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American Plain-Jane

Updated on September 2, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

When I listen to the president speak of the rich not paying their fair share of the tax burden in the country, I become more and more convinced that he believes the Founding Fathers got it totally wrong when they wrote the Constitution. Apparently he believes the statement of purpose in the Preamble to be inadequate to the people of America. Never mind liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness for the president declared that fairness is what it is all about in America.

Let’s get one thing straight here at the start so our thinking is on this matter is not overly clouded with confusion. One does not legislate fairness. Fairness is not manufactured or created but exists mainly as a by-product of circumstance. We have many laws on the books which are nothing more than failed attempts at legislating fairness. Those laws still exist but as they president would describe it, as a people, we have still missed the mark on the concept of fairness. Apparently, he also does not understand that it cannot be legislated into existence.

Let’s take a simple example in a localized situation and then expand on it so that we can see how the concept of fairness being created fails to meet the bar. Let us take a look at Mary. She is a college freshman with auburn hair and bright green eyes. Mary wants very much to have a boyfriend and she has eyes for a young man in her freshman English class who goes by the name of Jeffrey. Mary swoons when Jeffrey is about and does everything she can to attract his attention but never really can get the time of day from him. She checked him out with some friends and found that he is dating no one steadily therefore he is available. She also found out something very disappointing to her. Jeffrey likes blue-eyed blondes and seems to have eyes for another girl in the English class who fits that bill to a tee. To say that Mary is down-trodden is an understatement. She continues to search for ways to woo this young man.

Now, in this case, one might decide there is a very simple solution. Mary could dye her beautiful auburn hair to a blonde color. She could also go see the local optometrist and get a pair of contact lens which will turn her eye color to blue from the current bright green. She would then eliminate some of the obstacles to her goal. Mary is not willing to do that as she thinks that she should not have to change to have Jeffrey at her side. At the same time, Mary has now more closely checked out Jennifer, the young lady who Jeffrey does seem to give the eyes. To Mary’s surprise, Jennifer is neither a blonde nor does she have blue eyes. Jennifer has indeed employed the proposed solution that we discussed above. Mary is livid and considers Jennifer a fake. What Jennifer has done to secure the affections of Jeffrey is a lie and totally unfair though it is not illegal. In her misery, Mary goes to the school Dean and pleads her case.

The Dean, realizing how unhappy Mary has become with all of this unfair competition, immediately creates policies which should make things fair for Mary and others like her. The Dean immediately implements a policy which says that everyone who attends the school must have brown hair and brown eyes. In addition, everyone must wear either a khaki skirt or khaki pants with a black polo shirt for a top. In essence, the Dean has created a policy designed to establish “fairness” in the school by taking away the outward characteristics of everyone’s personality and individuality. Now, all the students basically look alike. Jeffrey is not happy. Jennifer is not happy. And guess, what…Mary had to dye her hair anyway…Mary is not happy. To top it off, Jeffrey now dislikes Mary for starting the entire mess.

This outcome is the very thing the Founding Fathers were attempting to avoid with their approach to the Constitution. The document focused on liberty, justice, and the opportunity to pursue happiness. In essence it established our country on two distinct principles of freedom and access. In terms of freedom, it established a system whereby each individual is afforded the freedom to act on life as long as those actions remain within the boundaries of the laws established to safeguard public welfare and establish justice. If a person desires to take a risk and become a business person, then they have the freedom to do so. In terms of access, we are afforded opportunity which basically is access. If we desire to become a business person, then we have access to banks with funds that can loan us the money to start a business if we so choose to take the risk. There is no guarantee of success, only access to the opportunity and the freedom to decide. Fairness is simply a by-product of those elements, and that is how fairness is successfully achieved for a given people.

When we focus on “fairness” as the primary basis of our society, we begin to walk a line which leans toward “tyranny”. Why is that the case you ask? Because, just as we have seen from the example above, ultimately when the perception of “fairness” is legislated or manufactured, some individual or group must do it in an authoritative manner….there is no vote…this is how it is going to be. Now we have the perception of fairness but very few are happy about it in the end.

Fairness also can lead us down a road toward mediocrity. Once we begin to institute the perception of fairness into our lives, we quickly begin to ask the question, “Where does it stop?” Let’s take another example so that we better understand this concept. Let’s stick with Mary and her friends in college. Mary, though of auburn hair and green eyes, always thought herself a pretty girl. Sadly, the truth of the matter is that all the other girls look at Mary as the most-homely, plain Jane in the school or at least they did until the Dean instituted the new policy to establish fairness. Now, all the other girls look like Mary as they all have brown hair and brown eyes and wear the same clothes. They feel mediocre and without any individuality. As in most cases, perception becomes truth. If they feel mediocre, they act and perform on the same level and thus become even more mediocre. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy once one believes it.

