Doug Ducey – Good For Business

Doug Ducey

Lisa Rigler

Lisa Rigler – President, Small Business Alliance

As a small business owner and president of the Small Business Alliance, I get to work with some of Arizona’s most energetic entrepreneurs on a regular basis. The entrepreneurial spirit and fresh energy I see in other small businessmen and -women are qualities that I also see in Doug Ducey, and I know he will bring them to the governor’s office.

Doug built Cold Stone Creamery from a few shops in Arizona to a worldwide brand, so he’s well aware of the challenges small business owners face. He has an aggressive tax reform agenda that will attract businesses in a dynamic yet fiscally responsible way while also benefiting growing Arizona businesses.

With Doug’s leadership talents, reform-based approach to problem-solving, and positive outlook, I’m confident Arizona will have a bright future if he is our governor.

So, I encourage you to step up and cast your vote for Doug Ducey.  Whether you’re voting early at your kitchen table or you’re going to the polls on August 26th, if you’re looking for a small business champion, Doug should be your choice.

Doug can kick-start our economy, but he has to get elected first. Please sign up for a volunteer shift, put a bumper sticker on your car, and tell your employees, colleagues, friends and family: Doug Ducey for governor!

Let’s go Doug!

Lisa Rigler, President, Small Business Alliance

NFIB Arizona weighs in on latest economic report

Congress can help where Arizona fell down

PHOENIX, Ariz., June 10, 2014Today’s release of one of the nation’s most trusted economic surveys casts in sharp relief how pervasive our political leaders’ inattention to small-business job creation is, according to the Arizona state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s voice of small business.

As it does very month, NFIB releases its Index of Small Business Optimism, which measures the pulse of the nation’s largest employer group—Main Street entrepreneurs. Although the index rose to its highest level since 2007, the underpinnings of a strong economy are still not seismically sound.

“What stood out for me in the latest optimism index was Arizona’s missed opportunity to spur capital spending and new job creation by our own small businesses when Governor Brewer vetoed House Bill 2664 earlier this year,” said Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for NFIB. The bill, which passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, would have created an immediate state income tax allowance for qualifying business equipment investments valued up to $500,000, similar to federal Section 179 expensing.

Indeed, in summarizing the latest optimism index, economist William Dunkelberg, its author, noted, “May’s numbers bring the Index to its highest level since September 2007. However, the four components most closely related to GDP and employment growth (job openings, job creation plans, inventory and capital spending plans) collectively fell 1 point in May.”

“Shifting capital spending into a higher gear is essential to a full and sustainable economic recovery,” said Quinlan. “Now, even though Arizona’s capital expensing vehicle stalled, Congress can turn on the ignition of job creation by passing H.R. 4457, the Small Business Tax Relief Act, when it comes up for a full House vote Thursday.

H.R. 4457 would allow small businesses to immediately deduct on their federal taxes the full value of equipment in the same year the investment is made, instead of depreciating the investment over time. This simplifies accounting and frees up cash to be reinvested and grow the business.

“The job-creation user’s manual is pretty straightforward and easy to follow,” said Quinlan. “If business owners have an incentive to invest in more equipment, they will need to hire more employees to meet the increased sales that equipment will generate. But I worry H.R. 4457 may face a similar grim fate in Congress as House Bill 2664 suffered in Arizona, despite everyone—Democrats, Republicans, business and labor—favoring it, a tragic misreading of the economy’s weakness will lead to continued inertia and another missed opportunity.”

Despite broad, bipartisan support, small-business federal expensing fell from $500,000 to $25,000 this year because previous extensions were temporary. H.R. 4457 would provide small businesses with expensing levels that are permanent, predictable and at a level adequate to their needs.Click here to read a letter 154 business associations signed and sent to Congress.

NOTE: The NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since 1974 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. For almost 40 years, NFIB’s Index of Small Business Optimism has been one of the nation’s bellwether economic barometers, used by Federal Reserve, chairmen, congressional leaders and presidential administrations.

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For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.

