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Responsibility Is Rewarded By Charles Payne

Question of the Day

Does a household income of $250,000 make one rich?


Click here to post your answer and let Charles know what you think. He will air some on the Payne Nation radio show.

With President Obama going around the country browbeating successful people in the harshest tone, it's no wonder that needle on the economic gauge isn't moving. According to his rhetoric, rich people don't have values or principles, which bleeds into notions that somehow every rich person in America cheated to get closer to the top (save for that bastion of integrity, Hollywood, where presumably a few people simply slept their way into stardom). This narrative was reserved mostly for big businesses and Wall Street the last time around, but now it's personal. If you are rich, you are the problem with America, and it's time for your comeuppance.

The most dangerous line that President Obama keeps spewing is one that will discourage risk-taking and hard work while also enabling poor decision-making from people that would rather wallow in misery with a couple of brews and a comfortable sofa:

"...but, what we ask for is that hard work pays off, that responsibility is rewarded"

Barack Obama Poland, Ohio

Well, guess what Mr. President, responsibility is rewarded! Friday's jobs number actually underscores the fact that the more skin put into the game via education the more likely you are to have a job. Granted, a lot of college graduates aren't working in their dream job but they are in the workforce and not a drag on society. A look at education levels, participation rates and the unemployment rate shows how one end of society is not making the effort while the other end of society not only made sacrifices to have certain qualifications, but continue to get out of bed and head to work each day even when it's enticing to sit this dance out at home.

Not only does society lack jobs for 25 year olds and older that have dropped out of high school, it's made it easier for them not to look for jobs (participation rate), but still the unemployment rate is 12.6%. You could argue society has punished people that didn't do the right and minimum thing of at least finishing high school. I find it despicable the idea is to lavish praise on those that haven't worked as hard to better them academically and to go a step further, using the cover of demonization to loot those that society has rightfully rewarded.

By the way, the employment-population ratio is really what we all should be keyed into as a way of taking the pulse of the economy and a backdrop to job creation. It's the percentage of working age population that's actually working. I think this number reflects the impact of government policy on jobs more so than any other metric from employment data. In 2001, the American employment-population ratio was 73.1, tumbled to 66.7 in 2010 and last month was at only 58.6. I think this puts America at the bottom quintile of the world. In fact, below are just some nations that have done a better job in creating jobs for its entire population:

Angola 64
Australia 62
Bangladesh 68
Brazil 65
Burkina Faso 81
Cambodia 81
Canada 71
Ethiopia 80
Papua New Guinea 74
Vietnam 75

I find it interesting that the nations where governments were overthrown during the Arab Spring all had anemic employment- population ratios. Moreover, currently, Syria has a ratio of just 39 and only Bahrain, which came close to regime change, had a higher number of 64 but its revolt was based more on religious animosity. Maybe the magic number for Americans to wake up is an employmen-population ratio under 50-it did in these nations:

Tunisia 41
Yemen 42
Egypt 44
Libya 49

Take this Job (market) and Shove It

It is also important to look closely at participation which underscores a kind of loathing, frustration and indifference toward the job market. Once again the table reflects the notion that hitting the bricks and looking for a job, otherwise known outside the White House as "hard work," is rewarded. Younger people are dropping out of the jobs market in droves while older people are getting back into the jobs market and getting 70% of new jobs. Sadly, instead of pushing young people to really do the right thing from taking jobs that don't pay well and wasn't their major to getting off the sofa and actually looking for a job the old fashioned way of going door to door, President Obama is telling them they did everything right, have values and principles and should be rewarded with other people's money.

Instead we hear about community colleges for two million Americans in the same sentence that begins with talk of top-flight educations. I suspect their notion is this will be the GED of the new millennia-wrong! It's just another easy out instead of a stepping stone. Hey, had trouble in high school and need to catch up via community college, that's fine and even smart. But, to encourage community college as an answer to our shortage in great paying STEM jobs and slipping competitive advantage is ludicrous. Trade schools for plumbing and electricians are a good idea but build smarter students, not more community colleges.

It's all a Smoke Screen Anyway

Getting embroiled in all of this just feeds the trap set by the progressive agenda of the administration. It's not about helping people per se as much as it is about bolstering a central authority that will dictate our lives. The boogeyman is the rich person and envy is the fuel that will be burned across this nation between now and November. By relentlessly attacking the rich, the White House gets to hide the fact that targets of its scorn and policies aren't rich. Big time taxes kick in for households earning more than $250,000 a year- not Bill Gates money. In fact these are the folks that are the poster children for why hard work pays off and yet the president burns them in rhetoric effigies at every campaign stop.

Nobody likes a spoiled brat that inherited gobs of money. Yet, that isn't the average millionaire in America. In January 2008, the WSJ printed an article that showed inherited wealth waning. One NYU professor said that of the 1%, only 9% inherited their wealth versus 23% in 1985. One firm, Prime & Associates puts inherited wealth at just 10% of millionaires while the Spectrem Group pegs the number closer to 2%. It's clear that rich people (using income of $1 million as the starting number) are self made and a reflection of America. I say a proud reflection of America. But, you can't pay for health care insurance for 30 million people and food stamps for 76 million people and disability for 9 million people by pillaging the "rich" alone-you have to go after those other people ....

... the ones that acted responsibly, made sacrifices, did the right thing and now have a target on their backs.

By the way, the program to make success a dirty word while making ordinary effort something to be admired goes all the way to attacking people that work overtime, go on business trips and take work home. This is a comment heard often by President Obama last week:

"...what made us rich was spending time together"

For me, this is yet another reason why successful people should be admired and not dragged through the mud. Oh, yes, forgot to mention that while Obama was painting the picture of who should be admired and who has values, his wife Michelle wasn't there next to him. That's right, the President of the United States works overtime, goes on business trips and has to take work home at night. With the little free time they have, some play golf or take the family to a ranch.

Today's Session

Although today is the official start of earnings season, it still all about the Fed and more stimuli to boost the economy. Charles Evans hinted the Fed will come to the rescue while Goldman and Bank of America are out saying zero percent interest rates will be extended into the middle of 2015. In the meantime the fiscal cliff battle ratchets higher with President Obama saying Bush tax cuts should be extended for a year for those households making less than $250,000. Of course this admits that Bush tax cuts were for all Americans where as this proposal looks to punish those families, most of whom wouldn't call them rich, for achieving a certain level of success