Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality
Don Watkins and Yaron Brook
Is Income Inequality Destroying the American Dream?
Every day we hear from our political leaders and the media that the American Dream is vanishing, and that the cause is rising income inequality. The rich are getting richer by rigging the system in their favor, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep our heads above water. To save the American Dream, we’re told that we need to fight inequality through tax hikes, wealth redistribution schemes, and a far higher minimum wage.
But what if that narrative is wrong? What if the real threat to the American Dream isn’t rising income inequality—but an egalitarian war on success?
In this challenging and timely work, best-selling authors Don Watkins and Yaron Brook reveal that almost everything we’ve been taught about inequality is wrong. You’ll discover:
- Why successful CEOs make so much money—and why they should
- How the minimum wage hurts the very people it claims to help
- Why claims of middle class stagnation are a myth
- The fatal flaw in Thomas Piketty’s celebrated prediction of ever-rising inequality
- How the little-known history of Sweden reveals the dangers of forced equality
- The disturbing philosophy behind Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” comments
The critics of income inequality are right about one thing: the American Dream is under attack. But instead of fighting to make America a place where anyone can achieve success, they are fighting to tear down the successful.
The key to making America a freer, fairer, more prosperous nation is to protect and celebrate the pursuit of success—not denounce success because it is unequal.
“Incisive, well-written, much-needed and powerful antidote to the pernicious ‘wisdom’ about income inequality. The real problem is not free markets but arbitrary government power. An impressive achievement.” (Steve Forbes)
“This is an extraordinary book that will open your eyes and increase your awareness about this politically charged subject. You learn how and why ‘inequality’ is largely a myth and that the key to higher incomes lies in making yourself more productive throughout your life.” (Brian Tracy, author – No Excuses!)
“There are all sorts of very good books and articles exposing the economic fallacies underlying recent calls for more aggressive government-sponsored wealth-redistribution. But none exposes the misguided ethics underlying such calls as effectively as Don Watkins’ and Yaron Brook’s Equal is Unfair. Defenders of free markets need to recapture the high moral ground from their redistributionist opponents, and this book supplies just the ammunition needed for the job.” (George Selgin, director, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives at the Cato Institute)
“Watkins and Brook have written the best summary of Ayn Rand’s classic Atlas Shrugged I could imagine in Equal is Unfair. This is a must read for every individual who wonders about America’s direction these past few years. The American Dream is under attack and this book clearly and succinctly explains the motives of the attackers and the defense which we all must provide. A brilliant piece of work!” (David L Sokol, chairman of Teton Capital, LLC)
“This book is like an oasis in the desert. At LAST the voice of reason breaks through the prejudices and presumptions and outright misrepresentations that are at the heart of the hysterical cries of the inequality fighters.” (Mark Pellegrino, star of Lost, Dexter, Supernatural and Quantico)
“Don Watkins’ and Yaron Brook’s latest book, Equal is Unfair is a much needed and well crafted take down of the attempt to force a political consensus that the State must focus on ending ‘inequality.’ Government does not like concrete tasks—like building a bridge on time on budget. Government prospers when it convinces voters to demand that it pursue the impossible. Why? Because every failure becomes an argument for more centralized power.” (Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform)
“More bad ideas are promoted under the beguiling banner of ‘equality’ than anything else these days. If you’ve been seduced into thinking that it’s the key to personal or material progress, this book is your antidote. Read it cover to cover and you’ll never see humanity, the economy or public policy the same again.” (Lawrence W. Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education)
“Equal Is Unfair demolishes the Left’s myths and demonstrates that the campaign against income inequality is actually an attack on the concept of the ‘land of opportunity’―America’s unique sense of life. As Watkins and Brook show, reason and freedom, not handouts and high taxes, are the foundations of human progress. And production, not redistribution, is the source of human flourishing.” (John A. Allison, retired president and CEO of the Cato Institute, retired chairman and CEO of BB&T)
‘There are basically two ways of thinking about policy responses to inequality–raising or leveling. Leveling tends to promote the idea that there is a fixed pie of wealth in society and distribution is a function of luck, while raising tends to promote the idea that wealth must be created by individuals who realize the gains from trade and the gains from innovation, and as such distribution is a function of rewards for superior talent and insight into how to satisfy the demands of others in the market. Human excellence must be acknowledge before it can be rewarded, and talents are to be celebrated rather than explained away as a consequence of luck. In Equal is Unfair Watkins and Brook provide a persuasive defense of human excellence, and of true capitalism which brings out the best in humanity and unleashes the creative genius in man in the arts, science and commerce. Highly recommended.” (Peter Boettke, University Professor of Economics and Philosophy, George Mason University)
“Arguing the unarguable, Watkins and Brook blow the top off established wisdom on the evil of income inequality and the culpability of the 1%. Today’s one-sided debate on income inequality amounts to envy politics, not logic or fact, as these authors demonstrate in their explosive and entertaining book, Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality. This book shows why the profit motive is noble and shows that government intervention in all areas of our lives—not income inequality—is what’s really threatening the American Dream. A must read for those who desire prosperity for more of the world’s people.” (Mallory Factor, NYT Bestselling Author of Shadowbosses and Big Tent, FoxNews Contributor and Professor: The Citadel, Oxford University and Buckingham University)
Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government
Yaron Brook and Don Watkins
Already a National Bestseller, in Free Market Revolution, the keepers of Ayn Rand’s legacy argue that the answer to our current economic woes lies not in “trickle-down government” but in Rand’s inspiring philosophy of capitalism and self-interest–a philosophy that more and more people are turning to for answers. Here, Brook and Watkins explain how her ideas can solve a host of political and economic ills, including the debt crisis, looming inflation, anti-business regulation, and the swelling entitlement state. And most important, they show how Rand’s principles allow defenders of the free market to seize the moral high ground in the fight to limit government. This is a fresh and urgent look at the ideas of one of the most controversial figures in modern history–ideas that may prove the only hope for the future.
