Pie from the Sky?

By Mike Cronin

In the video linked above, CBS uses an actual pie to show casual passers-by how wealth is unequally distributed in America. Predictably, the answer is stark. The wealthiest people have virtually all of the pie, and the poorest have no pie and are in debt. But CBS’s model neglects to address a few crucial points, and thus is just another beat in the long history of wealth envy.

  1. Whose pie is it? CBS lumps all of the household wealth in the US (almost $100 trillion dollars) into one pie in their model, as if all the wealth in this country belongs to everyone in the country. Thus they sneak in the idea that an unequal “distribution” of pie is automatically an unfair “distribution” of pie.
  2. Where does the pie come from? Was it just “distributed” unfairly in a spray of sparkle dust by a magic pie fairy in the sky? Was it stolen? Who from? The poorest never have any pie, so it didn’t come from them. So where?

The envy mongers don’t want you to understand the truth: There isn’t one communal pie being “distributed” unfairly. Pie has to be made. The people who have all the pie have it because they made it.  It’s their pie, not mine or yours. It has not been “distributed” unfairly, because it hasn’t been “distributed” at all! Another, less important factor CBS neglected to mention: People generally move “up the pie scale” as their careers progress, because they learn how to make pie!

If CBS (whose anchors and owners are among the pie makers!) wants to reduce the wealth gap, perhaps they should expose and work to close the unequal distribution of pie-making know-how. But they won’t, because they make their own pie by encouraging envy.