02 Oct 2014

“The Gelded Age”



Kevin Williamson wrote a terrific essay debunking the standard communist propaganda about inequality purveyed by Paul Krugman.

I live in the same city as Donald Trump, so the existence of rich people with toxic taste is not exactly a Muppet News Flash for me. But poor people are not poor because rich people are rich, nor vice versa. Very poor people are generally poor because they do not have jobs, and taking away Thurston Howell III’s second yacht is not going to secure work for them. Nobody has ever been able to satisfactorily answer the question for me: How would making Donald Trump less rich make anybody else better off?

There is, obviously, one direct answer to that question, which is that making Trump less rich by seizing his property and giving it to somebody else would make the recipients better off, and that is true. But the Left does not generally make that straightforward argument for seizing property. Rather, they treat “inequality” as though it were an active roaming malice on the economic landscape, and argue that incomes are stagnant at the lower end of the range because too great a “share of national income” — and there’s a whole Burkina Faso’s worth of illiteracy in that phrase — went to earners at the top. It simply is not the case that if Lloyd Blankfein makes a hundred grand less next year, then there’s $100,000 sitting on shelf somewhere waiting to become part of some unemployed guy in Toledo’s “share of the national income.” Income isn’t a bag of jellybeans that gets passed around.

Further, if your assumption here is that this is about redistribution, then you should want the billionaires’ incomes to go up, not down: The more money they make, the more taxes they pay, and the more money you have to give to the people you want to give money to, e.g., overpaid, lazy, porn-addicted bureaucrats.

A must-read.

One Feedback on "“The Gelded Age”"


Most leftists reach unworkable conclusions because they start with erroneous assumptions. In this case, they assume that wealth just happens somehow, and then we all simply need to agree to the best ways to allocate that wealth. Hence the analogy to “dividing a pie” that they always use. If that’s the way the world worked, they might actually have a point. But it doesn’t.

Wealth is created ONLY when you produce something that someone else finds valuable. Remove the reasons to create valuable things, and you remove the engine of growth. The fact of the matter is that there are only a few million people in this country who are capable of producing really valuable things at any one time. Unless you understand this you will forever be puzzled by and envious of the “1%”, without whom the pie WOULD be a fixed size.


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