Beyond the Cusp

June 4, 2011

Equal Opportunity or Equal Outcome

Equal Opportunity or Equal Outcome

Much of the political debate in the United States is actually centered on equal opportunity versus equal outcome; it is simply not so boldly stated and instead hidden behind the minutia of the particular subject. In education you have vouchers and charter schools on the equal opportunity side while no child left behind and teaching to the test on the equal outcome side. In all of the taxation and social spending the lines between the two sides are easily discerned. The split tends to be along political line between liberal and conservative and also between libertarian and statist. But what are the basics behind the founding of the Judeo-Christian society which I define as the Bible together with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution including only the amendments of the Bill of Rights.

Most people will argue that the Constitution guarantees equal opportunity but does not guarantee equal outcome. Truth be told, the Constitution has two sets of guarantees. One is that everyone gets the same opportunity to succeed which comes with only the probability of varied outcomes dependent on ability, intelligence, savvy, and the ever desired luck. The other guarantee from government does guarantee equal outcome for anything the government is required to do for citizens, then it will be done in a manner that will provide all with equal treatment. Unfortunately, with ever increasing measure our government has decided that it is their job to guarantee equal outcomes and not simply equal opportunity. Even more to our detriment, the government has been working furiously to replace both church and family in the role of providing for those in need. The reasoning behind this usurpation goes something like Churches and Families are not able to provide equal treatment for everybody who is in need and thus if two people are in need, one in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the other in Fort Collins, Colorado then it is entirely possible that the churches in these areas would have different financial abilities and thus one would receive a higher and more generous amount of relief and assistance than the other would receive, and we just simply cannot abide by that now, can we. Thus, the government takes over the it upon itself to assure everyone in need gets exactly the one size fits all care the government guarantees them no matter what their true need may be. The other aim for equal outcome is done through taxation. Using a graduated tax rate and even going so far as to give tax refunds to people from who no taxes are collected; I believe they call this the “earned income tax credit”, and I honestly have no idea exactly how that works, just I never get one.

The problem with structuring a society based on equal outcome rather than equal opportunity is that if what you will receive is not in any way related to how hard you work or how much you work or how valuable your work is to others, then why bother trying at all? People are always told that greed is bad, evil, a sin, and all sorts of things except the truth; greed is the engine that drives Capitalism and produces untold amounts of wealth making more available to more people. Greed is what makes different outcomes out of different opportunities, especially if it is tied to willingness to work hard, produce useful and desirable items, and having the innate ability to do so. Equal outcome removes greed as no matter what you do or how hard you work, you will receive no more and no less than the next guy. This leads to blunting the desire to exceed and kills off initiative making for less goods and poorer service and eventually universal poverty. Have you noticed that when you go into a store how the service is usually nonexistent? I have heard people ask what happened to customer service like there used to be in department stores back in the day. What happened is that the stores no longer pay commission on sales; they pay straight salaries totally removed from your sales. This removes the desire to sell more items thus removing the desire to assist customers. Why should a salesperson go out and look for a customer to serve if they get paid the same to stand and talk to their friends making the customer come find them? The only thing that does that is motivation, also known as commissions. If helping customers will likely put extra money in your pocket, you better believe you will look for customers to help. No commissions and straight pay, why bother, you get the same amount helpful or not, just as long as you are not rude and lose your job you just do the minimum to get by. Equal outcome results in nonperformance and a lack of excellence. Equal opportunity leads to competition for every dollar and more dollars for which to compete as now everyone is more motivated.

What is wrong in America today? We have taken the reigns of a horse that lives with us in an equal outcome world. There is no incentive for excellence, no motivation to go that extra step, no sparks to light the fires of production. Instead, everyone stands around, hands in their pockets, just biding their time to collect the same paycheck whether they have earned it or not. Why bust yourself into a sweat if the pay is the same for not sweating one drop. We need to return to a society driven by the mightiest engine of all, the engine of satisfying your wildest greed provided you go out and do what is necessary to earn it. Unequal outcomes from equal opportunities are what built America and made her great. Equal outcome is what will break America and bring her down just as it has most of Europe. Take a long hard look at the European Union who are in the process of destroying their hardest working and most productive society, Germany, simply so the rest of Europe, such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, and others, can play taking the summer off and retire at age 50 with thirty or more paid holidays a year above their generous vacations. Do we really want America to go down that same road? I know that I, for one, do not want that to be America’s end.

Beyond the Cusp


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    Comment by Upper back pain relief — June 21, 2011 @ 1:39 AM | Reply

  2. I found this older article which I read, today 4/01/14 and this is not an April Fools attempt, it is my critique; with due respect.

    I found certain assertions to be ill founded, and therefore a core series of the article’s ideas are not observably factual. My opinions are presented here, more or less in the order in your article that I found and item with which I have issue.

    Equal Opportunity or Equal Outcome
    I agree with the expose` of this campaign to corrupt common vernacular in the pursuit of a socialist agenda, but I do find some problems with these particular assertions.

    “People are always told that greed is bad, evil, a sin, and all sorts of things except the truth; greed is the engine that drives Capitalism and produces untold amounts of wealth making more available to more people.”

