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Wealth Redistribution in the USA

Updated on September 3, 2015

By: Wayne Brown

This past weekend, I went out for a stroll in my neighborhood. As I walked along, I looked at the houses that made up the subdivision, the cars dotting the driveway, and the various indication of success strewn about each place. That is when the idea hit me that I was missing out on a great opportunity. Without further ado, I immediately went to work implementing a new plan to supplement my own existence here on earth.

My plan was a simple one. When I saw a house that looked a lot better and bigger than my own and had expensive cars parked in the driveways and garages, I immediately headed for the front door and rang the doorbell. I had already sized up what I wanted to say in my mind and after listening to the president and CNN, it all made perfect sense. I was in search of “my brother’s keeper” just as the president had spoken of in his Vermont speech on the Bible story of Cain and Abel.

When the person occupying my target house answered the door, I simply smiled and said, “Hello neighbor!” I then launched into my presentation without delay. It went something like this: “Thank you so much for answering my call, my name is Wayne Brown and I live just up the street in this neighborhood. Today I was out for a stroll and admiring all of the beauty of this fine neighborhood. In doing so, I could not help but admire the fine home which you have here and those beautiful high-dollar cars parked out on the drive. Your home is far more beautiful and larger than mine. It is also easy to see that it is far better groomed thus you must spend a significant amount of money on the landscaping and accessories. Now, I said all that to make a point. Perhaps, you heard the president’s recent speech on brotherly love which he made in Vermont. In the spirit of that fine speech, I have come to your door to ask that you voluntarily share some of your wealth with me so that I can have a home that looks much like yours along with some beautiful, expensive cars on the driveway. You see, according to the president, even though you earn a substantial living, it is just not right that you do not share that money with your neighbors so that we can all benefit from your success. Won’t you please share?

If you are wondering how much success I had with my plan, don’t waste your time. Some people were quite polite and suggest that I seek medical attention. Some asked me if those assigned to watch me knew that I was outside the home. Others, the rude ones, just slammed the door in my face and locked it. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that asking my brothers for help would yield so little in terms of a response. Needless to say, I headed back toward my meager home empty-handed and disappointed that my neighbors did not see the world in the way that I did. It was then that I noticed the one house that had evaded my sight up to this point. Why it was glorious and I had to stop and give my pitch in the hope that at least one of my neighbors cared enough.

The gentleman who answered the door listened patiently to my pitch without remark or expression. He took it all in. Then, he ask if I had some time in my schedule which would allow me to come out on his patio and sit by the pool for a nice glass of home-made ice tea. I was elated and immediately answered that I had plenty of time for such activities. Wow…free tea! We made our way through the lavish home out to the backyard which was nothing short of Eden in its appearance. I was flabbergasted and envious that I did not have the drive or energy to create such an environment in my own backyard. Maybe this man would do it for me.

As we sipped the delicious peach-flavored ice-tea, the gentleman proceeded to review my request with me. He had listened perfectly and repeated exactly what I had said almost verbatim. I was impressed to say the least. Then as quick as Humpty-Dumpty fell off the wall, he asked me a question, “What is it that is wrong with you that stops you from being as successful as me? You don’t seem to have any physical disabilities or impediments which would keep you from work.”

I was caught off guard and realized that I had not anticipated or prepared such an answer. I stumbled about verbally then pointed out that I was physically fit but probably not as educated though I did possess a college degree.

The man laughed and pointed out that I actually was better educated than he had been in terms of formal education. He went to point out that he was the product of a share-cropper farming family. In his early teen years, he had been forced to drop out of school in order to help the family work the fields. When World War II came along, he volunteered and joined the Army paratroopers. At the initial launch of the D-Day Invasion, he and other members of his unit were dropped into France behind German lines and instructed to create a counter-offensive from the rear. To say they were out-numbered was an understatement. In the bloody fight, an exploding mortar round had sent hot shrapnel flying into his body severely wounding the man and almost clipping a main artery which would have left him dead on the battlefield. He survived but required months of rehabilitation to regain use of his right arm. When the war was over, he returned home only to find that things were as they were when he left and the cotton-fields lay before him as his future. His story was fascinating and I could not utter a word as he spoke.

