Sunday, June 23, 2013

Defending the One-Percent

Harvard professor Greg Mankiw has released a draft paper "defending the one-percent." For those of you who engage with redistributionists and Occupiers, Mankiw's paper is the gold standard.


  1. I am not sure it convinces me. I am sure if one lean's well right, it serves as a bit of comfort and does point out some issues in the redistributionist theory, but I am somewhere in the middle. I think both extremes are, for lack of anything better, extreme although perhaps the bottom is easier to sympathise with than the top these days.

    The middle is not concerned with redistribution. The middle is concerned with the fact as pointed out on page 17, that "Government has increasingly used its power to tax to take from peter to pay Paul." The story behind this is that our government is no longer providing services, but paying debt. So maybe "occupy" should be occupying China.

    At the same time, we've experienced huge wall street firms claiming that million dollar bonuses are valid even when government is bailing them out. Even if the truth is more complicated, buying a home is harder and CEOs and bankers appear to be making more money.

    The question isn't how to make things even, and not even what people are entitled too, but what should be within reach of everyone? Health care? Education? At the same time, I think people have some concern about the relationship between money and power.

    We need to find the balance, and figure out what government should do.

  2. "At the same time, I think people have some concern about the relationship between money and power."

    Power is the ability to get people to do what you want. Money is a medium for the obtainment of things. People with money can give it to others in exchange for said others to do what they want. Use of money = power.

    The fundamental problem with "putting things into the reach of everyone" is that some people's reach is very, very, very, very limited. It's a race to the bottom. If 'everyone should be able to get a High School diploma,' a liberal mantra from decades ago, then every dumbass, lazy, delinquent POS savage child has to be able to get a High School diploma. And, as we've seen, High School Diplomas are now hardly worth the paper upon which they are printed. Once upon a time, it was a real achievement. Now it's worth so little that you can get an equivalent GED in a few days of basic aptitude tests.

    The same sort of thing has happened with college degrees. 'Everyone should be able to go to college' liberals chanted, for years and years. Well, now virtually everyone can. And thanks to the unholy alliance between universities, government, and lenders, they do so at enormous cost. And many such degrees are now not only not worth the paper upon which they are printed, they are liabilities; tens of thousands of dollars in debt acquired for a useless document. "Welcome to Starbucks, how can I help you?"

    Our society punishes independent judgment (zero tolerance!), initiative, risk taking, wealth, and success and then wonders why there's a dearth of upright builders and strivers; we reward indolence, stupidity, laziness, weakness, and willful ignorance and then wonder why there's a cult of victimhood. To borrow from C.S. Lewis, "We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful."

    Ours is a sick society.


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