John Stossel : Equality versus liberty
But I say, so what? Progressives in the media claim that the rich get richer at the expense of the poor.
Hollywood sells the greedy-evil-capitalists-cheat-the-poor message with movies like Martin Scorsese's new film, "The Wolf of Wall Street," which portrays stock sellers as sex-crazed criminals. Years before, Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" created a creepy financier, Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, who smugly gloated, "It's a zero-sum game. Somebody wins; somebody loses."
Progressives claim they did. Some cite government data that show middle class incomes remaining relatively stagnant. But this data is misleading, too. It leaves out all government handouts, like rent subsidies and food stamps. It leaves out benefits like company-funded health insurance and pensions, which make up increasing portions of people's pay.
Is it fair that models are so good-looking? Why is it fair that some men are so much bigger than I, so no one will pay me to play pro sports? It's hardly fair that I was born in America, a country that offers me far greater opportunities than most other countries would. We Americans should be thankful that life is not fair!
Pew research shows 58 percent of the kids born to the poorest fifth of families rose to a higher income group. Six percent rose all the way from the bottom fifth to the top fifth.
Opportunity requires allowing people to take risks and make changes. We won't always like the outcomes. But over the long haul, we're still better off if people are free to strive and fail, or maybe — reap big rewards.
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed."
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