Kevin Thompson: Mesa Should Always Be Open For Business

Kevin ThompsonThe rumors we’ve been hearing for several weeks are true. According to breaking news, the 1.3 million square foot facility formerly owned by First Solar, has been bought and the new owner is Apple, Inc. The factory, which is approximately the size of 43 football fields, is located at Signal Butte and Elliott roads. The facility will manufacture microchips and will bring more than 700 new jobs to Mesa. Another 1,300 jobs will come as a result of construction and other associated efforts.

What does this mean for Mesa and the region? It means high-paying jobs. Not only does it mean direct jobs at the plant, but also the supplemental jobs that follow a manufacturer to support their technology and development. One only needs to look at the Price Road corridor in Chandler and the companies along that corridor supporting Intel to see the potential for the future of our District and our City. It also means additional revenue and a financial boon for Mesa and its citizens.

I applaud Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and our City Council on their proactive approach in bringing development to our City. The HEAT philosophy and approach (Health, Education, Aviation, and Technology & Tourism) is being applied in our City, and it’s working.

If elected to the Mesa City Council next year, I promise that I will continue make sure the City of Mesa is Open for Business.

Welcome to Mesa, Apple!

Kevin Thompson is a Republican candidate running for the open seat for Mesa City Council District 6. Thompson’s district includes the Apple factory. Thompson is an Air Force veteran and a 15-year employee of Southwest Gas. To learn more, visit www.ThompsonForMesa.com or visit on Facebook.

LIBRE: Minimum Wage Workers Protest for More Pay

Growing the Economy is the Best Way to Raise Wages

(Washington, D.C.) – Fast food workers in many parts of the country today intend to walk out on their jobs in protest of low wages. Press reports indicate these workers support a doubling of the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. This walkout – which is financed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – is the most recent in a series of strikes in major U.S. cities. Supporters of the minimum wage increase for fast food workers say a higher salary is more important now because while fast food jobs used to be primarily taken by teens, many workers are now older and supporting families. Small business advocates argue that raising the minimum wage has the effect of forcing employers to increase their use of technology to replace personnel, reduce employee hours worked, or cut costs in other ways.

Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative released the following statement:

“While the struggle of these workers to make ends meet is legitimate, their complaints are aimed at the wrong target. Minimum wage increases come at a cost to job creators who will inevitably pass the economic burden on to clients and potential employees. Empirical research shows that such increases tend to reduce employment of the very ones requesting higher wages. The best way to get employers to raise wages is to create more jobs, grow the economy, put more money in the pockets of consumers and decrease regulations like the Affordable Care Act that are causing restaurants to lay off workers and cut hours.

More than four years into what the White House calls ‘a recovery’, family incomes have fallen, small businesses are hurting, and a shift in the job market has teens and older Americans competing for the same entry-level, low wage jobs. Fast food workers and others should demand a new approach from Washington – one that doesn’t rely on more borrowing, more taxes, and more regulation. Instead, we need to get government out of the way of entrepreneurs who know how to grow businesses and create economic opportunity.”

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The LIBRE Initiative is a non-partisan, non-profit, national grassroots organization dedicated to informing the U.S. Hispanic community about the benefits of a constitutionally limited government, property rights, rule of law, sound money supply and free enterprise through a variety of community events, research and policy initiatives. Latinos have been disproportionately hurt by the economic downturn suffering from higher levels of unemployment and poverty. Our aim is to equip the Hispanic community with the tools they need to be prosperous. Connect with us on Facebook at The LIBRE Initiative and @LIBREInitiative on Twitter. Visit: www.thelibreinitiative.com.

EPA overreach at Navajo Generating Station yields bad energy policy for Arizona

By Douglas Little, Phoenix Conservative Examiner

In one of the most egregious abuses of it regulatory power, the EPA is forcing the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) located near Page, AZ to make unnecessary and costly modifications to the generation facilities that would have no measurable effect on emissions in the region.

Using the Clean Air Act as its regulatory authority, the EPA claims that emissions from NGS are contributing to haze in the Grand Canyon area and in February of this year, proposed a regional haze restriction that would require NGS expenditures of $1.1 billion on additional emission reduction controls. This claim also ignores the fact that prevailing winds in the region result in plant emissions being blown away from the Grand Canyon, not towards it.

