Recently, a leader in the community where I live – whom I won’t name because I like this person and this will be viewed as an attack – casually used the term “social justice” in remarks before a group of people.
By “social justice,” she meant taking money from better off people and giving it to poor people. It didn’t occur to her to explain her remarks, since she assumed everyone held the same notion of what the term meant.
I didn’t. My understanding of “justice” of any kind is “getting what you deserve.”
Now, it is good to try to help people who are poor who have suffered bad luck, and it is nice to try to help set straight those who have failed because of their own irresponsibility or laziness.
But this is not “justice.” It’s charity. It is goodwill.
This is an important distinction, because if you view the poor as unjustly treated and those who are better off and unjustly rewarded, then it becomes incumbent upon society to redistribute wealth. If you think that those who earned their money are getting “justice” resulting from their hard work, and that there are generally avenues even for the most disadvantaged to advance in society, then you want to encourage those with money to contribute to charity, but you have no right to seize their wealth.
This occurred to me as I watched President Obama last week unilaterally, without the agreement of Congress, move to assist student loan and mortgage borrowers.
Both of these actions have costs. But so what? Social justice is being served.
The plan to allow mortgage holder to refinance at favorable rates even if their homes are worth less than their mortgage balance seems to me first of all to be EXACTLY THE KIND OF EASY CREDIT THAT GOT US INTO THIS MESS.
But it also may push up mortgage rates for average people because it hurts bankers and investors in mortgage-backed securities, which will be less attractive, driving up the rates of the securities and those of borrowers.
Do people who invest deserve to have the rules suddenly changed and the government force losses on them? Maybe they invested in mortgage backed securities to put their kids through college.
BUT WHO CARES ABOUT FAT CATS? Because they must have earned their fat incomes unjustly.
The new Obama student loan initiative allows private loans to be refinanced at lower government rates, harming banks – again, who cares, they unjustly made money – by lowering loan payments for lower-income graduates while letting them abandon their loans earlier, before paying them back.
Now, I ask you, who are the lowest earning college graduates? They’re the ones who had the bong in their room, hung out by the keg at frat parties, or majored in The Study of Exotic Extinct Cultures.
WHY DO WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THAT?
Because it’s “social justice.”