The man went on to say that he rejected those cotton-fields and headed into the city to look for work. He became gainfully employed in a machine shop running a high-tech broom designed to sweep out the metal savings from the shop floor hour after hour and day after day. The job was not much better than working in the fields as the shop was hot and the machines were loud. But, he stuck with it and one day the boss offered him a chance at one of the lathe machines. He started off doing simple things but over time learned from the other machinists who worked about the machines on the floor. The work was detailed and difficult but he applied himself and gained all the knowledge that he could hoping to one day be the best machinist in the shop. The days turned into years and at some point, the man realized his goal. By then, he had devoted most of his young years to the machinist job.

The man who owned the shop decided to sell it and gave his best machinist an opportunity to buy it. It was a gamble, a big gamble with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt involved which would equate to millions by today’s standards. The man took his skills and went to the bank for help. Soon, he found himself in the role of ownership totally immersed in more debt than ever with less time than he had ever had to focus on the job of being a machinist. No, he had to hire people for that job for his time was taken up dealing with issues of business and government regulation compliance. He was no longer a member of the machinist union but now considered an enemy of it as he became an employer. He had payroll and profit to worry about by the hour and the mountain of debt associated with purchasing the business would be on his back for years and years to come. There were mouths to feed in terms of his employees needing a fair day’s pay. He had a lot of accountability and responsibility to the bank, his family, his employees, and himself. It was a very stressful time.

Over the years, the man continued to tinker as a machinist mostly in the afterhours of work. It was a hobby of sorts. It was during this time, that the man became interested in heat exchangers used in very larger commercial HVAC systems. There was opportunity to design a better mouse-trap there if someone could come up with an idea that exceed the performance of the current aluminum housing which tended to deteriorate rapidly but met the standards for cost in terms of pricing to the consumer for the HVAC manufacturers. The man began to play around with designs using light-gauge stainless steel. Over time, he perfected his design but in the process spent many hours away from his family life and home. Once the design was proven, he spent even more hours and money marketing it to the HVAC manufacturers. Finally, it all paid off and the contracts began to roll in. The man was able to expand his shop, add new employees, and give all of them a raise. The windfall from the initial sales allowed the man to pay off the mortgage on his business and for the first time in life, he was debt free.

Then came the day when one of the HVAC manufacturers decided that they wanted the business and the patent on the design. They made the man an offer that he could not refuse and bought out his business to operate under their corporate emblem. The man became wealthy with the payout and decided that it was time to retire and devote some time to his family. As he explained this, he then spread his arms about and said, “This is what we have to show for it all.” And, he asked me again, “What is it that has kept you from attaining a similar result?”

My answer had not improved. I had not attained his success because mainly I had not really tried. Nor had I really ever taken any risk. I had played it safe and settled in my comfort zone. Maybe my early life experience was part of the reason. I had never really known hardship growing up. In fact, I had most of the things that I wanted. After college, I went to work in a comfortable job for a comfortable level of pay thinking that I really had it made. Then I began to notice that others around me had more and I concluded that it just was not fair. Why should they have more than me? Why did they deserve it and not I? Why was life so unfair? Who would be my keeper and give me a leg up?

Now, I suddenly realized that those were not the questions I should have been asking. Now I realized that it was not the fault of others that I was where I was in life, far from it. The fault lay solely with me. Up to this point, I had looked at myself as a “victim” of the system being deprived of the success and reward which seemed to come to others and not me. Now, things looked different. Those people looked different and I realized that none of them had taken anything away from me in the process of attaining their own success. I also realized that I lived in a country where success had no limitations but was not rationed to anyone nor guaranteed. We all have the opportunity to pursue it and some of us maybe lucky enough to catch that butterfly. One thing I knew for sure, this man I had just shared a glass of peach ice-tea with was definitely deserving of the success he had achieved in life and in the process he had earned…no one gave it to him.