At the same time the EPA issued their ruling, a U.S. Department of Energy study concluded there would be no visibility improvement at the Grand Canyon after the controls were added. Why would the EPA pursue such a expensive and punitive rule when it would have no perceptible effect on haze at the Grand Canyon?

Opponents of the EPA action are reporting that the EPA doesn’t care about haze at all. They say what the EPA really wants is to provide a precedent for shutting down coal-fired electric generating plants. The Obama administration has a stated objective to reduce carbon emissions and last year attempted to implement a “cap and trade” approach to regulating fossil fuels. Republicans in the US Congress voted down the enabling legislation, with some calling it a “war on coal”.

Why is the EPA going after NGS and why is NGS so critical to Arizona?

The Navajo Generating Station was constructed at a cost of $650 million beginning in 1970 and ending in 1976 when the last of the three generating units was completed. The project was sited in its current location based on readily available coal fuel, a reliable source of water for cooling and the proximity of the city of Page which could provide for many of the project’s infrastructure needs, including an available skilled labor pool. The plant is located approximately 100 miles northeast of the Grand Canyon.

The primary purpose of the NGS was to provide power to support the Central Arizona Project (CAP) which is responsible for supplying Arizona’s share of Colorado River water to central and southern Arizona. To get water from the far northwest corner of Arizona to the rest of the state, CAP built a network of pumps, pipelines and and surface canals over 336 miles in length to transport Arizona’s annual allocation of 1.5 million acre-feet of water to Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties. The pumps must raise the water over 3000 feet to allow it to flow into central Arizona. The majority of the power generated by NGS powers the CAP pumps.

NGS has a long history of taking a proactive approach to emissions reduction. In 1999, NGS completed a $420 million retrofit that reduced sulfur dioxide emissions from the plant by 90%. In additional overhauls conducted between 2003 and 2005, electrostatic precipitators were overhauled for reliability and performance gains. In 2007, the Salt River Project, the plant operator, conducted studies on how to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions to reduce haze in the region and voluntarily installed emission reduction equipment on each of their three plants between 2009 and 2011.

Apparently, the best efforts of NGS were not good enough. The EPA rule proposed in February is one of the most stringent regional haze rules in the entire nation. It imposes a standard that is more rigorous that the standards for a brand new coal plant. At the 1600 megawatt Prairie State Energy Campus which first came online in 2012, the permitted level of NO emissions are 0.07 parts per million (ppm) while the standard for NGS, a 37 year old plant, is 0.055 ppm.

In an attempt to find a reasonable middle ground, a working group consisting of the EPA, U.S. Department of the Interior, the Salt River Project, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Gila River Indian Community, the Navajo Nation and the Western Resource Advocates began negotiations to find a “Reasonable Progress Alternative” to the BART rule issued by the EPA in February.

These negotiations were closed-door sessions and while the working group included non-stakeholder environmental activists like the Environmental Defense Fund, they did not solicit or accept input from important stakeholders like the Arizona Corporation Commission, which is the primary regulatory body for energy and water resources in the state. Arizona’s Attorney General was also excluded from legal review and comment on the proposed agreement.

Under the proposed settlement, visibility standards and haze causing nitrogen oxide standards are not even addressed. However, in one section of the proposed agreement, the Department of the Interior makes commitments to reduce or offset carbon dioxide emissions by 3% per year “in furtherance of the President’s 2013 Climate Action Plan”. It further states that “This commitment is intended to accomplish two aims: reduce carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrate the workability of a credit-based system to achieve carbon dioxide emission reductions” (emphasis added).

This action by the Department of the Interior and the EPA essentially unilaterally implements “cap and trade” at NGS even though they do not have Congressional authority to do so.

The working group proposal also calls for the early shutdown of one generation unit in 2020 or the equivalent reduction of output equal to the closure of one unit from 2020 to 2030. There is no consideration in the plan for any increased cost in replacement power or an increase in water rates due to those increased power costs.

