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November 23rd, 2017

Insight

You Want Free Stuff, Vote for Me!

Bernard Goldberg

By Bernard Goldberg

Published Oct. 20, 2015

You Want Free Stuff, Vote for Me!

There was a lot of talk at the Democratic presidential debate about an issue near and dear to the hearts of liberals: income inequality.

It's too bad Hillary and the gang didn't have the courage to speak some inconvenient truths about why some people are on the wrong end of the income inequality stick.

I don't want to sound like a broken record on this point, but dysfunctional behavior often leads to poverty, which is a major cause of income inequality. Here's how George Will recently explained it: " family disintegration cripples the primary transmitter of social capital — the habits, mores, customs, and dispositions necessary for seizing opportunities. When 72 percent of African-American children and 53 percent of Hispanic children are born to unmarried women, and 40 percent of all births are to unmarried women, and a majority of all mothers under 30 are not living with the fathers of their children, the consequences for the life chances, and lifetime earnings, of millions of children are enormous."

And here are a few other truths that liberals don't like to talk about: Some people are smarter than other people, some are more reliable, some decided to run big hedge funds and others decided to teach third grade, some are named LeBron James and some are named Joe Blow.

So yes, there are a lot of reasons for income inequality that have very little to do with billionaires being evil SOBs. But while blaming Wall Street and putting rich people in the crosshairs may play with the Democratic Party's progressive base, it doesn't come close to telling the real story - and only stokes resentment and envy.

But can a Democrat win next year running on such dark forces as resentment and envy? Can Hillary or Joe get enough votes by pitting everyone against the wealthiest Americans?

It may be a cynical path , but it's a better one than trying to convince voters that it's morning in America. Millions upon millions of Americans know better. Too many have stopped looking for a job or are working only part time. People who do have jobs are worried about losing them. Middle class incomes are stagnant, at best.

Hillary and the other Democrats running for president can blame the GOP all they want for the insipid economic recovery, but a Democrat has been in the White House for the past 7 years. "With chutzpah one has to admire the party that in two terms weakened, if not wrecked, the economy, now presents itself as its savior," is how Wall Street Journal columnist Dan Henninger put it.

But chutzpah just might work. After all, it won't be easy for voters to resist the Democratic candidate's enticing pitch: You want free stuff, vote for me!

Who doesn't like Santa Claus?

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