Far from being obsessed with the process of wealth creation, progressives seem to be entirely oblivious to how wealth is created.
They seem to grasp neither the preconditions for it, the character traits necessary to do it, the process of capital improvement that enables it, the importance of competitive markets to signal the most effective possible uses of capital, the crucial property rights that are the foundation to enterprise, or how their policies threaten not only all of the above, but which confiscate wealth after its been created and thereby rob future enterprises of the necessary capital to produce more wealth and more jobs.
Instead, their answer to virtually ever social and economic problem is to put more of our wealth and power into the hands of a centralised government to direct those scarce resources and to coerce human action. -Because; "fairness and equality."
Earning better incomes is only one part of the equation to increased personal wealth.
Another part, perhaps more importantly, is what one does with their earnings. Household incomes have never been higher yet almost half of America pays no income tax, and almost half of America has no net worth. Why? They spend like crazy and they have huge debt! Why? Because they want to purchase on credit, now, what their parents waited years to pay cash for.
We spend more money than ever on new luxuries, the latest technologies, entertainment and dining out. Stadiums, concert halls, restaurants, and movie theatres are packed. Everyone lives like they are upper middle class. Hardly anyone is frugal, and almost everyone is trying to keep up with the Joneses.
What a person makes has little to do with whether they are good at saving and frugality.
It should be obvious that today's American (particularly the lower half) is a slave to consumerism. Consumer spending has never been higher. We simply spend too much and save too little.
The truth is: the rich AND the poor are getting richer. This one graph obliterates almost everything the dems are whining about regarding our economy. If lifting the poor out of poverty is truly the goal, Reaganomics (supply-side economics) has proven itself to be the rising tide that lifts all boats. Not to mention the two billion people who've been lifted out of grinding poverty in India and China by incentivising productive activity and increased trade.
It's as if people are denying the facts that consumer spending on non-essentials has skyrocketed, and that more Americans are making more than they ever have. I don't doubt that there are still many who are doing worse, but as a whole, we are going quite well. The road to prosperity is wide open to anyone who is willing to follow its guides. The standard of living has increased dramatically since before long before Johnson. We are still the envy of the world. Just look at which country people move to most to increase their incomes. It isn't Cuba, by the way, where a guaranteed income has been ruining that country for most of a century now.
The problem is that people waste their wealth making bad purchasing decisions. It costs far less today to live the way most people did fifty years ago. There are an almost infinite number of places in America where is tremendously cheaper to live today than it was fifty years ago.
Westerners live in much greater prosperity than they did a century ago, and exponentially better than they did two hundred years ago. Two billion people have been lifted out of abject poverty in the third world because of market capitalism. The answer isn't to rearrange the incentives to prosperous activity, it is to reinforce them.
People live in cities with expensive housing like it is a necessity and a right, rather than a luxury. People feel entitled to the newest iPhones, newer cars, and eating out regularly. They didn't feel that way fifty years ago. They didn't have one spouse working to pay for day care so they could raise their kids by proxy. They didn't stuff their lives with worthless stuff that loses almost all of its resale value immediately. Walmart, Target, Meier, Cosco, etc, not to mention Amazon, have driven down prices and increased quality for almost everything we buy. The dollar goes farther than ever before because of fierce competition in a global marketplace, and that benefits the poor the most. You don't see the upper classes shopping at those stores. Plenitude abounds all around us.
The data is clear, and real world experience supports the facts.
People have higher expectations than ever. There are more malcontents. There is more avarice and envy. There is less frugality. There are fewer people who understand common sense economics. More people want to blame others for their mistakes. The road to prosperity in America has never been more open to everyone, wider, smoother or easier to climb. Sadly more people feel entitled to free-load on the freeway.
One of the most destructive things perpetrated on the livelihood of the American Family is inflationary monetary policy. However, the answer to the poison of inflation isn't embarking on a scheme to confiscate wealth (wealth which is the vital lifeblood to capital enterprise and jobs) from those who have to give to those who have not, nor is it to go into debt to increase the dole, nor to print more money to give away and think that by adding a little more poison, we'll cure the problem.
The answer is multifaceted, of course, but it starts with sound monetary policy and increasing incentives to production because production is the only path to wealth.
1) Businesses need a tax policy that provides them ample confidence to increase production. We should eliminate corporate tax altogether because it is essentially double taxation anyhow. The money invested in business has already been taxed as income and business taxes are ultimately borne by consumers anyway and the people who lost jobs because the tax burden made the business unprofitable. If America were the most profitable place to do business, the businesses would come back so fast it would make our heads spin.
2) Workers need a plethora of producers to whom they can sell their labor in order for the prices of their wages to increase.
3) Idle people need not to be paid for not working or avoiding career development, but rather need to have stronger incentives to work hard and smart, increase their capacity for productive activity (skills), so they can climb the labor ladder.
4) We must create incentives for all people to avoid wasteful spending, and save soundly. Here, I think is an innovative place for positive law.
It's funny how nearly every boomer I know is appalled at the rampant consumerism. Sure, they may lament the fact that the days of working at one company their whole life are over, but they had far lower expectations (that's why they were such rebels without a cause) and they certainly had far lower standards of living. They also didn't have institutions of higher learning which put them deep in debt and taught them very little on which they could prosper.