45 PM

That probably should have been:

Hey, Erica.

__________________________________

And then

__________________________________

Prediction for 2014……..biggest buzzword of the year?……”Inequality”.

PappyD61 on December 30, 2013 at 9:18 AM

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Where are all the trolls.

RickB on January 19, 2014 at 6:52 PM

I live the idea of income equality. I quit my job, and Warren Buffet gives me half of what he makes in a year (including the value of benefits).

malclave on January 19, 2014 at 6:55 PM

2013 was the year where issues of income inequality, raised by the Occupy Movement in 2011, stressed by Pope Francis and, belatedly, by President Obama finally came to the fore of American politics. It is likely they will remain there for some time to come. Income inequality is not new in American politics, but the attention it received in 2013 was. While President Obama’s recent speech on the topic is unlikely to lead to significant efforts to address income inequality, it demonstrates that the issue is firmly in the mainstream, for now.

Income inequality is different, because looking at economic conditions through the lens of equality means not only seeing that it is a problem that some lack enough money for housing, food or other necessities, but that it is also a problem that wealth is highly concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of extremely rich people. More importantly, looking at income inequality examines the causal relationships between significant concentrations of wealth on one hand and widespread economic duress on the other and questions whether accumulation of enormous wealth by a few contributes to the economic struggles of others. This may seem obvious to some, but it also raises a major challenge to the generally accepted constructs on which American economic policy rests.

2014 will be an important year for addressing issues of income inequality. Either whatever momentum now exists will be lost, or we will see the beginnings of change. If the latter is the case, it is likely that income inequality will be an issue in the 2016 presidential election.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lincoln-mitchell/income-inequality-in-2014_b_4531731.html

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Prediction for 2014……..biggest buzzword of the year?……”Inequality”.

PappyD61 on December 30, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Robert Reich is peddling a “documentary” on inequality to college campuses around the country, no doubt ending the presentation with a not-so-subtle hint to check out which political party’s platform it basically parrots.

Squirrel! to the kiddies to distract them from their lousy job prospects and student debt?

Wethal on January 19, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Even Fortune magazine:

Addressing economic inequality in 2014
By Eleanor Bloxham, CEO of The Value Alliance December 13, 2013: 5:00 AM ET

The central threat to capitalism today is snowballing inequality. There’s a lot that could be done to turn the tide, if we muster the will. Here’s how we can start.

http://tinyurl.com/lqt7mv4

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, is concerned that the fruits of economic activity in many countries are not being widely shared.
=========================================================================

The Hopey Doctrine:

(Exerpt from German TV Hopey Interview
Jan 18 2014)
=============

CK:
On a personal note a last question, although I am g
etting a signal. I was there covering your
speech at the victory column, standing about one hu
ndred feet from you, one of the most
exciting assignments I had. What you cannot know th
at hundreds of meters away, people
who couldn’t even see the stage, certainly not you,
were listening in a way that you heard a
pin drop. There was so much hope and expectation in
the air of Berlin on that day. And to-
day, five years into the presidency, our polls indi
cate this has basically melted away. A lot of
disappointment in your policy and performance has e
stablished itself. So how do you think
that could happen?

BO:

Well, look. I think that the nature of being presid
ent of the United States is that you are steer-
ing a massive ship. And I have a clear vision, whic
h I described in Berlin that day and which I
described in speeches that I made when I was runnin
g for office in 2008,

of where I think we
need to go,

of how we uphold dignity and freedom of
all individuals,

of how countries should
relate to each other,

of how we should promote econ
omic growth that is good for all people

and not just those at the very top.

And those value
s continue to drive what I do every day.
Where disappointment typically comes in, and this i
s natural, is that people think I am driving
a speed boat and that I can…

CK:
You would rather.

BO:
…quickly move in that direction and I get there and
by this time, four years after the fact,

I
would have ended all wars and I would have brought
the world together

and the economy
would be humming along.

And, unfortunately, althoug
h I would love to be in that position, the
president of the United States is not emperor of th
e world. I am one figure, one man in this
broader process and what I try to do, then, is to,
every single day, move us a little bit closer
to that vision I set. And my hope is that at the en
d of my presidency, over the course of eight
years, there will be a body of work where people wi
ll say:(More…)
================

http://www.heute.de/ZDF/zdfportal/blob/31540850/1/data.pdf

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Who is the bony ol’ fugly hag in the pic?

