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To each according to his needs

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Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The government's goal is to “narrow the growing gap between the rich and the poor” by confiscating “more of the profits” of companies in order “to pay for ambitious welfare programs,” The Wall Street Journal recently reported.

The government took particular aim at corporations, warning they would have to “shoulder some of the extra cost” to “boost the safety net,” The Journal reported.

A government statement delivered the marching orders and the rationale for greater economic leveling and higher levels of central planning: “Narrowing the income gap is essential for ensuring social justice and social harmony. We need to raise income levels of the poor and adjust taxes on the excessively wealthy.”

Targeting the “excessively wealthy” to help the poor is an enduring falsehood among the levelers and redistributionists, a falsehood that persists because of a refusal to accept how the world works.

By 2008, for instance, North Korea's six decades of anti-capitalism, central controls and mandated egalitarianism had produced a per capita income of $1,122 per year compared to a per capita income of $19,614 in capitalist and unequal South Korea.

Winston Churchill explained it accurately and concisely during World War II: Capitalism is the “unequal sharing of blessings” while socialism is the “equal sharing of misery.”

Of the government's new directive to “narrow the growing gap between the rich and the poor” by targeting the “excessively wealthy” and the profits of companies, Nicholas Borst, a researcher at the Peterson Institute, is quoted in The Wall Street Journal predicting that the “implementation of the program very well might get bogged down by vested interests and the conservative old guard.”

Some economists, reports The Journal, are urging the government to take more money from corporations in order to increase government spending on “pensions, health care, low-income housing and education.”

To equalize incomes, a new government directive says “the personal income tax would be adjusted to capture more of the income from the nation's well-to-do,” new controls would be implemented to go after those who have “been able to amass fortunes that often evade the government's tax net” and mandates will be enacted to produce a “rise in the wages of low-income workers.”

Word for word, policy for policy, that sounds precisely like what's been coming out of the Oval Office for the past four years. Instead, all the aforementioned government edicts about narrowing the “growing gap between the rich and the poor,” increasing taxes on the “excessively wealthy” and “ensuring social justice” are exact quotes from recent directives issued by The State Council of the People's Republic of China, namely the Central People's Government, the highest executive organ of state power and the highest organ of centralized state administration.

The State Council is responsible for carrying out the policies and principles of the Communist Party of China, including the enforcement of regulations, laws, mandates and tax policy.

Additionally, the council is empowered to deal with such affairs as finance, culture and education, including the power of overall economic management, guided by the prescription from Karl Marx for a just and fair society: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

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

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