The following comment from the Gartman letter in response to a reporter’s question on income inequality has gained a lot of attention. You can argue that this response is a bit simple in content and comes across as a bit arrogant. However, I think it is hard to argue with his fundamental position. The dream for America has always been to better ones self, to become successful and wealthy if you will (although that should not be the primary goal in anyone’s life in my view)?
The dream has also been one based on opportunity. How did we get from providing opportunity to criticizing success? The income disparity does need to be addressed, but that has nothing to do with tearing down the successful in America. We should be focused on building up the middle class and addressing those policies and laws that hamper middle-income growth. To do that we must take a global view and we must foster less dependency on programs that encourage mediocrity, entitlement mentality and complacency.
From the Gartman Letter:
After the meeting we were interviewed by a reporter who asked us a most pointed, left-of-centre question: “Mr. Gartman, what about the growing disparity between the rich and poor in the US, and the increasing dichotomy between what those at the top earn and those at the bottom? What of income disparity? How do you feel about that?”
We know that our answer caught the reported wholly off guard, for he was, rather obviously, expecting us to reply something like this: “Well, that is indeed a problem, and perhaps something should be done about it, for after all, don’t the young people in the Occupying Wall Street groups have at least this on their side.” We would have none of it and we caught this journalist wholly off guard when we answered.
“We celebrate income disparity and we applaud the growing margins between the bottom 20% of American society and the upper 20% for it is evidence of what has made America a great country. It is the chance to have a huge income… to make something of one’s self; to begin a business and become a millionaire legally and on one’s own that separates the US from most other nations of the world. Do we feel bad for the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the US? Of course not; we celebrate it, for we were poor once and we are reasonably wealthy now. We did it on our own, by the sheet dint of will, tenacity, street smarts and the like. That is why immigrants come to the US: to join the disparate income earners at the upper levels of society and to leave poverty behind. Income inequality? Give us a break?
God bless income disparity and those who have succeeded, and shame upon the OWS crowd who take us to task for our success and wallow in their own failure. Income disparity? Feh! What we despise is government that imposes rules that prohibit or make it difficult to make even more money; to employ even more people; to give even more sums to the charities of our choice. That is what we despise… oh, and next question please.” There were no further questions; there was a bit of applause from those standing around however. We took solace in that fact.
The following is a comment appearing on Forbes.com with regard to the Gartman comment:
Eva Pereira, Forbes Staff
Oh that explains it…so these groups of people joining the OWS movement across the country are just the cry-babies of capitalism. Lazy fools, unwilling to hard like Mr. Gartman has! Everyone look away now! Nothing more to see. These are the sort of delusional, self-aggrandizing beliefs that got us into this mess in the first place. To start with, let’s dispel the myth that anyone makes it on their own. If you live in this country, then you benefit from the societal framework provided: an educated workforce, a police force to keep your streets and neighborhoods safe, a capable justice system that protects your rights as a citizen, roads, highways and public transport, etc. The list goes on, but the point is, society provides the framework that makes it possible for the individual to succeed. It’s disingenuous for him to say that he made it alone. What’s worse, is by cheering the increasing fragmentation of society, he’s essentially shutting the door behind him! The truth about economic inequality is that the more extreme it becomes, the less mobility there is for others. Travel to any third world country, and you’ll see what I mean. The poor have no hope, no political representation and no rights for that matter. God bless America for keeping people like Mr. Gartman in check.You know this isn’t fair, you work too hard.
Do you believe that the door to opportunity is shut in America? Do you believe that the societal framework does not support all Americans? Do you believe that the poor in America have no hope or political representation and no rights? In fact, America spends most of it money on supporting the poor and low income. Is America analogous to a third world country?
Ok, no one makes it on their own. So, then why do some people make it and some people don’t? Why do some people start in the same place and end up quite differently in life? There are many reasons of course, but they are not found in criticizing the tortoise or the ant.
Tags: Economic inequality, Forbes, Gartman, Gartman Letter, OWS