Let’s take another direction on this concept of fairness driving mediocrity. Jeffrey just happens to be the smartest kid in the entire college. He scored the highest on record on the SAT and he maintains a 4.0 grade average in every course. Many of the other students have complained and stated that they believe that Jeffrey has an unfair advantage because of his intelligence and they are not given a fair shot at winning any of the awards or scholarships at the school. The Dean, being the all-knowing sort who is bent on having fairness, quickly implements another policy which states that Jeffrey will become the baseline grade-point for the school. Since it appears by the SAT scores that Jeffrey is twice as smart as everyone else, each of the others students will be graded using a factor of 2X applied to their scores on tests in order to more fairly level the field and give everyone a shot at the awards and scholarships. Obviously, Jeffrey is not happy. His intelligence now really means nothing in terms of achievement or success. He is simply the reference point by which others have their grades multiplied. Jeffrey quits performing and his grade point slides steadily downward until he has achieved mediocrity. All the other students are happy and lower their performance as well because they remain on a relative plain with Jeffrey by virtue of the on-factor put in place by the Dean to establish fairness. Unfortunately, fairness went by the wayside and the outcome was simply, mediocrity.

When you listen to this president speak of fairness in terms of paying taxes, and when you hear him reference people like Warren Buffet in that process, stop and ask yourself whether or not the president is attempting to manufacture “fairness” just as the Dean has done in our examples. Look at the existing statistics on those who pay taxes and how much they pay. You may not agree with the president that the wealthier among us do not pay their fair share. You might also take the time to take a closer look at the hypocrite, Warren Buffet. Buffet claims that he is taking unfair advantage of us and not paying his fair share of taxes…at least that is what he claims in the public venue. On the private side, Buffet’s holdings owe the federal government almost one billion dollars in back taxes for which Buffet employs a whole team of lawyers to fight. Buffet does not feel that he OWES these taxes in reality. In essence, Buffet takes his public stand to avoid the criticism of the left in reference to being a “rich man”. It works for him too. In the end, he is simply a hypocrite and a pawn being used by this president to make a point which is nothing more than another untruth offered up to the American people in the interest of sustaining class envy and division in our country.

At the same time, take some time to ask yourself where we are headed when we begin to legislate fairness as a key element of our society. There is no doubt that we will fail at the outcome as so many have in the past. There is no doubt. But where does it stop once it is started and where does it all end up in the end? I think it is fair to say that the outcome, in most cases, will be mediocrity at best. That outcome was not what the Founding Fathers envisioned for this nation of people and it is certainly not what we as a people should be willing to accept. Certainly fairness has its place in a society of people but you don’t get there using the current approach employed by this president.

When we speak of fairness in this country today, it should focus on the mountain of debt which the federal government is piling up with each passing day. That burden will be passed to our future generations who may well have less opportunity and less means by which to deal with it. Softening that burden can only be accomplished by a reduction in the rate of current spending levels meaning we have to significantly tighten our belt as a country. One step in that direction is a move toward reducing the physical size of government at the federal level. In fairness to the American people, the federal government should demonstrate some fiscal restraint and direction, something which it is devoid of at the present.

This administration wants to use fairness as a pry bar to tear and divide us while extracting votes for the care that it shows. Meanwhile, spending continues with an open checkbook and no plausible budget. In fact, this president and his cronies in Congress do not believe that a budget is a necessary item to the functions of government…simply another obstacle to deal with as we go through this fundamental transformation which will shift our focus from liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness to one of fairness and mediocrity. Think about it, or had you rather end up like Mary?

©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.

13 April 2012


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    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @Kathrnhill...I agree...even Bill Clinton could get that part right. A system that continues to grow on itself on the basis of giving, giving, giving, when it has no resources other than those of the producers does not have the welfare of the nation in mind. Thanks much and I appreciate the vote of confidenc. I won't be running but I'll damn sure for you when the time comes! WB

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      Kathrynlhill 5 years ago

      If the government had a way (BESIDES taxing us) to earn money ...bring it on. BUT IT DOESNT. If the government has SUCH A BIG HEART that it wants to assist the poor... then maybe there should be a branch of Government called Feed the Poor through GOVERNMENT Generated Business: The FPGGB branch.

      Have the poor work for that branch of Government which would exist in every neighborhood of every state.

