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Jay Ambrose

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Jay Ambrose, former editor of the Rocky Mountain News and the El Paso-Herald Post, is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Reach him at .

Redistribution efforts simply breed poverty
T
he book’s title was “From Dawn to Decadence.” It was about the past 500 years of Western culture, the author was the brilliant (the late Jacques Barzun), and one topic he discussed was what he called the “Great Switch.”

It was the disastrous point at which liberalism changed from a philosophy emphasizing individualism, rights and liberty to something very nearly its opposite: equality.

No, we’re not talking here about equality under the law. That’s a good. That’s vital.

What contradicts the old meaning of liberalism is the thunderous hue and cry to make greater equality of monetary outcome a prime objective.

The plot is to move forward through coercion and disruption of a free enterprise system that’s among the chief blessings of history.

Vast redistribution of dollars would solve next to nothing that’s humanly amiss in today’s society. Sometimes abetted by self-avowed conservatives, it’s divisive and it appeals to envy.

You begin to see the problems more clearly when you look at specifics, such as a Washington Examiner analysis showing Bernie Sanders — who at least concedes he is a socialist — would pay for incredibly outlandish spending schemes through incredibly outlandish taxing schemes, adding up to more than $19 trillion over 10 years.

That’s close to a 50 percent tax hike for the nation, taking enough money out of the private economy to hurt it dramatically, giving the unemployed even less chance of finding work and bringing us a step closer to a major debt crisis that’s coming anyway in part because of a refusal to adjust entitlement programs.

A major theme of virtually all Democrats this year is hiking the minimum wage even though the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office says this could cost a halfmillion to a million jobs.

It would mainly be the least skilled and the poorest who would suffer.

For real economic solutions, how about an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit that goes only to low-wage employees and provides an incentive to work?

How about getting rid of the interventionist regulations that reduce work opportunities?

How about reforming welfare programs that discourage work and prompt single-parent homes that struggle to raise children who can cope with this world? How about more free trade deals that actually boost the economy despite liberal claims to the contrary?

How about trial-and-error anti-poverty programs that aim for self- reliance?

The answer is not government as a substitute family but of communities coming together, of churches reaching out, of individuals standing up and leading, of vocational programs in schools and emphasis on learning trades generally.

Meanwhile, at least some liberals — who tarnished the name so badly they now misleadingly call themselves progressives — need to stop their decadent way of supposing that people are poor because others are rich. 

—Jay Ambrose is a columnist with Tribune News Service. Reach him at .