While clearly not a great deal for SRP, the Navajo and CAP, why are they supporting it? The original rule issued by the EPA would have imposed the most stringent nitrogen oxide standards in the country and would require retrofits to the generating plants at a cost of over a billion dollars. Had that rule been implemented, the economic viability of the entire plant was in jeopardy. The Arizona stakeholders felt that the EPA was holding the plant hostage under its rule-making authority. They felt that the working group agreement was probably the best deal they could get under the circumstances, enabling them to keep the plant going at least until 2035.

Unfortunately, the working group agreement has some fairly large holes in it. Many of the commitments made by the Department of the Interior may require Congressional action to implement. In the current belt-tightening by the federal government, Congress may not be willing to fund the $100 million in commitments made by the Department of the Interior. Furthermore, the agreement anticipates a dramatic increase in water rates, but make no provision for it. In addition, it does not address the loss of jobs, economic benefit and tribal revenues that will result from the terms of the agreement.

A critical reading of the proposed working group agreement seems to indicate that these regulations are not about reducing regional haze. There is no meaningful reduction of nitrogen oxide in the proposed agreement. Instead, there is a focus on carbon dioxide emission reduction. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas and has no impact on visible haze.

In addition, the agreement is an apparent attempt to unilaterally implement a “cap and trade” system for regulating carbon emissions for which the Department of the Interior and the EPA have no statutory or regulatory authority.

Finally, it appears to be a blatant EPA attack on coal-fired generating plants with the full support and encouragement of environmental activists.

Is the EPA doing all of this for a reduction in haze that the federal government’s own study said would be imperceptible to the human eye? More likely, the haze standard simply gives the EPA the opening they need to accomplish their real objectives of shutting another coal plant and promoting Obama’s energy agenda.

EPA overreach? Good energy policy? The right choice for Arizona? You decide.

The public comment period on the proposed agreement will close on October 4th, 2013.

You can go here to comment: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-R09-OAR-2013-0009-0111

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

TUSK Launches New Ad Against 800 Lb Utility Monopoly

TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed) released a new ad Thursday against the APS monopoly by placing ads across the banner of the Drudge Report - one of the internet’s most visited political news sites.

Here’s a screenshot of the ad across Drudge:

TuskDrudge

In the latest ad, TUSK portrays APS as the “800 Lb. utility gorilla” beating up on independent solar businesses in Arizona. Former congressman, Barry Goldwater, Jr. then explains why conservative Republicans should be leading the charge for energy choice in Arizona.

Here is a copy of the ad:

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The message: Don’t let APS monopolize Solar Energy in Arizona. To learn more about TUSK visit www.DontKillSolar.com.

Phoenix Business Owner Says Mayor Needs To Keep Campaign Promise Regarding Food Tax

(Phoenix, AZ) It seems there were a lot of questions directed at Mayor Stanton at a community meeting held at the Mayo Clinic on April 23rd. But it wasn’t zoning laws or the need to fix our streets that was on most people’s minds, it was the food tax. In fact some of the residents that attended wanted to know why Mayor Stanton isn’t keeping his campaign promise that he made to repeal it like he did during his campaign. While Mayor Stanton continued to tell residents that the tax is needed to keep fire and police services operating, Phoenix business owner and city resident Nohl Rosen reminded him that he needs to keep his promise to the people.

“As a business owner when I make a promise to a customer, I honor it as that is what your supposed to do because it’s good service. I simply reminded the Mayor that he made a promise to the citizens of Phoenix and that he needs to keep it,” Rosen said.

However, during the meeting which was also attended by City Council members Jim Waring and Bill Gates, it was revealed that the food tax was used to give pay raises to city employees and also fund golf courses.

“When the food tax was put into affect 3 years ago, the citizens were told that it was to keep fire and police services going. Now we find out that the money wasn’t used for its intended purpose. Still, Mayor Stanton during his campaign said he would repeal the food tax and hasn’t done it. That would be the honorable thing to do and also sets things right. Just what is the Mayor waiting for?” Rosen further asked.

Rosen says he’s considering doing more of his shopping in Scottsdale and other neighboring cities to fulfill regular household needs until the food tax is repealed and encouraging others to do the same.

