Lefties Naively Believe That Wealth Creation Is a Given

Lefties Naively Believe That Wealth Creation Is a Given
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America’s now trendy socialists mistake accretion for creation when it comes to wealth.  This error of convenience serves as self-justification for the left’s policies, by simply assuming wealth will inevitably result, regardless of what they inflict on the economy.  However, the left’s misapprehension that wealth is inevitable makes their economic policies doomed before they begin.

Accretion is the gradual formation of a larger body through natural forces.  Like sediment, it simply increases, piling up, layer upon layer.  No one does it, it simply occurs. 

For America’s new left, this is how wealth occurs in society.  It is a natural force, not a manmade one — and certainly not due to capitalism, which they see as taking credit for what would have occurred anyway.  To paraphrase a popular vulgarism, for the left: Wealth happens.

From this mistaken mindset emanated the cheers when Amazon decided to not ship its tens of thousands of jobs to New York.  To their thinking, the jobs will come anyway, in a more appealing form, and without government incentives to bring them.  In their politically-correct pretzel logic, New York actually savedmoney by losing jobs. 

The diverting of Amazon from New York is only the most recent high-profile example of the left’s entrenched misconception of how wealth occurs in society and America in particular.  This backward approach not only does not yield wealth, but destroys it. 

By simply assuming wealth is a “given,” the left can justify their policies with impunity.  If wealth will simply accrue, then the question is not whether it will exist and how to create it, but how to allocate it.   

The root of this erroneous assumption stretches back to Marx and his theory of surplus value.  Marx saw any return exceeding production’s cost, not as profit, which capitalism awarded to the capitalist owner, but as a surplus that under communism was the proletariat’s due.

Because they believe wealth arises from simple accretion, wealth is fair game for the left.  As a result, all their policies target it. 

Subsidization, taxation, and regulation all can be added without detriment to the economy.  Rather, because wealth is assumed regardless, these added costs are seen as added benefits.   

Subsidization, taxation, and regulation can all be used to redistribute wealth in ways the left believe superior to the working of the private sector.  Each becomes means toward the left’s larger goal of income redistribution.  And each takes the left further from the free market’s optimal wealth allocation, effectively destroying increasing amounts of wealth as their policies increasingly fall further short of the wealth that would otherwise have existed.  

Nothing could be further from the truth than the left’s wealth accretion worldview.  Rather than the passive accretion the left imagine, wealth only results from active creation.  It neither occurs by nature, nor by accident.  This extends beyond just wealth’s creation to its retention and its compounding. 

Success is not inherent, certainly not at the optimal level — and most certainly not outside the capitalist model.  Replacing existing producers — as the left desires in the name of equality — does not mean the same rate of production will prevail.  Nor can the same results be expected when taxes are raised, regulations increased, subsidies given, and income redistributed. 

The currently popularized versions of the left and the right are really reversals of reality. 

The capitalism of the right is anything but an ossified outdated system.  It is actually a dynamic one in which competition demands and rewards continual progress.  It remains the most successful economic one in human history, as well as the most productive of equality.  

The socialism of the left is anything but progressive and vibrant.  It is actually an extremely regressive system that becomes ever more moribund the further it is followed.  Lacking competition, it demands conformity and rewards based on subjective political criteria, not objective economic performance.  Regardless of its refurbished trappings, it is a continual throwback to its universally unsuccessful forebears.  Like them, it replicates one of the least successful economic models in human history, and any social equality it does achieve is never more than that of poverty and misery. 

The truth that popular imagery is reversed can clearly be seen by looking back.  Simply compare capitalism to what preceded it and socialism to its own past.  For contemporary proof, simply examine: Which moves faster — the public or private sector?  Which performs better? 

There is a reason why the left requires government power to enforce its desired outcomes.  Equally, there is a reason why the right’s most common desire is for government to leave it alone.  It was known as laissez faire capitalism for a reason.  And there is a reason why the left sees the world as victimized by power: Because their own systems inevitably can exist no other way than to victimize others. 


J.T. Young served in the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004, and as a congressional staff member from 1987 to 2000. 

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