I headed back home with a new outlook and attitude. For the first time, I looked about me and saw my house and my car in a very different light. Somewhere, there was someone who thought my house and my car was better than theirs. They thought that I had achieved the success that they desired and deserved. I realized that they also thought that I, in the process, had taken something away from them. I became aware of how we let envy and ignorance rule our lives and our passions. For the first time, I was truly thankful for what I had and the fact that I had earned it. I then began to think about it in terms of someone coming to my door with the same pitch which I had used on my neighbors and I realized that I would likely be one who might be considered rude in my response. I had to laugh.

I also gained another perspective. The president’s message on Cain and Abel was not one that I could abide by nor was it the intent of the story in the Bible. Yes, we look out for our brothers and sisters and we offer a helping hand to those in need. It is part of the human experience and of the human compassion when we are not blinded by greed and selfishness. But, we don’t take from those who have earned it and redistribute it to others just because we have that power. There is nothing about that outcome which is right nor is the conclusion associated with it anywhere near correct. We cannot conclude that the success and achievement of one individual is wholly dependent on the misery and failure of another. That defines a limited success where the “pie” remains the same size no matter how many require a slice. That is not America…at least not the America I know. If it is the one which President Obama desires to introduce us to, then we need to rethink where we are going as a people. That message is clear.

President Obama may think that there is something angelic and good-intentioned about using the power of the office of president to take from those who have earned their achievements and success only to redistribute it in the name of buying admiration for him and his ilk. Redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with Cain and Abel in the sense of one helping another. It only makes use of the greed and envy which was apparent in the story and extends it into the present day. It is one more burning log on the fires of class envy which the president has elected to add.

We are long since passed the time when the federal government should be out of our lives. For far too long now the subjects of education, poverty, and environmental activism have been at our front door steps and the answer to all of them, according to our elected elite and the federal government, is to spend more money on them. The amount of taxpayer money already spent in those areas since LBJ was president in the 60’s is staggering to think about yet it is still the solution. That aspect alone should be enough to tell us that government is not the solution to our problems.

Government officials, especially those of this current presidential administration, are more than willing to sit there in Washington and create class divides, envy, and all out warfare in the name of accomplishing their agenda and as an aid to getting re-elected to office. People like Warren Buffett come in very handy in that case as few in the nation ever check to see where he stands with the IRS. Amazingly, these same people will gamble their entire future on their “gut” while ignoring the socialistic actions of this administration; while ignoring the president is surrounded by self-described socialist, Marxist, and Communist in the White House. They will also parrot the say statements which he makes including “the rich are not paying their fair share” while some of them pay no taxes whatsoever in terms of income. You don’t have to be rich to be a hypocrite.

The future of this nation hangs in the balance at the present. Whether we head deeper into the woods of Socialism or do an about face back into the sunlight of Constitutional respect is a choice that we, the people, can make at the present. That may not be the case in four more years, but if that is the way it turns out, we can only blame ourselves as a nation who let divisiveness and class envy fog their vision in terms of who they would vote for in the November election.

©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.

16 April 2012


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas nailed it...understand it perfectly and there are those who wish to keep these people in the same mindset including one Barack Obama. We have to move away from a system where people look to something outside themselves to raise their status in the world. This is not about stealing from each other. If we do it right, the pie is of infinite size. Thanks much. WB

    • profile image 

      6 years ago from upstate, NY

      It's a poverty mentality that pervades those who demand other poeple's money! It's based on the fear that if someone succeeds it makes failures out of others! It's the same fear that keeps poeple from taking the risk to succeed and also prevents poeple from creative thinking in order to succeed.

