Is there common ground in this discussion between the right (me) and the left (Tara)?
Scott Rasmussen argues that when the American people talk about "fairness," they are talking about a specific belief:
For most Americans, the context is very important. If a CEO gets a huge paycheck after his company received a government bailout, that’s a problem. People who get rich through corporate welfare schemes are seen as suspect. On the other hand, 86 percent believe it’s fair for people who create very successful companies to get very rich.
In other words, it’s not just the income; it’s whether the reward matched the effort. People don’t think it’s a problem that Steve Jobs got rich. After all, he created Apple Computer and the iPad generation. But there was massive outrage about the bonuses paid to AIG executives after that company was propped up by the federal government.
This definition won't sit well with some Republicans and some Democrats. Republicans hear "fairness" and think "government redistribution." Democrats think "income inequality" and think "higher taxes." One Democratic friend on Facebook recently promoted a petition that demands that the government cap CEO salaries.
There's much talk these days of a Republican "rebranding." What a shock it would be to the public to hear a Republican speak against corporate welfare and in opposition to legislation meant to protect the comfortable while providing obstacles to the success of those that work hard and play by the rules.