Wall Street protesters should fight for equality of opportunity - Opinion - Daily 49er - California State University Long Beach
The ability to gain wealth is akin to playing basketball. Just like some people can’t play basketball, others can’t amass wealth.
But, if our society doesn’t criticize Kobe Bryant for being a great basketball player, why should it criticize the wealthiest Americans for their ability to gain wealth? Many in this country have jumbled up two very different ideas: equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.
There are probably some on Wall Street who are actually dissatisfied with corruption and injustice and are fighting for equality of opportunity — a chance to become wealthy. These people criticize large government bailouts, deregulation of the financial markets and unfair campaign finance laws.
Still, there are many who are frustrated with their inability to gain wealth and are fighting for equality of outcome — a guarantee that everyone has the same. These people criticize the wealthy for not “paying their fair share,” asking for debt forgiveness and higher taxes in order to subsidize their living expenses.
Sure, wealthy Americans have a moral obligation to support their poorest compatriots but that shouldn’t amount to wholesale redistribution of wealth. It is not the job of the wealthy to ensure the poor are provided with resources to live like the middle class. People come to the United States for opportunity, not economic equality.
Corruption in the financial sector may have led to the partial collapse of American equal opportunity, but this collapse should not be followed by a movement for equality of outcome. We should be sympathetic to protesters who are fighting for opportunity and not redistribution of wealth, financial regulation and not higher taxes.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with 1 percent of Americans controlling a large amount of wealth, as long as that 1 percent earns this wealth in accordance with democratically instituted laws. The latter part of that statement should be our only concern and in my opinion that’s best handled off the street and in a legislative body.