      No work, no pay. When the people working for this branch get sick of the government mandated work, they would eventually get out and go find work THEY WANT to do. It would be a great experiment.

      I should run for President in four years, I think. Any one want to back me? Well, that is the real problem. Those who have the solutions don't have the karma to ride so high. bah. Next life time, I'll be born a man and get a Law Degree from Harvard.

      I would vote for you, Wayne Brown!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @junko...I do not disagree in terms of the publicly held corporations holding out for profit increases in every quarter, especially when they do not look hard on the overhead inside first. I am certainly not promoting unfettered capitalism. At the same time, the level of socialism which Obama brings to our society is far too high. ObamaCare by itself if far too much without anything else in the process. Our economy will not get well unless we unleash the private sector and Obama, by his Keysian Economics will not allow that to happen. He wants the government to be the cure-all, be-all and our country just does not work in that manner. I know for a fact that many corporations consider the USA to be a mature market because further investment relative to the rest of the world means far higher labor costs and very high regulation compliance costs. We are losing investment in the country partly because the skilled worker, through unions, has priced themselves out of the global market and partly because miniumum wage has reached such a high level. I can fully understand the reluctance to invest when costs are that high. We need a new balance if we are to find a balance. Thanks for the comment. WB

    • junko profile image

      junko 6 years ago

      I agree Wayne Capitalism is a good concept , Captalism If regulated to the point where the rich don't just get richer and the poor don't just get poorer, than, that would be fairer. There is a difference in capitalism and in the law of the jungle,(Only the strong survive. Unregulated capitalism allows Monoplies that gobble up weaker competition, resulting in Price control. Unreulated Capitalism and privatalization has cause a steady constant rise in the cost of living for the masses of people. Fairness for the great unwashed is a little socialism at this time. The underclass can't afford to pay their own cost of living and the working class can hardly pay their cost of living, should the poor be allowed to die? In capitalism as it is now, the profit margin MUST grow every year or quarter or every fiscal or heads will roll. Maybe if The rich pay more taxes for a few years and corporations rolled back prices a few years and take the lost for the good of the country that gave birth to capitalism, that would be fair to the masses. I believe regulation is capitalism's only hope for continued survival and if capitalism is allowed fail the U.S. will fail,because you can't have one without the other. I know you have to keep it simple for the underclass and college and the white was a breakdown to the lowest common denonator. I thank you for allowing my different views.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @breakfastpop...You may be correct, Poppy. I am starting to see some examples! LOL! Thanks much. WB

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Debby Bruck...God-given gifts do fit into the formula when someone is attempting to engineer "fairness" can look at our education system and see that...students basically aimed toward mediocrity as a whole. I took this a bit to the absurd to make the point. Fairness is the byproduct of other actions taken...not the focus. By having liberty and the opportunity to pursue happiness, we get fairness. That does not guarantee success for all which is what those would attempt engineer fairness are trying to do. Look at the mess they made of the housing industry by attempting to create fairness in terms of ownership. Everyone has the opportunity to buy and own a home in America but you also have to have the accountability and responsibility for the task. Attempts at fairness answers one without answering the other. Thanks much for the good comments. WB

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      You explained this concept so brilliantly that I wonder, is it possible a liberal could understand it too?

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 6 years ago

      Dear Wayne ~ Very interesting propositions and arguments. I will discuss this over dinner with my husband. My personal opinion about the definition of "fairness" does not seem to fit into your world view. Individuality, God given gifts do not relate to the basic assumptions of your hypothesis and outcomes.

      I believe each individual should have the opportunity to strive to be and do their best in the world, to fulfill their highest mission.

      I also believe that an ethical and moral person, although they may have the means to employ an expert to find loopholes to get out of paying an equal share into the community welfare, would take the high road and help others.

      Of course, this complicated issue becomes even more complicated when the agency (government) may not be expending the funds in a way in which a person agrees. Perhaps a person is against wasteful spending, aggressive wars, building a nuclear arsenal, mandating many other particular health, societal and environmental regulations.

      Can we perhaps click off on our tax forms where we would like the moneys to be allocated? Maybe some would call this unfair, as well. Personally, I feel the astronomical amount of money spent on political campaigns a total waste and may I say, "unfair?" The rich or those able to raise gazzilions of dollars may have an unfair advantage to blast their political message out to more people more frequently in more markets. Oh boy. A can of worms.

