STOSSEL: The Evil Rich
As Republicans struggle to agree on a tax plan, Democrats and much of the media label each attempt at reform a “gift” to rich people.
In one sense, they are right. Any tax cut disproportionately favors rich people since the rich pay much more tax.
But the media and Democrats (is there a difference?) are wrong because they routinely portray rich people as parasites who take from other people.
Flying Dog Brewery owner Jim Caruso objects to that kind of thinking. He took over a bankrupt brewery and made it successful by inventing new craft beers. I won’t buy his beers — with varieties like blood orange ale — but enough people like them that Caruso has become relatively rich.
He’s the kind of person Sen. Bernie Sanders rails about. “The top 1 percent,” complains Sanders, “earned 85 percent of all new income.”
That sounds unfair. But Caruso doesn’t see it that way.
“My goal in life is to be the best part of your day,” he told me. “You will have unequal outcomes (but) we all benefit from that.”
He’s right. Caruso provided consumers new choices and created more than 100 jobs.
But for my YouTube video this week, I pushed back: “The top fraction of earners has half the assets in this country. This ticks people off. They view it as evil.”
“Think about it this way,” responded Caruso. “Apple was the first company to be worth $800 billion dollars. I was curious, how much was (Apple founder) Steve Jobs worth in 2011 when he passed away? … Ten billion dollars! I did some quick calculations…”
His calculations revealed that because about 2 billion Apple devices were sold, Jobs collected about $5 for each device.
Isn’t your cellphone worth much more to you than $5? Mine is. It must be, since I just paid $800 for a new one. I got a machine worth hundreds of dollars to me, but the inventor got only $5.
“Steve might have been underpaid,” said Caruso. “The feeling tends to be that somebody like Steve Jobs took something away from everybody else … (but) what did Jobs take? … (H)e had this idea: Wouldn’t it be great to have a thousand songs in your pocket? (He created) one of the most massively important tools for productivity and communication in life!”
Generally, Jobs got a pass when the media attacked rich people, maybe because reporters liked Apple’s products. But other rich Americans are routinely labeled “parasites.” Sanders suggests that if some people have billions, the rest of us must have billions less.
But that’s not true, Caruso points out. “It’s that zero-sum game mentality: that somehow people who create stuff are taking it from other people. That’s simply inaccurate. It’s not a zero-sum game. They’re creating stuff that didn’t exist before.”
He’s right. It’s not as if there’s one pie and when rich people take a big piece, less is left for the rest of us. Billionaires like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, the Koch brothers, etc. got rich only by baking thousands of new pies.
Entrepreneurs create things; they don’t take from others.
Well, they do take if they conspire with government to get special deals — subsidies, bailouts, regulations that protect them from competition. But without government force, businesspeople get rich only by selling us things we willingly purchase.
We get to decide if we’d be better off with the products that creators offer to sell. Producers get to decide whether they can make enough money from those sales to make their efforts worth their while.
This mutually beneficial exchange is the heart of a market economy.
Government, on the other hand, only knows how to do two things: make you engage in exchanges you don’t want, and prevent you from engaging in exchanges you do want. With every order it issues, government makes the pie a little smaller.
As long as rich people don’t collude with government, they make our lives better.
John Stossel is author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed.” For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2017 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
Last Updated: Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 09:54:46 -0800
Stossel's prime-time specials on myths, parenting issues, sex and trends in pop culture rate among the top news programs and have earned him uncommon praise: "The most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time," said The Dallas Morning News. The Orlando Sentinel said he "has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound.
Stossel takes this reporting expertise and applies it to his weekly newspaper column for Creators Syndicate. Ready to cover topics newspaper readers care about, Stossel pokes fun at the ridiculous and lauds the excellent.
Newspaper editors may wonder whether Stossel's incredible TV ratings will translate from TV to print. The answer to that question is a resounding yes: A few years ago, HarperCollins published Stossel's book Give Me a Break, and readers (the same ones who read newspapers) made it a New York Times best seller for 11 weeks. His second book, from Hyperion, Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity, made the list for 13 weeks.
Stossel’s most recent special, Stupid in America, questioned why, despite the failures of socialism, America has a government-monopoly-run K-12 education.
Stossel's first special, Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death? examined exaggerated fears of things like chemicals and crime. It was followed by The Blame Game, which looked at Americans's tendency to blame their misfortunes on others. In You Can't Say That! he looked at the battle between free speech and censorship. He focused on bogus lawsuits in The Trouble With Lawyers and bogus scientific claims in Junk Science: What You Know That May Not Be So.
Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Among his other awards are the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.
He is a graduate of Princeton University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.
Read more from Stossel at http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/
Originally posted at http://get.creators.com/content/release/217320.