TUSK: Solar Power Has Staying Power in Arizona

Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed

New Poll Shows Opposition To APS’ Plans To Shut Down Solar In Arizona, Including Among Republicans
A New Organization Forms in Support of Solar Program

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — A revealing new poll shows that Arizona voters, including Republicans, are crystal clear in their opinion of solar energy: Voters like it and they want it to stay here. The information comes on the eve of efforts by Arizona Public Service to shut down the independent solar market in Arizona.

The poll shows that voters think solar power companies are better for the environment than other utilities, will save taxpayers money and an elected official who votes to end the solar program will be committing political malpractice, according to the pollster.

The poll comes as a new organization has emerged to encourage that solar remains viable in Arizona. To show backing for the solar industry, a new organization dedicated to keeping the solar industry in Arizona has announced its formation, T.U.S.K.—Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed. It will be dedicated to keeping the solar industry in Arizona and help the state’s business owners, homeowners and schools to keep their energy costs lower and to provide more energy choice for state taxpayers.

Well-known Arizona Republican and former U.S. Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr., who is supporting T.U.S.K. and its efforts, said: “As a son of Arizona, I know we have no greater resource than our sun. Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice and the competition to drive down rates. That choice may mean they save money and with solar that is the case. Solar companies have a track record of aggressively reducing costs in Arizona. It’s crucial that we don’t let solar energy—and all its advantages and benefits it provides us—be pushed aside by those wanting to limit energy choice. That’s not the Republican way and it’s not the American way. Energy independence is what we should all stand up for and that’s what I intend to encourage.”

The statewide poll, which was conducted on March 20-21 by renowned Republican pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 400 likely voters in Arizona, with an oversample of 327 likely Republican primary voters.

The key findings of the poll were as follows:

When asked which of many sources of energy they would MOST want to encourage the use of in Arizona, more than half (52%) of voters say solar power, making it far and away their top choice. Among just Republican primary voters, solar power again easily tops the list, with 40% of Republican primary voters saying they most want to encourage the use of solar power, followed by natural gas at 19%, nuclear at 14%, energy efficient efforts at 6%, oil at 5%, wind power at 5%, and coal at 4%.

  • Fully 63% of voters in Arizona say that solar power companies are better for the environment than utility companies, while just 21% say utility companies are better. Among Republican primary voters, half (49%) say solar power companies are better for the environment, while 31% say utility companies.
  • One half (52%) of Arizona voters say solar power companies are more likely to save taxpayers money, which is close to double the 28% who say utility companies are more likely to save taxpayers money.
  • Eight-eight percent of voters agree (including 76% of Republicans) that solar energy is finally succeeding in Arizona because solar customers are allowed to sell the extra energy their solar panels generate back to the utility company (called net metering). In other words, if consumers are forced to buy power from Arizona Public Service for a certain price, Arizona Public Service should have to buy excess power created by solar panels for that same price. The voters strongly agreed that this is a good policy that exists in 43 other states, and it should not be ended by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
  • Fully 75% of voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who voted to end the solar power program in Arizona, with a majority (52%) saying they would be much less likely to vote for that candidate. A Republican elected official who voted to end the solar power program would also be putting him or herself at risk in a primary, as 60% of Republican primary voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who voted to end the program.
  • Eighty-four percent of voters (and 76% of Republicans) agree that when it comes to providing electricity, there should be more choices and competition rather than just have to use the power from the utility monopoly. Solar power is an important part of that.

The poll was conducted by Glen Bolger, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. Bolger is one of the Republican Party’s top political strategists and pollsters. Bolger has extensive experience in Arizona. In 2012, Bolger did work on behalf of two of the independent expenditure efforts that helped elected Jeff Flake to the U.S. Senate. In previous election cycles, Bolger has served as the pollster for former Congressman John Shadegg, as well as former Congressman J.D. Hayworth.  Bolger also regularly conducts polling for the Arizona Association of Realtors and has done a significant amount of polling at the local level in the state. Bolger is one of the few pollsters ever to twice receive the “Pollster of the Year” award from the American Association of Political Consultants, winning the prestigious award for his work in both 2002 and 2009.

Public Opinion Strategies is a national political and public affairs survey research firm whose clients include leading political figures, Fortune 500 companies, and major associations. Public Opinion Strategies has 15 U.S. Senators, six governors, and more than 75 Members of Congress as clients.

