The left's fishy sense of 'fairness'

| Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 8:51 p.m.

It's not hard work if you have a show on MSNBC.

You simply repeat a mantra like a fourth-grade math teacher going over the same fractions year after year until she starts to develop a dislike for 10-year-olds.

When I get home from work and click on the TV, there's MSNBC's Chris Matthews saying “the rich” aren't paying their “fair share.”

The message is that none of us would be falling off the fiscal cliff like a bunch of lemmings if only the top 2 percent of income earners would pay “a little more.”

When I go out for dinner and come back, there's Rachel Maddow on TV standing in front of the Hoover Dam in a blue hard hat saying we need to “think big,” like previous generations.

If “the rich” would pay their “fair share,” we could build more government projects, more dams, and leave more infrastructure to the next generation, like in the 1930s.

The problem is that the Hoover Dam crosses the Colorado River. Try pouring that much concrete in a river today and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be going through the mud to make sure no bug or worm was having its home turf disturbed.

The Knab ambersnail (the Oxyloma haydeni kanabensis by its scientific name) is currently on the government's list of endangered species. The snail, about an inch long, is known to live in only two places in the U.S., and one of those places is a spring along the Colorado River. And there aren't many of the tiny snails making a go of it at that location.

The total population of Knab ambersnails at the Colorado River spring, according to wildlife biologist Jim Petterson at the Grand Canyon National Park, is “thought to number less than 2,000 individuals.”

Note that they're “individuals,” not escargot, not things to be simmered in melted butter with mushrooms and then smothered with wine sauce and cheese.

Petterson says the willow flycatcher, humpback chub and razorback sucker also “call the Colorado River their home.” All are officially endangered and all are put at even greater risk by hikers, explorers, fisherman, river runners and campers — many of whom are there precisely because of Hoover Dam.

The humpback is a federally protected fish. The willow flycatcher likes to sit in willow trees and eat flies. A female razorback sucker, another fish with a hump, is generally attended by up to 12 males.

Echoing Matthews and Maddow on MSNBC are Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz and Larry O'Donnell.

Sharpton says “the rich” aren't paying their “fair share.” Then Shultz takes over and says “the rich” aren't paying their “fair share.”

Then O'Donnell takes over and says “the rich” are falsely accusing Democrats of playing “class warfare.”

It's like those fake wrestling shows where a tag team takes turns bashing an opponent's face against the ring's turnbuckles.

What the crew at MSNBC doesn't mention when they talk about “fair” are the latest IRS reports, for calendar year 2009, that show the top 1 percent of income earners received 16.9 percent of the nation's adjusted gross income and paid 37.6 percent of all federal individual income taxes, or that the top 5 percent of the nation's income earners paid a larger share of total federal income taxes than the bottom 95 percent of income earners combined.

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur. His email:

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