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Guest Column

January 11, 2014

How to bridge a widening wealth gap


So what are we doing about it? Our president has on his agenda a desire to redistribute the wealth possessed by US citizens. Some might refer to that as socialism and we’ve seen how that worked out in the USSR – not well. It punishes rather than rewards for hard work and creativity and, over time, folks lose their enthusiasm for it. However, in the short term he is moving forward with plans to increase taxes on the “top 1%” and to fully implement the “Affordable Health Care Act” or Obama Care. So far, the latter appears to be a plan to get those who the government feels can afford to pay for health care to pay for the health care of those it feels can’t afford to pay for it, i.e. socialism.

What we don’t seem to be doing is taking the steps to create economic conditions favorable to re-establishing a healthy middle class – i.e. manufacturing. We don’t yet have a National Energy Plan. We do, however, have a plethora of laws and regulations that don’t always offer a piece of cheese at the end of the maze. On the brighter side, due to a “new” source of low-cost energy, we are seeing some manufacturers return to the US.

It’s not a matter of “fault” or “blame” for the disparity in wealth. In one way or another, we’ve all contributed to the problem. We shopped for less-costly goods. We sought higher wages. We protested energy development. Now we’re faced with the results. Let’s get on with doing what it takes to narrow that gap, fund our schools and build better roads – strengthen our economy.

MIKE ZAGATA is a former state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, Ruffed Grouse Society president and oil company executive.

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