      Blessings to you this day, Debby

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @fpherj48....Thank ya, thank ya very much. These concepts are not of my creation just the mind of conservative thinkers. We must have candidates willing to go this far if we are to have a real voice with America. If Romney sits around on the defensive and attempts to fend off blows from Obama, the performance of Obama and his agenda for America will never be discussed...Obama is counting on that. This guy needs to be put on the spot for some real answers again and again. Thanks for the good words. WB

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally...Sorry about that but I needed to get the emphasis on the "blue-eyed blonde trait" for the piece. As for our kids, they must be taught that we are not competing with each other, we are competing against ourselves. We are the baseline and the purpose is to make the base better through education, exercise, and experience. My next door neighbor does not keep me from being a professional baseball player just because he also plays baseball. I keep myself from achieving that goal by not believing in myself and my abilities and not being focused enough on the task to do the hard work. We always have to come back to the point in the one is guaranteed the success, simply the pursuit of it. Once a child understand those concepts they realize that only they, themselves, can hold them back and the flourish. That's a whole lot better than letting some socialist train your children to believe they are just like everyone else therefore they should not reach for the brass ring. Thanks, Amy! WB

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @junko...I agree that the federal government has been out of control for longer than Obama has been around but our debt has certainly taken a beating in the time he has held office. The example is not a comparison of college and the is an example to show what happens when one tries to "engineer" fairness into our lives. I intentionally made it a bit absurd so that folks get the point. Capitalism, when approached and executed by honest business people works like nothing else all the way around. We cannot let the thieves who invade our world set the bar. Yes, they must be caught and prosecuted to the full extent but that does not mean we need to dismantle our capitalist model to do so. WB

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Davesworld....Great example of the government creating havoc yet not really knowing what to do either. Thanks much for sharing. WB

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      WAYNE BROWN FOR PRESIDENT 2012!! I am on my feet, applauding and waving banners! This hub is of the brilliant stuff I long to hear from our Politicians....all of them.

      If you won't be a candidate..the least you can do for your fellow Americans is WRITE THEIR CAMPAIGN SPEECHES!!!

      Up UP UP!!!

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      With the photo, I thought this was going to be about The Beverly Hillbillies, Ellie Mae, and the Clampitts -- Darn, you are making me think instead . . .

      I have to say the idea of fairness begins in elementary school - when everybody is supposed to make the team . . . and play . . . and be the star. Can we find a way to transition from doing your best . . . to being honored for being the best? All kids need to be encouraged to do their personal best in academics, sports, citizenship . . . to develop, mature, grow . . . I am on my soapbox, but I don't know the answers . . . Help! How about Mary becomes a red-head??

    • junko profile image

      junko 6 years ago

      @ WB... The masses I think are with the President. The Federal Government has continued out of control spending since the Government started printing money backed only by the might the US Government. I believe comparing runing a nation with running a college is a bit unrealistic. It's like comparing your personal economy with the economy of the US Government and than suggesting that the President's credit card be cancelled because he is spending more than he is collecting in taxes . Don't you think we should be talking about regulating Capitalism?

    • Davesworld profile image

      Davesworld 6 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

      Several years ago, the State of Minnesota mandated "equal pay" for men and women throughout the state's many school districts. District 833, where I live, presented a plan - the State rejected it. District 833 presented an updated plan - the State rejected it too. The District couldn't get a third plan to the State before the deadline and so got fined. Eventually a successful plan was created.

      When the District asked the State what was wrong with the previous two plans, the State responded with (paraphrasing from memory) "Most of the rest of the Districts managed this. We don't exactly know what is wrong with your plans but we know they are wrong, so fix them."

      I supply this anecdote to underscore what dahoglund said. It is very difficult to define "fairness" much less implement it.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @dahoglund...Thanks much are my sanity meter! LOL! WB

      @junko...Within that environment,if you want to go that school, the Dean most certainly does exercise controls over policy and regulation. With regard to the debt, we are not talking about unregulated capitalism that is a is unregulated, out of control federal spending which is driving this losing battle and it continues while this president attempts to create division and envy in the masses. Thanks much. WB

    • junko profile image

      junko 6 years ago

      The dean had nothing lawful or policy wise to do in controlling the pursuit of love. The President on the other hand has the right lawfully and policy wise to pursuit laws and policies that insure that all Americans can pursuit life, liberity and the pursuit of happiness. At this time in America all the money and bank loans has roses to the top. The founding Fathers with all due respect could not envision the results of unregulated Capitalism.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I agree with your view completely. There is no way that fairness can be determined, let alone enforced.

      Whenever the president or anyone else talks about "fair share" my reaction is "What is a fair share?" "Who makes that determination?" Fairness seems to be subjective and pretty hard to legislate.