The richest 1 percent of the world is 60 times more wealthy than the poorest 50 percent, according to a new report from Oxfam. And National Review's Kevin Williamson knows why: They just work harder! Yeah, sure.
Go look at Bloomberg's list of the world's richest people. The first 85 names on that list have more wealth than the poorest half of the world. 3.5 billion people, or thereabouts, Oxfam tells us, as it asks attendees at the World Economic Forum's annual convening in Davos, Switzerland, to address inequality. Given that the conference is essentially a social club for the people on Bloomberg's list — a list on which Michael Bloomberg himself inexplicably doesn't appear — it's not certain how urgently they will do so. Earlier this month The Wire noted that in 2013 alone, the wealthiest people on that list saw their fortunes increase more than you will ever see in your entire life. Quite literally, unless you think you're likely to amass a $524 billion fortune.
Enter Kevin Williamson with a tip on how to do precisely that. Or, not precisely to raise that amount of money, but how to get rich, how to mirror the habits of the wealthiest people in America. In a column for National Review, Williamson states directly, "The country would in fact be far better off if more people lived the way the top 20 percent do: married, working their butts off, saving and investing their money, and living within their means." The rich are morally superior, he argues directly, because they work more and inherited less of their net wealth than those in the poor and middle class. Mostly, though, he argues that the rich work harder.
There is, to be sure, such a thing as the working poor, but the most salient characteristic of poor households is the lack of full-time workers in them. For the bottom income group, there is an average of 0.42 earners per household, with 68.2 percent of householders not working at all, as opposed to 1.97 earners per household and only 13.3 percent not working for the highest income group.
To be sure, some poor people work! But most don't, for some inexplicable reason, or they only work part-time. This is either because 1) they love being poor or 2) they are plain old lazy. Or, I suppose, 3) there are not enough jobs for everyone who is out of work in the United States. As of November 2013, there were 2.7 people looking for work for every available job — making it somewhat difficult for those poor people to rapidly ascend into the billionaire class.