I fail to see a morality issue in people having wealth.
Statistically, the wealthiest pay the majority of taxes, and in fact, a great many individuals earning lesser salaries pay no taxes.
The commentary states that "one of the fundamental moral commitments of a democracy is to equality."
Democracy guarantees everyone the right to vote, to have freedom and so on. I do not believe that it guarantees economic fairness.
I agree there are people who make obscene salaries, but they are a small percentage of the U.S. population.
Let us look at some of our local wealthy. W.T. Young, who donated $5 million to build the University of Kentucky library, made a great deal of his capital through risk, hard work and luck.
When he started out, there was a great deal of risk on his investments and storage facilities and the purchase of products being made in Lexington. All these activities employed many people. Young admitted several times that Storm Cat, one of his horses, helped him become a rich person.
Warren Rosenthal, former chairman of Jerrico Inc., took a risk starting a business and has been a substantial donor to the Lexington and world community.
Part of the difficulty today is unemployment. As an employer, I look with disdain on how our state handles social benefits in certain circumstances. I am obligated to pay for unemployment insurance, as well as worker's compensation, which an employee collects even when he might have been at fault.
The professors who wrote the commentary mention that the economic gains in the United States have gone to the wealthy in the past 30 years. But there also is a much higher standard of living for the average American, or at least there was until 2008.
Unfortunately, the crisis the United States is facing is minor compared to the problems faced by Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain and other European countries.
Part of their difficulties was created by giving subsidies to the average working person. Because of the debt these countries now face, the subsidies are being eliminated, causing economic problems.
The U.S. government performs the same. For example, Boeing and other aviation companies are subsidized by orders for military aircraft that might not be required. This is just one example, but how many employees who are earning great wages would be affected by the lack of those orders?
If I become rich, whatever that definition is, by taking investment risks, working six or seven days a week, paying thousands of dollars a year into Social Security for my employees, contributing to worker's compensation and unemployment insurance, would I not be a moral person?
I believe Thomas Jefferson would say so.
Also, I do not believe that Jefferson and others would oppose what Bill Gates has created since he started Microsoft in a garage. And we read daily about other rich people who have provided jobs for thousands of people.
Then, there are the rich you never hear about. How many have heard of Ruth Pearlman of Philadelphia who made major donations to institutions there? John E. Anderson of Los Angeles, who made major donations to UCLA and other Southern California institutions?
There is certainly greed and immorality among the rich, but I think the same applies to the less wealthy and to college professors.