A day after Bill de Blasio’s Tale of Two Cities address in which the wealthy Park Slope resident once again made inequality his focus, the radical pol intervened to spring one of his biggest supporters from prison. The New York Post, a tabloid that unlike the Daily News is much less enamored with the lefty dreamboat of the moment, responded with a cover page reading, “A Jail of Two Cities.”
Aside from being the commonplace corruption that one ought to expect from a politician trying to ban horses in Central Park because a wealthy real estate magnate wants to seize their stables, the Jail of Two Cities also reveals the fallacy of government wars against inequality.
When government is big, then true inequality is not of wealth, but of political access. Money can buy you access, or as the recently released Orlando Findlayter discovered, so can being an activist who bets on the right horse-hating politician. The rich can write a check, but the poor can vote early and often. Access isn’t about money; it’s about becoming useful to those in power.
There are two cities and two countries in America; the land of the politically connected who are part of a network that can score anything from millions in cash to open door prisons and the land of the politically unconnected who don’t understand why the government won’t leave them alone. It won’t leave them alone because in a corrupt system, being left alone is a special political favor.
Government should not be concerned with the inequality of income, which isn’t in its purview, but with the inequality of access, which is. It’s not the job of government to even out how much money everyone makes, but it is its job to ensure that everyone has equal access to government.
In a city or a country run by income inequality campaigners like Barack Obama or Bill de Blasio, the inequality of wealth takes a back seat to the inequality of access. Pledges of income equality put the equalizers in charge of moving huge amounts of money around and determining who gets to wet his beak and who doesn’t.
Battling income inequality leads directly to inequality of access by putting the equalizers in charge of picking winners and losers through the agency of an expanding government that promises to fill in the gaps in income while instead creating gaps in access. The equalizers promise to fix the unfairness of the marketplace and replace it with the ideologically determined unfairness of government.
The bigger government gets, the less sense it makes to invest in business and the more sense it makes to invest in politicians. Powerful politicians are a much less riskier investment than millions of customers whose behavior is hard to predict. The unpredictability of the public makes competition possible and reduces income inequality while the predictability of politicians is a monopoly that increases income inequality as political monopolies become economic monopolies.
Obama handed out hundreds of millions to the Green Energy tycoons who supported him and dispenses ambassadorships to unqualified bundlers who barely know the name of the major country they have been assigned to. Voters who came out in collective groups for Obama got wealth redistribution paydays. Everyone else got taxed.