I love the way the mainstream media refer to any disparity in income as "inequality." Like it's not fair that some people are rich while others are poor or that the money was just doled out unevenly instead of actually being earned. In fact, the media elite are obsessed with fairness. But what is fair?
A recent article in the Washington Post decried the life expectancy gap between the rich and the poor. It was as if to add insult to injury the rich not only enjoy a more prosperous life they enjoy it longer. Somehow they equated money to longevity and nothing could be further from the truth. It's not the money itself that makes people live longer. It's the people who earn the money.
Could it be that many of the same principles that make people rich also make people healthier? Let's look at some of the things that kill us. Smoking, for example. This is certainly not to judge anyone who smokes but we all know that smoking increases your chances of dying early. It's common knowledge that poor folks smoke more than rich folks. A gallup poll from a few years back shows that 34% of those making less than $12,000 per year smoke as opposed to only 13% of those making more than $120,000.
Obesity is another big killer and it's a well-known fact that, at least in the United States, the lower the income the higher the obesity rate. What's ironic is those are the people most likely on food stamps. Were we really concerned about obesity we would be making sure that food stamp cards could only be used to purchase healthy food. Instead, people like Mayor Bloomberg in New York would rather target all of us.
Picture in your mind the guy standing in line at the convenience store with the six-pack of beer waiting to get to the counter to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. Do you think he's more likely to be rich or poor? So, what if he scratches off the right number combo and wins $10 million? Do you think just because he's now rich he's more likely to live longer?
People who are well-disciplined generally are well-disciplined across every aspect of their lives. They're not only more successful but they're usually better educated and they're most likely healthier. We don't need income redistribution because, as I just illustrated with the lottery winner, windfalls don't lead to healthier lifestyles.
If the nanny state people really want to see a huge change in this country then make it illegal for anyone to get any kind of public assistance if they're buying cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets. If they have money for all that then obviously they don't need my help. If they really need the assistance then they'll change their bad habits.
And for crying out loud, why haven't we instituted drug testing as a prerequisite to getting any kind of welfare?
But here's the thing. If they changed their bad habits they wouldn't need our help in the first place because the problem is not obesity or smoking or income inequality. It's personal responsibility. The moment we begin to encourage that is the moment we begin to actually solve the problem.