      It's no accident that those who demand handouts are the same folks who have no real faith in God or anything else that really matters!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @WillStarr...Yes, and Obama believes that the stranger is entitled and tells him so. Just like Ted Kennedy, he loves to give away your money but not his. Oh to celebrate when this man is gone, I cannot wait for the moment. Thanks, Will. WB

    • WillStarr profile image


      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      It's all about attitudes and goals. If your goal is to lie around drinking beer and watching TV, that's exactly where that attitude will take you. If your goal is to better yourself, you will.

      Income redistribution is the notion that a stranger who did nothing to earn your money has more right to it than you do.

      Super Hub, Wayne!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @CMerritt...When I think of that 47% that does not pay tax, I have to pinch myself and remind me that it includes my little ole 84 year old mother who I think has probably earned the right after all these years. There is certainly a group who does belong there like our elderly but those on long-term welfare who can work if they choose need to get on the tax rolls as well. The easiest thing in the world is to sit around envying what everyone else has and has worked for in most cases. To think that someone would actually want the government to take a portion of that and redistribute it to them is astounding. Somewhere along the way, we went terribly wrong. I think it might have been during LBJ's Great Society that we created the roots of entitlement. Thanks much for the good comments Chris...glad I could inspire you. WB

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Again, awsome job drive home a point everyone needs to hear....some perhaps need to hear it more than others, but all of us need to be reminded of what we have, and how thankful we should be that we have it.

      As you well know, we all have got to pay taxes, but when 50% of us pay for 97% of all the revenue generated by our taxed income....well, it sure seems as if maybe other solutions need to be thought about. Maybe, if our gov would quit spending our money on lavish parties, hookers and extravagant vacations....and take things a tad more serious with their jobs....the bottm 50% could maybe kick in a dime or too, and become neighbors in your subdivision.

      Sorry for the always get me all fired up. lol


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @breakfastpop...I would be glad to raise the money for his trip to whatever home he desires as long as it is not the White House. I am already sick of seeming Me-Chell's face plaster on my AOL site begging me to tell Barack that "I'm In"....sorry Charlie....I am out and always will be. A stray dog has a better shot at my vote and could actually run the country better in my opinion. Thanks for the good words. WB

    • breakfastpop profile image


      6 years ago

      What a brilliant piece of writing. It is logical and filled with truth and common sense. Now if only the part of the population that doesn't possess any of these qualities could educate themselves and rise to the occasion. This is going to be the most disgusting campaign cycle in history. Let's hope it ends with the Obama's heading back to Chicago or Kenya. Up and awesome and everything in between.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @drbj...That would be par for the course I am afraid. Obama has lit the fires of people who want to share in the outcome but exert as little effort as possible on the way. He is dismantling America from the inside. No doubt, these are dangerous times for the future of our country and that fate may be locked if Obama is successful in November. Surely there are enough sane people left to turn this country in another direction. Thanks, Doc. WB

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      You do know how to make your points, Wayne. This was intriguing and fascinating, but not a work of fiction. It is the #$@&*##*^ truth that our current leaders (?) choose to ignore.

      I saw a fellow on TV the other night who was filmed standing in line at a Jobs Service office. The interviewer asked him what kind of a job was he looking for. The man responded, angrily, "I ain't lookin' for no job. I'm lookin' for a CAREER!" And he was sincere about that desire. He expected the Jobs Service funded by our government to provide him with a career. No effort on his part of course. That is what is happening in the U.S. today with the 'gimme' generation. Thanks for reminding us. Hope it's not too late!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Pamela99...I think that is exactly what gave me the inspiration. Obama continues to attempt to make cripples out of the American public so that we will be dependent on the is part of the plan for continuing government expansion and a socialist lifestyle. Thanks much. WB

      @Angela Blair...Thank you so much, Angela. I know we get it here in Texas...I just wish everyone else did as well and we would be done with this guy. Wb

      @cat on a soapbox...Thank ya, thank ya very much. WB

      @fpherj48...You get the point as I intended it. They are knocking on the door metaphorically right now and the knocks will get louder and more frequent. And just like my fictional character, they don't understand why they deserve a portion of your success either but they have been told by this president that they are entitled to it. what a sham. Thanks much. WB

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wayne...As all your work is, this is fabulous. I had to chuckle, picturing a man coming to our door with such a request. Then the reality of your tale hit me where you intended

      They have knocked, are knocking and will continue to....with the added assistance of the powers that be. How special is that?

