Friday, January 27, 2006

"Study Finds Rich-Poor Income Gap Growing"

Shocker. Could the headline have said "Study Finds Fat-Skinny Gap Growing"? Anyway, from the AP:
The disparity between rich and poor is growing in America as the federal minimum wage has remained flat for years, union membership has declined and industries have faced global competition, according to a study released Thursday.

The report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, both liberal-leaning think tanks, found the incomes of the poorest 20 percent of families nationally grew by an average of $2,660, or 19 percent, over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, the incomes of the richest fifth of families grew by $45,100, or nearly 59 percent, the study by the Washington-based groups said.

Families in the middle fifth saw their incomes rise 28 percent, or $10,218.
This is going to come across as insensitive, so I need you fine folks to do me a HUGE favor and remind me later to care about the perceived insensitivity, m'kay? Thanks in advance.

First, note the study groups: "liberal-leaning think tanks." Nuff said there.

Secondly, nobody lives on minimum wage! Rarely does anyone even try to live off of minimum wage. Minimum wage jobs are starter jobs, for college or high school kids, or retirees looking for some extra cash, or some other kind of part-time work. I've worked for minimum wage before...when I was in high school and college! If a man with little to no education or marketable skills knocks up a woman and insists on supporting a family off of minimum wage, I'd like to know just why in the hell is it anyone else's fault but his (and hers, for that matter)?

While on the topic of minimum wage, where does the government get off interfering with a voluntary working agreement between an employer and an employee? The market should determine the prevailing wage rate, not some government pencil-pushers! if the boss is wanting you pay you less, convince him/her you're worth more...or go work somewhere else where they will pay you more.

Thirdly, I have a hard time seeing how "declining union membership" makes people poorer. It might make unions poorer, but how someone with extra money in his/her check that was going to the union gets poorer defies reasoning.

Speaking of unions, unions are always pushing for increases in minimum wage. Why? After all, their union members don't make minimum wage, right? Well, their interest lies in the fact that most unions' bargaining agreements tie the unions' minimum wage to the federal minimum wage. So if the federal minimum wage increases, so do union members' wages...which means, so do union dues coffers! Way to look out for the little guy, unions! Keep that in mind when you hear union mouthpieces complain about the minimum wage.

Finally, poverty is overwhelmingly a way of thinking. Sure, bad things happen to good people. However, the overwhelming majority of those in poverty have failed to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities this country has for them: free education, job training, learning marketable skills, etc. They have neglected to take seriously their schooling and careers. Instead, folks mired in poverty have adopted a mindset that perpetuates their poverty. Look no further than what happened in New Orleans during Katrina.

However, successful people have taken their education, careers, and finances seriously. The overwhelming majority of "rich" people in this country were NOT born into wealth. They actually (could it be true?) earned it! Also, success isn't defined by money. I would argue that teachers, cops, soldiers, firefighters, and anyone else that has taken their education and/or careers seriously are successful, even if their paychecks don't always reflect it. However, successful people adopt the proper mindset. I'm not rich, but by God, I am successful!

In other words, the "rich" will continue to do the same things they've always done that has gotten them rich, and the "poor" will continue to do the same things they've always done that has kept them poor. It's human nature, and no amount of government interference or liberal think-tank studies will change this aspect of human behavior.

Neal Boortz once said that your success in life can be virtually guaranteed if you adhere to four things: (1) don't have kids you're not in a position to take care of financially; (2) don't do drugs; (3) take your education seriously; (4) get a job that you will like and be good at. That's overly simplistic to an extent, but by and large, he is correct.