This article is derived from a comment I left in a “poll” article posted by Susan3 which asked the question…
Do you believe in equality for a society?
This ill-defined question is a STRAWMAN!!!! A setup offering righties the opportunity to interject one of their favorite talking points…
We should strive for equality in opportunity. There will never be equality in outcomes.
I'm a flaming liberal... call me a socialist if you like (I'm not sure I qualify as such, but I don't find that an offensive label)... I have NEVER advocated for "equality of outcome"!!! Here is what I actually advocate...
- Equality of opportunity... Surprise! We agree... :-) To me that includes creating the very best educational system in the world, with equal quality (or as close as possible) throughout all institutions... this would include not only the best colleges in the world, but top notch technical schools, top notch art institutes, and high quality pre-school all the way through post-graduate... AND making access to that education FREE to the entire society!!!! Oh... not agreeing on that free education piece???
- I DO NOT support "equality of outcome." Surprise! We agree again... :-) That sounds too much like communism to me... and I also agree that such a system would discourage innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial risk taking.
- I DO support a "minimum outcome." Oh DANG!!! Maybe we don't agree on this one... you tell me righties… :-/ For those who work hard contributing to the society (and also for those who are disabled), we should have a minimum standard of living that provides all the basic necessities of life, including modest housing, healthy food, and genuinely affordable health care. I feel that is best supported by a minimum wage (see, "minimum outcome" NOT equal outcome)... a "living" wage... but if there are people who work hard and are still stuck in poverty (the minimum should be above poverty)... then I feel the most successful members of society should pay a little of their good fortune forward by helping the less fortunate hard working members of society achieve a decent minimum standard of living.
- Abuse needs to be diligently thwarted... I'm guessing you righties will agree on this one... :-) I’ve tried to emphasize that the reward of a "minimum outcome" should redound only to those who work hard or those who are disabled. Of course, there will be people who will try to abuse social safety nets... just as there are people who try to abuse any economic system... including capitalism. Righties try to mischaracterize social benefit recipients as lazy and abusive (another strawman). Abuse is not limited to people at the bottom of the financial success ladder. Accepting social support is not an automatic indicator of laziness or abuse... and great financial success is not an automatic indicator of hard work and virtuous behavior. Abuse needs to be discouraged in all sectors of our society.
Most public benefits spending is for participants, largely senior citizens, who have paid for the services via a lifetime of work. This is far different from the picture painted by many conservatives of public benefits being for lazy poor people who do not want to work. These (misrepresentations) put all public benefits programs at risk, including those that reach the middle class. They also derail benefits programs that specifically target people living in poverty and help them to join the middle class.
Look righties… I understand that you don’t want many of the things I want. That’s fine… say what you want plainly and clearly… and fight for what you want… FAIRLY!!! I support you in doing that, even if I don’t want the same things you want. BUT… kindly stop misrepresenting what I want!