Income Inequality is the Symptom, Not the Disease

So writes Jeffrey Carter at Points and Figures. (h/t: Insty)

The policies that will solve for income inequality empower people.  They don’t “take care” of people.  People shouldn’t be warehoused and pushed aside or ignored from cradle to grave.  People are assets.  They aren’t liabilities to society.

I think the second part of this quote – the idea that people are assets – needs to be repeated more, because it cuts against the grain of our ruling class’ unconscious habits. Here’s P.J. O’Rourke, back in 1990:

But the sad truth of local government, like the sad truth of national government, is that people are no longer an asset. Humans do not benefit the modern state. Total 1989 Blatherboro town expenditure – including the town’s share of county government and school-system costs – was $9.5 million, or about $1,860 per person. Almost all this money was raised through property taxes and automobile registration fees. A typical new family moving to Blatherboro, with a mom, dad, and two kids, would be buying a town-house condominium with a tax-assessed value of $100,000. The current property tax rate on that condominium is $2,860 a year. If the new family owns two late-model cars, registration fees (which are based on the blue-book value of the automobile) would be about $340. Add in a few miscellaneous levies and charges, and the new family ends up contributing about $3500 per annum to the Blatherboro town coffers. But that is almost $4,000 less than the town will spend on these people. A family of four must own at least a quarter of a million dollars worth of property to carry its own weight in the Blatherboro town budget.

-Parliament of Whores

Of course, this comes from the reality that government is asked to do things that it cannot reasonably pay for, and is prevented from bringing in the necessary revenue. This stems from the understanding that government money and government spending are unlinked from reality – somehow the Government has all sorts of cash just laying around, waiting to be spent. So it becomes the government’s job to plug any economic gap caused by income inequality – a job that makes government exceedingly poor.

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