Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

May 31, 2012

In the House of Wood


Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville —  

President Obama, Congressman Leonard Boswell and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack each stressed that they wanted everyone to get a fair shake in America. I really don't see how this is possible. 

If you look at today's America, everyone has the ability to receive an education through our public school system. I'll give you that teachers, administrators, funding, surroundings, etc., are not created equal, but I also believe that these obstacles can be overcome and success achieved if one is willing to work at it. 

If you've worked hard, earned decent grades, etc., anyone can go to college. There are countless grants, loans, jobs, scholarships and other means of funding a college education today. In fact, colleges are rewarded by the government for providing opportunities to students who might not otherwise be able to attend. There's no excuse for not continuing your education if you want to.

It's not all work, either. As I've said before, I believe God created us all equal, but results vary. While we are all equal, that does not necessarily mean our intelligence and skill sets are the same to allow “fairness” to be achieved. We just need to know where we excel, our physical and mental limitations, and utilize our strengths to make the most of our lives.

These are the kinds of things that cannot and should not be legislated. Therefore, no matter how much federal government involvement takes place, you're always going to have winners and losers. 

Punishing success or pointing at the rich, saying, “It's not fair they have that and I don't” only breeds envy. I think we all have the ability to be envious, but we need those around us to put things back into perspective. Let's be thankful for what we have and enjoy the freedom this magnificent country is supposed to offer us. 

To make things “fair” outcomes must be determined. The divisions among groups of people should be determined by a person's actions and abilities, not legislation. Achieving “fairness” often requires the successful to give up something they have earned or achieved and handing a portion over to someone who has not. This is equivalent to making any success meaningless. 

“You made it on the honor roll? Good for you! But, Jimmy did not make the honor roll, so we're going to create this special one for him, because he tried so hard.” 

In the grown-up world, the attempts to be “fair” often means the loss of freedom. The very definition of communism is an economic system is a “classless society.” What else do you think we will become if we keep fighting for economic “fairness”? 

I know very well that Boswell, Vilsack, and maybe even Obama, believe that it is unfair that CEOs and others are making ridiculous amounts of money while others are struggling. It might not be just, but it's their company's money. That's capitalism. It's up to these companies how they want to spend their money. 

If you don't like how much the CEO of a company is being paid, don't buy the product. Don't patronize the business in protest. Organize boycotts. Change is more effective, and freedom remains more secure, when the power of the free market chooses the economic winners and losers instead of the government.

One way I believe the government can make things fair is by doing away the mess of a tax code we have and install a flat tax. It's not fair that half of the country does not pay any income tax. If I were a millionaire, I'm sure I would think it is not fair that I have to pay a much higher rate of taxes than other people who enjoy the same, if not more, of the services provided by the government.

Fairness should begin with a flat tax. Think about the money that would be saved if we did not have the Internal Revenue Service. I can't think of anything more fair than everybody giving a small percentage of their income. 

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.