    This is first phrase is a decent summary of the current popular societal assertion by some. But then things get off track: “greed is the engine that drives Capitalism” yes ; but… you forgot the real Truth is Greed is the engine that drives ALL OF HUMANITY”. Nothing less than that inclusive statement can be accepted in any rational argument discussing the concept of greed. The Scripture clearly assigns its Universal Drive Status, but the reason I take umbrage with your word choice is that it plays into the hands of those whose goals you seem to attempt to refute?

    Clearly greed is the drive of all humans, liberals greed to control my life’s forces and efforst is not less greed for the faux labels assigned when taking it? “taxes are for the good of the children” “We all have to pay our fair share!” (where the word fair doesn’t mean what it does in sports, weights and measures or dollar value !)
    So, my first objection is that you ‘give away’ the game of your entire article by conceding that greed is only exemplified by ‘capitalists’ when the left is actually vastly more demonstrably greedy.

    I, a libertarian/conservative want to be left ALONE to trade on my talents, the left wants to tax (feed off ) my talents as applied in my life and not leave me alone- who may I ask is ‘greedier’ ?

    “Greed is what makes different outcomes out of different opportunities, especially if it is tied to willingness to work hard, produce useful and desirable items, and having the innate ability to do so.”

    Again the first phrase is not totally unreasonable, but the rest of the sentence uses terms assured to concede the argument of the entire article. “especially if it is tied to…” Greed is present in everyone- without exception, so greed to the individualist results in improvement to his lot in life and those around him. That same greed in “hive-ists”/socialists/progressives is simply applied as continued attempts to enslave the prior group. Your failure to make this point damns the effort of the entire article.

    I offer an example substitute line; “One group treats greed as the positive engine for progress that brought us polio vaccine, automobiles and Teflon the other group, responds to their greed by trying to take the former humanely productive group’s benefits- not to produce for themselves. “ These are of course Ayn Rand’s “leaches” we call them liberals. This parasitic group of humanity is doing what you allege in the article; to convince the producers to lay still while their blood is drained the libs are conflating the word opportunity and outcome.

    “Equal outcome removes greed as no matter what you do or how hard you work, you will receive no more and no less than the next guy” Not at all. Greed is a human drive, universal, innate, and without exception to ignore this, as it appears this sentence does, is to fold your premise prior to any useful argument. Greed is never removed, it may be modified, encouraged, discouraged or whatever modifier you’d like to add but is never “removed”. You may as well say ‘this process removed gravity’… not happening- physical laws are fixed and so is human nature.

    Outcome does in fact influence a society’s indulgence and rules about greed; but the effect is to create a societal filtering of range, scope or amount of greed. For example, while millions of Russians did in fact become somewhat despondent and live in abject poverty, there was a ruling elite whose rarified, reinforced and rectified greed was simply enabled, enhanced and enabled by the stratification of the “soviet republic” system. In the US, those of African heritage live in lower standards but their greed demonstrating leaders pay their ‘baby mommas’ to live in million dollar homes away from that given “race pimp’s” wife. So greed is ( I rather redundantly assert- again) universal and permanent, so in any case where fewer people can exercise it- well that just means (observing the historic record) that a few will be enabled to exercise their greed more extensively, while others will long to enjoy their own.

    (What happened when China allowed personal gardens? They went from starving to exporting food! )

    You seem to miss the salient fact that the US was (historically/originally) able to enable greed at a widely distributed and almost universal level, therefore, you could have your ‘own home’ and yard and fence and kids and a car- if you played by the accepted rules of work reward or the greed cycle. The other systems stratify the amount of greed an individual can express/enjoy/indulge, and therefore created classes who could enjoy (or not enjoy) the same amount of greed.

    “Equal outcome results in nonperformance and a lack of excellence.” I agree and am not arguing this point, but “Equal opportunity leads to competition for every dollar and more dollars for which to compete as now everyone is more motivated.” This follow line is incorrect. “Facilitating individually owned (produced) results allows a person’s natural greed to provide rewards for enthusiastically showing the fruits of that greed in the form of enhanced attention to a client’s needs, improving service, innovation and entrepreneurial gain- 100% the result of a society empowering greed for the entire society’s universal benefit- regardless of the member’s status.”

    “What is wrong in America today?” Not what you say. What is wrong is that a small minority of people have corrupted the language to conflate greed with bad human instincts instead of the truth: greed is the same in the person disparaging it as those whom they would attempt to label for indulging it. An Ivy League Professor who whines about greedy white refusing to pay higher taxes is unutterably hypocritical if he will not donate his entire salary ‘to the poor’. Tenure, salaries, retirement, insurance, these are all ‘greed’ results for the liberals, and unless the speaker will give up his salary and retirement then all you have to do is point this out, make people see that the left’s greed is the same and the weaponized word goes away.

    When the opportunity vs outcome argument is made, then ask the speaker to donate to the outcome – so they can cancel the unfair advantage their position gives them and the argument will cease. Of course that will not happen as the argument is lost.

    I know that you’re interested enough to take time to write the type of material I’m critiquing. However I did want to reflect that muddy thinking or misstated lines and facts- add to the fog and don’t provide clarity of purpose to those who may still remain among the herd who could change its direction before it runs off the cliff?

    Thanks for any time you may take reading my comments which are not meant as disparaging but hopefully can be accepted for the kernel of ideas that perhaps were expressed. Please don’t bother to reply, I understand you’re busy.

    My regards,

    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK


    Comment by Kevin Morin — April 1, 2014 @ 6:39 PM | Reply

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