During his bid for the presidency, Mitt Romney visited the mansion of John Schnatter, owner of Papa John’s International and used the opportunity to draw a comparison between Democrats and Republican.
You know if a Democrat were here, he’d look round and say no one should live like this. But Republicans come here and say everyone should live like this.” (“The Education of Papa John,” by James Bandler and Doris Burke, Fortune, March 18, 2013 pg. 180.)
Of course Romney is spouting a disingenuous myth that lies at the heart of the American dream: that all of us can have it all. We just have to want it enough and if we don’t have it all, we haven’t worked hard enough to achieve it.
One doesn’t have to win a Nobel prize in economics to understand that we live in a world where resources are finite. In a landscape where there are only three trees and each of them is occupied, the chances of anyone else having his own tree to climb is nil, no matter how hard a person works.
One of government’s functions is to redistribute wealth — reducing the disparity between haves and have nots for the sake of peace. At the moment, there seems to be an imbalance in this country, but powerful voices are against raising taxes to achieve a greater equality for all. Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under president George W Bush, is one such person. He warns, for example, that “wealth distribution is a small contributor [to] our resolution of the fiscal cliff. (“Still on the Cliff,” by Glenn Hubbard, Fortune, March 18, 2013, pg.34.)
He may be right. But for the morale of the country and national unity, a government that asks everyone to put a hand to the oars to save the nation is doing its job. Like flying our flag or playing our national anthem, symbolism matters.
(John Schnatter’s manson courtesy of www.franchisehippo.com)