      This story MUST be published NATIONALLY for all eyes to see. We can only hope there is a brain behind those eyes. UP +++ !!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Bravo, Wayne! Your hub converts meaningless political rhetoric into an easy to understand lesson. Voted way up!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      6 years ago from Central Texas

      Excellently written and presented Hub, Wayne. If there's anyone that reads it and doesn't get the message -- well, let's just hope they do so we can get this country back on track. The coming presidential election is so very important -- our country will survive and go forward or accept defeat and it's demise -- pretty simple. Best/Sis

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is an absolutely outstanding hub that made it point very effectively. I have been disgusted with this "Give me mentality" that seems so have taken over our nation. We sure can't afford 4 more years or the same! Awesome hub.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @The Frog Prince....Yes, I was a bit tongue-in-cheek here but I wanted to make the point that asking others for what they have most certainly earned is not the way to find your own way in this life. Sadly, far too many do not understand or grasp that concept. Thanks Frogman! WB

      @Truckstop Sally...Thanks much...I try hard! LOL! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      6 years ago

      WB - In addition to everything else - you are quite an amazing teacher. You make your points with solid examples . . . and a little humor too! Thanks

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Wayne - While I also gave you a funny, it was only because I happen to know you. What you wrote here maybe even a liberal can understand. You and I both know that we don't owe anyone a damned thing and they don't owe us squat either. If you want something then go out and work for it.

      All this envy politicking going around is sickening. I don't begrudge anyone the wealth they have accumulated through their own hard work and efforts. Class warfare isn't a good idea and I've been hammering away at the key board about it myself for a while now.

      Remember In November!

      The Frog

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @David Warren...Good for you David, the pie is never defined in size until the socialist start cooking it, then it has to be equally divided so there will be enough to go around. The key is to never let them in the kitchen. Best of luck to you. WB

      @Old Poolman...What you point out is exactly correct, Mike. This is nothing more than a play to gain votes and play with minds. Thanks much. WB

      @J Elaine...You make me proud to hear that. I too came from humble backgrounds but we always had food and shelter. I resolved to have more and I worked at it. Never once did I think that someone should share with me or give it to me. Opportunity is all about us and thank God for that. We just have to decide how hard we want to work, how much we want to apply ourselves and how much risk we want to take. Once we do that, things begin to happen. It is people like you and your husband who make this the great country that it has been. You stand on your own two feet and you ask for nothing except a chance. That is true American grit and I love it! Thanks much. WB

    • J Elaine profile image

      J Elaine 

      6 years ago from Northern Minnesota

      Awesome! I came from abject poverty, lived without electricity and running water for years with 2 young children. By getting some education and working hard my husband and I have gained a lot, but not super success. The thing is, I knew all along I could use my talents along with hard work to go as far as I wanted. I just never wanted to make the sacrifice that I knew was required.

      With the current economy, we're struggling more, but doing ok. I'm just glad we live where we do and will survive no matter what.

      Great hub. I'll share it with others.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 

      6 years ago

      Truly outstanding Wayne. Most of us know that if were possible to evenly divide all of the money in this country to all the people, within a short time some would be wealthy, some would be poor, and some would be in the middle. Most of us at times wish we had more, but as you point out not everyone is willing to take the risks or put in the effort to achieve more. It is far easier to demand that those with more give some to those with less.

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 

      6 years ago from Nevada and Puerto Vallarta

      Well said Wayne. I worked my a.. off until I literally wore out my neck to soon. I don't blame the government or anyone else. I could have completed a higher level degree rather than climbing steel, pouring bridge columns etc. Life is what it is. Do I sometimes wish I had more? Sure I do but I am focusing on finding a way to earn more again. Voted up and awesome!


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