Robert B. Cherenson: Freedom has winners, losers

January 11, 2014 

In the two opinion pieces, “America’s poor, middle class sinking” and “The Shame of Denigrating the Poor” (Jan. 5, Page D1), The Bee failed to present any balance on a very complex phenomenon – the income gap in America.

Extending unemployment benefits beyond the baseline of 26 weeks is controversial. Why is this baseline not long enough? Why not 5 years?

The income gap is not good or bad; it just is. If your neighbor makes more money than you (ethically and legally), is that bad? If you have a car accident, does it make you feel better if your neighbor has an accident, too?

In Kurt Vonnegut’s dystopian short story “Harrison Bergeron,” the government mandates that everyone will be equal by enforcing handicaps to make the smart dumb, the handsome ugly, and the strong weak. Is that what we want from government?

I am not in the top 1 percent, and I am not defending them. But someone else’s success is not my concern. Rather it is up to me to aspire, plan, work, sacrifice, learn and adapt to navigate through the rough seas of the world. If we want true freedom, which includes the freedom to succeed, we must also have the freedom to fail.

ROBERT B. CHERENSON

Turlock

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