Why the Poor Need a Fair Wage, Not a Fair Share

Statistics can be misleading. And when it comes to the poor, statistics aren’t just misleading—they can be manipulative. You’ve probably heard a good bit about the poor getting a fair share of the wealth, as if wealth is a pie and everyone deserves the same size piece. You’ll hear how the rich need to pay their fair share of taxes, too.

I agree the rich need to pay their fair share of taxes. It would be fair if their share was the same as everyone else’s. It’s not. And I guess in one sense, I’m okay with the poor getting their fair share of the wealth too. But a fair share of the wealth may not be the same share.

And I’m not being heartless here. I think the statistics from the Fraser Institute of Economic Freedom should (but won’t) give pause to liberals and big-government heart-bleeders everywhere. For one, last year’s report on economic freedom again confirmed that the poorest 10% get the best wages in those countries that are most free. That doesn’t always mean they get the best share of the wealth though.

Interestingly, in the most heavily regulated economies, the poorest 10% got nearly the same percentage of the overall wealth that they would have gotten in the least regulated economies. Do you understand what that means? It’s actually rather fascinating. The civil government can force distribution of wealth, but this forced distribution reduces economic freedom. When you reduce economic freedom, you reduce wealth. When you reduce wealth, the redistirbution of wealth yields poorer results—their isn’t as much to go around.

In other words, even if the poorest 10% in the least free countries had a much higher percentage of the overall wealth, they would still be worse off than they would be in countries where they weren’t getting their fair share.

Another interesting note from the Report was the fact that the economic freedom of the United States in the chain-linked study started to decrease in the year 2000. It’s gotten worse since then—much worse (we’re not even in the top 10 most economically free countries anymore), but it started to plunge while Bush was still in office. What precipitated the plunge? The recession.

It’s so stupid. The recession should have resulted in a greater loosening of regulations. But our control-freak civil government thought it could spend our way out of this, and it needed our money to do it. So it took it. And the economy started tanking even worse. So it took more. Et cetera. Et cetera. And the thing our government was doing to help the economy was actually the cause of its continued stagnation. When will these people figure it out?