OmahaConservative on January 19, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Worsening income inequality is the risk most likely to cause serious damage around the globe in the coming decade, the World Economic Forum said in a report ahead of its annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, next week.

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-world-economic-forum-income-inequality-20140117,0,5617460.story#axzz2qtP41dkx

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Well, since the New Ice Age is sending their junk science crashing, I suppose they had to think up a new scam for income redistribution (administered by the appropriate international entities, of course).

Wethal on January 19, 2014 at 7:12 PM

How wonderful that these incredibly rich people care about the plight of the poor, that makes everything better.

Shay on January 19, 2014 at 7:15 PM

The left always tell you who they hate and in this case they give the game away…

The “gap” between rich and poor is the middle class and they are killing the middle class. Game over.

katy on January 19, 2014 at 7:15 PM

…so I will get JugEars income and royalties the use of an airplane and my green fees will be covered?

KOOLAID2 on January 19, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Results for #Inequality
***********************

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Inequality&src=hash

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:16 PM

The film Reich is peddling on college campuses (it won an award at Sundance) for documentary is called “Inequality for All.”

I wonder if he realizes the irony of the title. Socialism is shared poverty.

Wethal on January 19, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Move over IMF:

Income gap poses biggest threat to global community, warns WEF
World Economic Forum survey identifies inequality as biggest flashpoint as well as extreme weather and unemployment
Thursday 16 January 2014 12.38 GMT
**********************************

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/16/income-gap-biggest-risk-global-community-world-economic-forum?CMP=twt_gu

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:18 PM

“Since personal attributes or virtues cannot be “redistributed,” they [the egalitarians] seek to deprive men of their consequences — of the rewards, the benefits, the achievements created by personal attributes and virtues. It is not equality before the law that they seek, but inequality: the establishment of an inverted social pyramid, with a new aristocracy on top — the aristocracy of non-value.”

– Ayn Rand

[Quite prophetic considering The Great Non-Value (aka Zero) presently sitting atop today's new American aristocracy: the political class ...]

ShainS on January 19, 2014 at 7:18 PM

WEF
***

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
=====================

http://www.weforum.org/

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Of course inequality has its own website. They are suggesting pay ratio.

The question then, Who decides?

Could 2014 Be Year One of the Pay Ratio Era?

Posted on January 5, 2014 by Inequality.org Staff

In the year ahead, nurses and college students just might jump-start the struggle against America’s chronic — and growing — income inequality.

Students and allied faculty and staff at Maryland’s St. Mary’s College are working to limit their college’s top pay to ten times the pay of the institution’s lowest-paid workers.

Students and allied faculty and staff at Maryland’s St. Mary’s College are working to limit their college’s top compensation to ten times the pay of the institution’s lowest-paid workers.

From the White House to the Vatican, everyone these days seems to be talking about income inequality. But our politics hasn’t kept up. Concrete proposals that could actually narrow the gap between the rich and the rest of us haven’t yet moved onto our public policy center stage. [Emphasis added]

http://inequality.org/2014-year-pay-ratio-era/

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Who is the bony ol’ fugly hag in the pic?

OmahaConservative on January 19, 2014 at 7:09 PM

I believe that’s Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

ShainS on January 19, 2014 at 7:22 PM

The IMF “has identified the gap between rich and poor” as an important problem. Novel.

It disturbs me that such as Newton, Darwin, and Einstein were all so much more intelligent and industrious than their contemporaries. It’s just not fair. Everyone should be equal. I mean, who can argue with THAT?

/but some will be more equal than others; trust me on that

Paul-Cincy on January 19, 2014 at 7:25 PM

*Exerpts)

The Global Economy in 2014

By Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF
National Press Club, Washington DC
January 15, 2014

AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
************************

• In far too many countries,

the benefits of growth are being enjoyed by far too few people.

Just to give one example:

in the United States, 95 percent of income gains since 2009 went to the top 1 percent.

This is not a recipe for stability and sustainability.

• What about the low-income countries? Here, the news is generally good. These countries have really become a bright spot. Now is the time to lock in these gains and build stronger defenses against either direct or consequential external shocks, including by raising more revenue. In addition, countries should keep spending selectively on important social programs and infrastructure projects.

http://www.imf.org/external/np/speeches/2014/011514.htm

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Who is the bony ol’ fugly hag in the pic?

