Via Insty, I stumbled across this article in the New Atlantic, written by a guy who sees that there is some kind of systemic problem in which wealth is disproportionately concentrating in the hands of the top earners in America. He also understands that raising the minimum wage is not going to address whatever problem that is, but he doesn’t actually seem to realize that the reason that money is concentrating in the hands of the already-wealthy and well-connected is NOT due to “capitalism” or the “free market” – it’s due to a particular kind of unfree market.
For instance, the revolving door between government bureaucrats and major corporations. Here’s the basics of how it works:
1. The Public perceives some sort of problem in relation to businesses acting poorly.
2. Legislative branch passes vague law to “fix” the problem by creating extra bureaucrats to make the regulations that will actually purportedly “fix” the problem. Big Business lobbyists ensure that the new law is nothing too bothersome for large corporations but will have an anti-competitive effect by making it extremely difficult for small businesses to expand to become real competition for the Large Corporations.
3. Bureaucrats take vague law and make up whatever specific regulations they consider “in line” with what the law was supposed to be fixing. Likelihood that the bureaucrats in question are being “kept sweet” by corporate lobbyists who are certainly not “bribing” regulators with any kind of special treatment or promises of future connections among the wealthy, oh no no no: HIGH.
4. Heads of Bureaucrat Division of Regulation “retire” from “public service” of making up new rules that crush free market competition and go on to land six-figure executive jobs at the Large Corporations they were ostensibly “regulating for the Common Good.” Continue to receive gold-plated public pension paid for by taxpayers while also receiving annual six-figure salary from Big Business as head of “regulation compliance” department. Scores cushy jobs for spouse and kids, if any, as well.
You see how that works?
The reason that inequality is growing is that THE PEOPLE in GOVERNMENT WANT IT TO. All that money is going straight into the hands of themselves, their spouses, their families, and their best buddies. That’s why they like talking about “raising minimum wage” because it fools the STUPID PEOPLE into thinking “Aww, they care!” when the truth of the matter is that the incomes of the 1% are, for the most part, totally dependent on government interference in the economy.
For another example: rich and well-connected bankers’ financial-empire businesses can get practically interest-free loans from the government. When’s the last time a minimum wage worker, or anybody else, for that matter, got an interest-free loan from any banking system anywhere? Never. The politicians in the government make sure that the money flows upward to the aristocratic class, i.e., themselves. Meanwhile, the results of Quantitative Easing ad infinitum and “adjusting” the “inflation statistics” to exclude the things everyone buys (like food and fuel) hides the fact that the whole reason “minimum wage” isn’t a “living wage” is that the government made it that way.
Remember this: anyone who talks about how bad income inequality is, and wants the government to mandate higher minimum wage as a solution, is either a useful idiot or a stooge of the 1%.
Oh, and conservatives? Please start acknowledging the fact that a great many of the “rich” only got that way by manipulating politics and not because they earned any of their wealth. Yes, envy is bad. However, there is a legitimate case to be made that many of today’s wealthy people – Bill Gates-types notwithstanding, I guess, though to get that big you gotta play politics – are gaining their wealth not through providing value to others but by using the government’s power to crush the competition. Wealthy celebrities, pro sports players, and Guys Who Build Neat Stuff Like Computers are not the problem. The unholy trinity of Big Business, Big Labor, and Big Government have created a class of wealthy and politically powerful people who are a problem – because they write the laws, but the laws never seem to apply to them. There IS no “even playing field” because the market is not free. Instead of preaching against envy the whole time, start pointing out to the Idiot Masses Who Fail Economics Forever that, hey, those rich guys over there? ARE CHEATING. These rich guys over here? They got that way through honest labor, and you could do that too… as long as we start getting rid of the cheaters.