But at neither end of the income scale is a "fair share" defined as a particular number or proportion, or in any other concrete way. It is just a political synonym for "more," dressed up in moralistic-sounding rhetoric.
What "fair" really means is more power for government.
Another word that shuts down thought is "access." People who fail to meet the standards for anything from college admission to a mortgage loan are often said to have been denied "access" or opportunity.
But equal access or equal opportunity is not the same as equal probability of success.
Republicans are not denied an equal opportunity to vote in California, even though the chances of a Republican candidate actually getting elected in California are far less than the chances of a Democrat getting elected.
By the same token, if everyone is allowed to apply for college admission, or for a mortgage loan, and their applications are all judged by the same standards, then they have equal opportunity - even if the village idiot has a lower probability of getting into the Ivy League and someone with a bad credit history is less likely to be lent money.
"Affordable" is another popular word that serves as a substitute for thought. To say that everyone is entitled to "affordable housing" is very different from saying that everyone should decide what kind of housing he or she can afford.
Government programs to promote "affordable housing" allow some people to decide what housing they want and force other people - taxpayers, landlords or whatever - to absorb a share of the cost of a decision that they had no voice in making.
In general, making various things "affordable" in no way increases the amount of wealth in a society above what it would be when prices are "prohibitively expensive." On the contrary, price controls reduce incentives to produce.
None of this is rocket science. But if you don't stop and think, it doesn't matter whether you are a genius or a moron.
Words that stop people from thinking reduce even smart people to the same level as morons.
Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California.