Free Market Revolution will raise the ire of every statist, socialist and crony capitalist. Rand understood–as do the authors of this all-too-timely book–that free markets are, indeed, moral while Big Government is manifestly not. (Steve Forbes)
A powerful and unapologetic case in support of capitalism. For those who think more government will solve our nation’s problems, Free Market Revolution will open your eyes. For those who can already see the light, it will sharpen your vision. (Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Inc., host of the Peter Schiff Show on www.SchiffRadio.com, and author of The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy―How to Save Yourself and Your Country)
Free Market Revolution is must-reading for an age in which the government seems to be treating Atlas Shrugged not as a warning, but as a how-to manual. (Glenn Reynolds)
While you might not agree with Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, it is all but certain that you will learn from them. I certainly did, and I have a newfound appreciation for free market ideals. (The Washington Times)
Very good and very informative… the beauty of Free Market Revolution is that it reminds readers that using the government to take care of your needs is no different than going next door to steal from your neighbor. (Forbes.com)
A joy to read. Even as it merges hefty philosophical arguments, detailed discussions of key economic concepts, and numerous historical examples, its light and breezy prose enables quick reading…Free Market Revolution could not have come at a better time. (The Objective Standard)
An intriguing gauntlet and a challenge to conventional political wisdom and philosophical underpinnings… This “revolution” will inflame many and embolden others, but that is not all bad…Recommended. (Choice)
Free Market Revolution is a potential game-changer. Brook and Watkins dismantle the myth that free markets are responsible for today’s ills, and they teach us how to take the moral high ground in the fight against Big Government. If there are any Occupiers left, this book should make them lay down their signs in surrender. Anyone who wants to understand why we have strayed so far from the Founders’ ideals, and how we can find our way back, should read this book. (Mallory Factor, Founder, Mallory Factor, Inc., and Professor of International Politics at The Citadel)
This book is a must read for anyone concerned about the demonization of capitalism and deification of collectivism. Yaron Brook and Don Watkins meld philosophy with practicality in their cogent analysis of how Ayn Rand’s moral defense of capitalism can bring down the limitless growth of government and restore its original, intended purpose–protection of individual rights. Changing the trajectory of the country calls for a long and intense fight with very steep odds against victory. But the concept of the Free Market Revolution, celebrating the individual pursuit of rational, long-term self interest as a virtue, provides the arsenal for the assault. And Brook and Watkins give a battle plan of surefire approaches to limit, and then eliminate, even such massive incursions as the government’s takeover of healthcare. (Jim M. Kilts, Former CEO of Gillette Company)
The most important issue in our society today is the morality of capitalism. Free Market Revolution lays bare how capitalism is the only economic system consistent with man’s nature as a thinking being who must act in his long term rational self-interest to survive and prosper. This is an important book which integrates philosophical ideas with their real world consequences. (John A. Allison, Retired Chairman & CEO, BB&T Corporation)
Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government is very welcomed indeed. With clarity and courage Brook and Watkins present the basic teachings of free market economics, and place them within the context of Ayn Rand’s broader moral-philosophic system. As the problems with government intervention into the free market become more and more?evident to larger segments of the population, Ayn Rand’s writing, especially her epic Atlas Shrugged, takes on a new life for a new generation. (Peter J. Boettke, Professor of Economics, George Mason University)
RooseveltCare: How Social Security Is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance
Today we are at a crossroads. America’s entitlement state is threatening to bankrupt us, and new schemes such as ObamaCare are hastening the collapse. What should we do? In this provocative look at America before and after Social Security, Don Watkins argues that the answer is as simple as it is controversial: Abolish the entitlement state, starting with the retirement program that created it. This is not another book for policy wonks about the financial trouble the entitlement state is in. This is the story of the role that Social Security has played in eroding the eagerness, energy and optimism that once defined America. And it is a guide for fighting back.