OmahaConservative on January 19, 2014 at 7:09 PM

OmahaConservative: Heres a better angle:0
==========================================

https://twitter.com/Lagarde/status/409316230269386752/photo/1/large

https://twitter.com/Lagarde

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:28 PM

In today’s United States, the American worker has so many forces going against him/her: the federal government, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (trying to depress wages via amnesty), GOP establishment types like Ryan and Boehner (who are owned by the Chamber of Commerce and multi-national corporations (looking to hire H1-B workers at lower wages and benefits).

I feel sorry for our children and grandchildren.

bw222 on January 19, 2014 at 7:31 PM

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:28 PM

You remember the song “Bette Davis Eyes?”

Christine Lagarde has a “Barbara Streisand Nose.”

bw222 on January 19, 2014 at 7:34 PM

“No greater challenge”:

Forget Obamacare in 2014. Democrats think income inequality will be the issue that drives the outcome of the off-year election, and plan to harp on it in the U.S. Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) already brought up the widening gap between the rich and the poor twice this week, most recently in his Thursday Capitol Hill news conference with the Senate Democratic leadership team.

There is no greater challenge this country has than income inequality, and we must do something about it,” Reid said, pledging January passage of a $25 billion extension of the emergency unemployment benefits that expire Dec. 28 for 1.3 million people.

Reid was echoed by two of his deputies, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). [Emphasis added]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/19/income-inequality-democrats_n_4475727.html

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Fighting poverty is like fighting illiteracy. It’s a misunderstanding. You can’t fight the lack of something. It’s a cognitive error. You need to make it something. I mean … if you focus on the negative, you’re not going to get anywhere. The positive must be working at a job, or learning to read, or otherwise helping yourself. Promoting work, promoting literacy. Not fighting poverty, or fighting illiteracy.

To talk about the gap between people fosters negative, base emotions. The politics of envy, the liberal way.

/ “Thou shall not covet”

Paul-Cincy on January 19, 2014 at 7:36 PM

/but some will be more equal than others; trust me on that

Paul-Cincy on January 19, 2014 at 7:25 PM

You betcha. Those who deem themselves higher up the evolutionary tree will benevolently help us lesser equals in our evolutionary journey.

It’s for our own good.

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 7:38 PM

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:28 PM

You remember the song “Bette Davis Eyes?”

Christine Lagarde has a “Barbara Streisand Nose.”

bw222 on January 19, 2014 at 7:34 PM

bw222:Lol, good one,..scrolling down her twitter to that image,
reminded me of a Seinfeld episode:)

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:39 PM

I feel sorry for our children and grandchildren.

bw222 on January 19, 2014 at 7:31 PM

Yep.

You know, when you consider that the national debt is over $200 trillion (when unfunded liabilities are included) and exponentially growing … sometime soon, most all Americans — of course, excepting the political-class elite — will be most assuredly very equal in poverty …

The only (purely academic at that point) question will be: did it occur via intentional design or the willful evasion of reality?

ShainS on January 19, 2014 at 7:40 PM

The film Reich is peddling on college campuses (it won an award at Sundance) for documentary is called “Inequality for All.”

Wethal on January 19, 2014 at 7:16 PM

It’s hardly inequality for all. Just the middle class. The elites, regardless of party affiliation, will still have theirs. You don’t see the Clintons or the Bushes volunteering to share part of their fortunes with the poor. Heck, the Bushes probably still have some Deutsche marks from the Prescott Bush days.

bw222 on January 19, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Look to China. No, really:

When President Richard Nixon arrived in Beijing in 1972, Chairman Mao Zedong — with his Marxist revolution, Great Leap Forward and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution — had achieved an equality unrivaled anywhere.

That is, until Pol Pot came along.
There seemed to be no private cars on Beijing’s streets. In the stores, there was next to nothing on the shelves. The Chinese all seemed dressed in the same blue Mao jackets.

Today there are billionaires and millionaires in China, booming cities, a huge growing middle class and, yes, hundreds of millions of peasants still living on a few dollars a day.

Hence, there is far greater inequality in China today than in 1972.

Yet, is not the unequal China of today a far better place for the Chinese people than the Communist ant colony of Mao?

