Kate asked if sounding like Karl Marx is good or bad. I've been thinking about that. And Mr. Obama will be talking tonight about how he (the government) will provide prosperity and equality should he be reelected.
Prosperity should appeal to everyone. Everyone, that is, except the environmentalists who might infer that if we have more then the environment will be further depleted. Prosperity is a goal for many. We believe that we'll be a little happier and will suffer a little less with prosperity.
How can the government provide prosperity for all? I doubt it will be from taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That will (superficially) help the poor, but will not contribute to the prosperity of the rich. We'll hear tonight how the government will increase prosperity. Most of what the government does, when it does anything, is spend money. Whose money? Our money, of course. So to increase prosperity, there must be a "value added." They must spend our money more efficiently than we can. For example, when I go to the grocery, I get $10 of fruits and veges. If Uncle Sam takes my $10 and buys me groceries, the inference is that I'll get $11 of fruits and veges. My suspicion is that I'll end up with about $3 of corn syrup... but we'll see.
Equality. That's a big one. Are we talking opportunity or assets? Robin Hood provides equality of assets. Superficially, I believe, because Robin Hood destroys incentive. Why should I try so hard if so much will be taken from me? Or should I hide my $$$ on the Cayman Islands so that I can take care of myself on a rainy day. Equality of opportunity sounds great to me. I suspect that we have more of that in America than has ever existed in any country ever... and we have a long way to go. I'm hoping Obama will have some good suggestions on how equality can be provided. Equality of opportunity infers better access to education, health care, fresh air and water, etc. for all.
I can't think of communist/socialist societies that have provided prosperity and equality of opportunity. So I'll say that Karl Marx is not good. But more importantly (in my view) is that the shortcoming of the planned society is that we have less freedom to pursue our aims. I might have tremendous skills to practice medicine, but tremendous interest in making bad art. I'd rather live where I can pursue bad art. In a planned society, my life will be dictated by the boss. Kennedy had it wrong when he said, "...ask what you can do for your country."