“What this poll shows is that solar power is extremely popular the Valley of the Sun and throughout Arizona,” said Bolger. “The evidence is this poll is overwhelming: When it comes to encouraging the use of solar power in Arizona as compared to other energy sources, solar wins hands down and wins from both sides of the aisle. Voters believe that solar power companies are better for the environment than utility companies, and also that solar power companies are more likely to save taxpayers money than utility companies. Like school choice and health care choice, solar choice is supported broadly by Arizonans, and it’s an important part of the Republican agenda.”

Bolger concluded: “From a political standpoint, voting to end the solar power program is a complete non-starter, as voters are much less likely to support a candidate who votes to end the program.”

Read the poll interview questions

Read the findings

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Inequality in America: How Wealth is Spread

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inequality in americaA recent YouTube video, “Wealth Inequality in America,” has been steadily circulating through various internet sites and social media outlets. The viral video seeks to educate the American populace on how unjust or “skewed” the American Economic system is because it creates horrible economic inequality.  However, the video is rather vague for it seems to only emphasize the topic of the distribution of wealth, without actually explaining why they believe this inequality is ghastly and unfair. The video raised the question of whether or not CEOs are worth what they earn.  According to the video, a CEO earns in one hour what the average employee earns in one month.  The video also made the hypothetical query, “Does a CEO really work 380 times harder than his average worker?”; implying that this is immoral because  Americans do not ideally think or even perceive the value placed on CEOs as being fair distribution of wealth.  So then I pose this question, “Is this supposed unjust distribution caused by an inherently evil unjust system and do the rich like CEOs and athletes get paid an unjust amount?”. I have concluded that this is view is inaccurate as it is a misconception of how wealth is actually earned and dispersed.

First, we must become aware of how wealth is actually distributed in the United States, with the exception of government contracting, bailouts, grants and loans, social security, welfare (both corporate and individual). Whereas the Federal government chooses the winners and losers, wealth distribution is based off the free market. The market is simply people – millions of people that make day to day decisions. In fact, every time you choose to shop at Wal-Mart, Target or any other store you are deciding where to distribute your wealth. There is no system or outside force that causes you to purchase goods and services at any particular store in the United States or even a particular brand. Instead, we the American people decide how to spread our wealth. Economist, Walter E. Williams clearly conveys the truth of this idea,

Look at how Wal-Mart Stores generated wealth for the Walton family of Christy ($25 billion), Jim ($21 billion), Alice ($21 billion) and Robson ($21 billion). The Walton family’s wealth is not a result of ill-gotten gains, but the result of Wal-Mart’s revenue, $422 billion in 2010. The blame for this unjust concentration of wealth rests with those hundreds of millions of shoppers worldwide who voluntarily enter Wal-Mart premises and leave dollars, pounds and pesos.

In other words, millions of people are freely choosing to shop and distribute their wealth as they see fit.  This can also be seen when you choose to buy a generic brand over the name brand or when you decide to eat at a chain restaurant or a local restaurant; and by the fact that store owners and managers respond to your purchases by stocking the shelves with the products you desire most. These are all actions and reactions to people’s decisions.

Second, there seems to be a misconception of where people get the money to distribute the wealth they have. So where does wealth come from? Economist, Thomas Sowell explains this best,

Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on “income distribution,” the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned. People paying each other for goods and services generate income…[M]ost wealth is not distributed at all. People create it, earn it, save it and spend it.  (Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed, 1995, pg 211)

It is crucial for one to understand Sowell’s point that most wealth is earned and created by innovation and hard work. With this earned wealth, these people then can choose to spend, save, invest or even give their money away.  Ultimately, this is an admirable thing because it demonstrates free people making free decisions based on their own family and unique life situations.  It is not some central organization or mystical entity that distributes money – if so, it clearly would be unjust. Moreover, the video’s argument that there must be something inherently wrong since the desired and perceived distribution of wealth is categorically off from the actual wealth distribution numbers, is no real argument at all! This does not make for a cogent argument, especially if a person’s perception is already based on a false understanding of how wealth is created and distributed.  Economist Walter E Williams expounds on these common misconceptions some more,

I think some of the ignorance and much of the demagoguery stems from the usage of the phrase “income distribution.” It might make some people think income is distributed; in other words, there’s a dealer of dollars….An alternative vision might be that there’s a pile of money intended for all of us. The reason why some are rich and some are poor is that the greedy rich got to the pile first and took their unfair share. Clearly, in either case, justice would require a re-dealing, or redistribution, of the dollars, where the government takes ill-gotten gains of the few and returns them to their rightful owners.

