By HOPPY KERCHEVAL
MORGANTOWN -- The constant refrain by those who believe the wealthy in this country should pay even more to the government is that they need to contribute their "fair share." President Obama used that very term recently during his weekly radio address.
The suggestion is that the wealthy, who already pay more to the government because of the progressive tax code, are getting away with something. For the wealthy to argue that they want to keep more of what they earn, invites criticism that they are greedy.
And greed, as we know, is a sin, held in contempt by the faithful, as well as the secular who rightfully believe that the unquenchable craving for more tears at the moral fabric of the culture.
However, what most of the wealth creators in this country demonstrate is not greed, but ambition—the earnest desire for achievement. The elements that contribute to achievement, such as hard work and sacrifice, are virtues.
And, while the success that comes with achievement is its own reward, the miracle of the free market is that it also helps others. An ambitious person provides a good or service that someone else wants or needs.
Whether it's creating computer software, performing on Broadway or babysitting for extra money—the ambitious individual fills a need.
The ambitious earn their success through the sweat of their brow. So then, at what point do they have "too much?" There's no logical answer, which is why the left must vilify the most successful among us.
Policy makers use words like "fairness" and 'fair share" to reinforce the notion that individuals who have achieved financial success have done so with their finger on the scales. If, through demagoguery, the ambitious can be labeled as "greedy," then punishment, through higher taxes, is appropriate.
The irony here is the question of where the money does the most good.
Government commands additional revenue under a cloak of benevolence, yet achieves greater power and electoral support because of the political benefits of the redistribution of other people's money. Those same politicians then continue the cycle by promoting class envy.
Meanwhile, the ambitious in the private sector are busy employing people and meeting the economic needs of their community in the most efficient ways.
So, who then is the greedy party?
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.