Lest we forget, it is freedom that produces inequality.

Even a partly free nation unleashes the natural and acquired abilities of peoples, and the more industrious and talented inevitably excel and rise and reap the greater rewards. “Inequality … is rooted in the biological nature of man,” said James Fenimore Cooper.

http://www.tpnn.com/2014/01/02/obamas-inequality-marxist-scam/

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Obama’s Powerful Speech On Income Inequality

The gap between America’s rich and everyone else has grown to unprecedented levels at a time when upward social mobility has …
====================================================

Fox’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck Knocks Obama’s ‘Class Warfare’ Speech: ‘He Is the System’ He Criticizes

Fox & Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck criticized President Barack Obama’s recent speech about income inequality, arguing …
============================================================

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Obamas%20Inequality%20speech&sm=12

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Hmmm what would be easiest and quickest way of ‘solving’ the problem?

What about simple expedient of mass debt write-offs and and a ‘tax on savings’ in response to a ‘Serious Cloward – piven crisis’ that crops up to do the trick:

IMF Paper: Debt-Ridden Western Nations May Resort to ‘Financial Repression’
(CNSNews) – The highest debt-to-GDP levels in 200 years could force advanced Western nations to adopt “financial repression” measures typically reserved for economically unstable debtor nations, including mass write-offs and a tax on savings, warns a working paper published last week by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Could this be what the socialists are leading us to?

Galt2009 on January 19, 2014 at 7:48 PM

The film Reich is peddling on college campuses (it won an award at Sundance) for documentary is called “Inequality for All.”

Wethal on January 19, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Wethal: As in …And Justice For All Trailer:0
================================================

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQzYNoLANrg

canopfor on January 19, 2014 at 7:48 PM

The IMF “has identified the gap between rich and poor” as an important problem. Novel.

It disturbs me that such as Newton, Darwin, and Einstein were all so much more intelligent and industrious than their contemporaries. It’s just not fair. Everyone should be equal. I mean, who can argue with THAT?

/but some will be more equal than others; trust me on that

Paul-Cincy on January 19, 2014 at 7:25 PM

HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

“THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing
vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.”

Wethal on January 19, 2014 at 7:51 PM

Naturally, the people that run the IMF are filthy rich.

sadatoni on January 19, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Remember when poverty was a societal ill, not “inequality?”

I guess that’s the way the left/media addresses people not having enough money when a Democrat is President: point out other people who have earned more than they need.

HitNRun on January 19, 2014 at 8:09 PM

I’m spending the rest of my cash on developing a TARDIS type machine, to take me either to either 1920s Weimar Republic or a circa 2008 Zimbabwe.

Either of those places are going to be heaven, compared to the hell that 0bama, UN and IMF policies are going unleash on the national and world economy in the next few years.

Gonna take ONE OF THESE to haul enough cash to buy the wheelbarrows to transport the redistributed fiat that it will take to buy a loaf of bread.

LegendHasIt on January 19, 2014 at 8:12 PM

I understand that lifespan inequality can be solved too….

ElectricPhase on January 19, 2014 at 6:44 PM

.
Oooooooooooooooooh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OUCH !

listens2glenn on January 19, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Could this be what the socialists are leading us to?

Galt2009 on January 19, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Yes.

A tax on savings is a safe bet. You have a CD drawing 1.5% and is taxed at 2.5%–for starters. After, or concurrent with, a federal government takeover of pensions both public and private and will be payed out at a discount with funny money. We see articles almost daily about the pension “crisis.” A problem created and now needing a solution.

And when the “quantitative easing” (read, “printing” money) that Bernanke has been doing for several years finally gets liquid and all the CDs and 401ks and all the other “tax free” savings and debt forgiveness money flood the economy hyper hyperinflation will rip loose.

The collapse, unless we can get people into D. C. to do the hard and painful things that need to be done, is inevitable.

I think we’re doomed.

Let’s kill some more babies.

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 8:19 PM

LegendHasIt on January 19, 2014 at 8:12 PM

That’s what I meant to say.

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 8:25 PM

I did go back and check and productivity is determined by dividing the US output by labor hours worked. Thus the liberal pose that worker productivity has increased is probably not true, at least at the minimum wage level. I would posit that machines have replaced people and are not counted in the productivity calculations. As the machine productivity is assigned to people, it seems as though workers are more productive. I would posit this is not true.