Williams is right, although many in our culture seem to think they were given the shaft by some mythical dollar dealer or somehow they did not get their fair share as if there was a predestined share they were entitled to receive at birth. Now contrast that to the reality that wealth is created by producing goods and services that are pleasing to “one’s fellow man,” as Williams states. In other words, the only way you will obtain wealth is to earn it from your “fellow man” and to do that you need to produce goods and services that will be of use to them.

Thirdly, the video poses the idea that Athletes and CEOs do not produce as much as their employees. As a reference library assistant, I get paid for the services I provide to students for the university. I am paid a wage that is on par with the value the university places on me, and thus is willing to pay me. Furthermore, I work there because I am willing to be compensated at that rate. Again, millions of people do this same process all over the nation voluntarily.  This same voluntary process happens for CEOs, athletes and other rich members of our society by getting paid based on how much their employers value them. For example, Derek Jeter the short stop for the New York Yankees is to be paid this year about $24.5 Million. Now to you and me, Jeter may not be worth 24 million dollars nor does he necessarily work as hard as you or I combined. But to the New York Yankees, he is worth every penny. According to Andrew Marhand of ESPN New York,

“He [Jeter] is the brand,” said St. Louis Blues interim CEO Mike McCarthy, who ran MSG Network when it owned the rights to Yankees’ games. From McCarthy’s unique position as a top television executive and now as part of an ownership group in St. Louis, the 36-year-old Jeter adds premium value to the Yankees and YES — both estimated to be worth more than a billion each, maybe much more — as he likely becomes the first Yankee with 3,000 hits.

Kurt Badenhausen of Forbs magazine gives us even more perspective:

During his Yankees career Jeter has made $213 million in salary (with another $43 million still to come) and roughly $100 million in endorsements. Yet his value to the Yankees has been even greater. The value of the Yankees and its related enterprises has increased by nearly $5 billion during Jeter’s career. Yes other stars contributed greatly to the Yankees success, but no one quite like the Captain.

In other words, Jeter adds more to the team in value than just what he produces out on the field. This is not an unjust distribution of wealth because again it is millions of people like you and I who buy the Jeter memorabilia and watch the Yankee games on TV which adds to ratings – all of these situations are examples of wealth being distributed on account of the voluntary decisions of free individuals and not some scheming system planers.  The same goes for CEOs, for it is not  society that gets to decide how much the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, University of Phoenix, or any other company gets paid for the job they do. Society does not know the value that these positions is worth to those individual stock holders.

In conclusion, we are the ones who choose how to spend our dollar votes.  Therefore, the next time you go shop at a store or buy a Derek Jeter Yankee’s jersey, realize that you are distributing your wealth. There is no system that is ideal. The video clip, “Wealth Inequality in America,” is talking about an imaginative system or idea of more equality that does not exist and never will exist. Free markets are not perfect, but compared to all other economic systems there is nothing better. If you wish for more just results, then maybe giving to charity or starting a business and employing people at a wage you believe is fair would be a start. Either way, it is up to the millions of individuals to decide how they will distribute their wealth, because they are the ones who make up the market.   Therefore, let’s looks beyond idealism and ignorant perception and seek understanding.

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Editors note: as with all blog postings that appear with a by-line, the opinions presented are the author’s and not necessarily the positions of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.

Thomas Martin Salazar is an Arizona leader of the Café con Leche Republicans. Thomas was born and raised in Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Grand Canyon University and is currently working on obtaining a MDiv in Biblical Communication from Phoenix Seminary. Thomas has also served as the Grand Canyon University College Republicans Vice President and interim President (February 2007-April 2008) and as a Maricopa County Republican Precinct committeeman (August 2009 – August 2012). Original link.