However, in developed countries, the quality of life of the poorest (at least those on the public dole) is far better than that of 50 years ago.

The big problem is figuring out how to deal with decreasing labor requirements as machines take over so much labor. Do we reduce the work week? Increase the earned income tax benefit? Require a very basic set of minimum benefits to kick in at 20 hours per week? Encourage shared schedule postitions? Eliminate mortgage deductions (which generally provide greater advantages to higher earners and drive up property prices)? Have the government provide a very minimum basic set of healthcare to everyone, with the ability to buy insurance if you want something better?

Income inequality will continue to rise as the economy becomes more global and resources can be concentrated in a smaller number of mega corporations. It would seem that it couldn’t be stopped, and the negative involved has to be balanced with the improvements in quality of life for everyone.

Pretending that increasing the minimum wage will do anything but accelerate the replacement of men by machines will drive the inequality process higher and faster.

talkingpoints on January 19, 2014 at 8:26 PM

The IMF “has identified the gap between rich and poor” as an important problem. Novel.

It disturbs me that such as Newton, Darwin, and Einstein were all so much more intelligent and industrious than their contemporaries. It’s just not fair. Everyone should be equal. I mean, who can argue with THAT?

/but some will be more equal than others; trust me on that

Paul-Cincy on January 19, 2014 at 7:25 PM

HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

“THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing
vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.”

Wethal on January 19, 2014 at 7:51 PM

I read it in High School. I thought it was fiction–that Vonnegut was such a kook.

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 8:29 PM

That’s what I meant to say.
davidk on January 19, 2014 at 8:25 PM

Heh, well, don’t let me stop you. Bears repeating.
;-)

LegendHasIt on January 19, 2014 at 8:33 PM

Could this be what the socialists are leading us to?

Galt2009 on January 19, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Yes.

A tax on savings is a safe bet. You have a CD drawing 1.5% and is taxed at 2.5%–for starters. After, or concurrent with, a federal government takeover of pensions both public and private and will be payed out at a discount with funny money. We see articles almost daily about the pension “crisis.” A problem created and now needing a solution.

And when the “quantitative easing” (read, “printing” money) that Bernanke has been doing for several years finally gets liquid and all the CDs and 401ks and all the other “tax free” savings and debt forgiveness money flood the economy hyper hyperinflation will rip loose.

The collapse, unless we can get people into D. C. to do the hard and painful things that need to be done, is inevitable.

I think we’re doomed.

Let’s kill some more babies.

davidk on January 19, 2014 at 8:19 PM

And these are not random events – it would seem to be all part of a plan.

Galt2009 on January 19, 2014 at 8:58 PM

The IMF “has identified the gap between rich and poor” as an important problem.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

petefrt on January 19, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Except to the Dems they see the middle class as wealthy. To a “progressive” income equality means everyone (except themselves, of course) should be poor.

neyney on January 19, 2014 at 9:56 PM

Democrats worry about “inequality of results” (i.e., income) whereas what we should really be worried about is “inequality of opportunity”.

furytrader on January 19, 2014 at 10:20 PM

By the way, the intention of the International Monetary Fund was to assist in the reconstruction of the world’s international payment system post–World War II.

Seems like that job has been completed.

So why the hell are they still around?

furytrader on January 19, 2014 at 10:22 PM

So why the hell are they still around?
furytrader on January 19, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Same reason that when Polio was defeated March Of Dimes just changed to another cause, so that its executives wouldn’t have to go find a job in the private sector.

Same reason that the Global Warming scam changed to the Climate Change scam when it became apparent that the globe was cooling due to solar cycles. Can’t let all those people raking in big bucks lose their jobs and have to compete in the real world.

LegendHasIt on January 19, 2014 at 10:32 PM

Dat Sebelius? She of the silverfied heyya?

Sherman1864 on January 19, 2014 at 11:55 PM

Let me get this straight. The real money people who control the world think there’s a money gap between the rich and the poor? Really? They think that? And, they will give away there billions and billions to alleviate that, right? Didn’t think so.

HiJack on January 20, 2014 at 12:49 AM

their, not there

HiJack on January 20, 2014 at 12:49 AM

Everyone should also weigh the same, just like in North Korea.

Shy Guy on January 20, 2014 at 7:23 AM

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. – Winston Churchill

Equal people are never free and free people ae never equal – Lawrence Reed

Because human nature sucks, there will always be inequality of wealth. All government attempts to eliminate the gap will make it worse. Deal with it. – me

fastphil101 on January 20, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Wake up manipulators of the world-we’re wise to you. Since when has a “gap” been in and of itself intrinsically evil-to be equated with the hopelessly poor?

There is a gap between a mere millionaire and a billionaire (think Oprah or Katie Couric) but neither of them are starving and Katie is not financially destitute because Oprah has many times her wealth.

And so it is with the hordes crossing our borders who seek illegally to have a more materialistic life.
“Inequality” or a “gap” are but another word-weapon from the diabolical left.

Don L on January 20, 2014 at 9:36 AM

As conservatives we want to weigh freedom against the power that some billionaires are able to gain, for instance, we don’t like George Soros’ power as a political force. We don’t want our government bailing out his losses, and we don’t like the idea that he promotes the idea of higher taxes with his money, but then skips out on his tax bill in the countries he has used up and thrown away. So many issues collide in the murky malfaesance. He also seems to be out there with his cash throwing the poor a bone, not really interested in economic markets opening up or jobs. I think he is buying off the liberals to look the other way on HIS wealth, all the while encouraging them to see groups as The Rich and The Poor. There is not much point in comparing the poor to billionaires. Or comparing American small business to a person like Soros.

In terms of comparison of the the “haves” and “have nots” in the United States, the “haves” have only a little more than the “have nots,” and the billionaires are an anomaly. You can’t compare a billionaire’s worth to that of an ordinary person, to any meaningful effect. The use of the terms 1% and 99% really don’t paint the correct picture, the billionaires throw off any curve. In a science experiment you would throw their data out for lying outside the useful data.

You cannot regulate the top 1% or top 10% to get at the hair’s breath of billionaires, it is unfair to so many people. The best you can do is to make sure that billionaires operate their empires in a lawful manner. Requiring ethics, lawfulness. Making sure that the anti-trust laws aim at the proper infractions of harm to our economy. That they don’t actually regulate or control people as if they were subjects to an empire, that freedom has to remain, that you have to be free to reject a Soros or his empire. It is quite complicated. Should we all be restricted in our abilities to make or earn money or invest, because there are a few billionaires? You can work that question out in both directions. A family in the United States made a lot of money selling candy. But YOU can sell candy too. As long as you don’t pay politicians to stop people from making candy or restrict their business in some way. It gets harder when we start talking about money, banking, investments…

If you were a guy like George Soros, you might give the people in government some of your money for their political campaigns so they would look the other way on things you want done? The trouble is, in the U.S. the media calls that campaign finance, not influence peddling. However, there is nothing that a billionaire can do, that might not look political, because they are an anomaly.

George Soros has been convicted of insider trading and also lost his appeal in France. I don’t know if it is fair or not, I don’t like him. But then he says they added rules to get him retroactively…could be? He did lose that appeal. But Martha Stewart…you know a competitor to Sandra Lee, first lady mistress of NYS, went to jail *not for insider trading*, but for lying about an entry erased by her secretary in a diary in front of FBI agents…

While the surreal world of billionaires certainly does affect us, we cannot use them to make the rules. There are only under half a million people in the country of 311 million people who possess money in the millions, and fewer who earn in the millions every year. Should the rules be shaped for everyone because you don’t like millionaires? They say if you took ALL their cash, you don’t pay the bills this government spends in a year. See how the cash disappears when property and cash are confiscated, say in a country like Venezuela?

Talk about a 1% can’t be metaphorically correct, or even talk of a 10%. The debate or argument has to focus on facts of real issues. Say what you mean. In our country a person on benefits can have the equivalent cash wherewithall of the average lower middle class worker. What percent are THEY living in? Some of them…are in the 47%. So, why would they be complaining???

Fleuries on January 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Interesting that the IMF and Obama are both accidentally bemoaning “inequality” as the political evil de jour.
How transparent these leftist re for those that don’t drink their Kool-Aid.

Don L on January 20, 2014 at 11:04 AM

If inequality is the problem, can someone please show me exactly what the solution looks like?

SomeCallMeJohn on January 21, 2014 at 2:12 PM