Fare Share and Other Signs of Envy

Even a well-publicized crisis that turns out to be more hype than fact can serve a noble purpose. This is the way it should be with the well-publicized widening gap between the rich and the rest of the populace. Wealth inequality is said to threaten the ties that bind our society together. Based mostly on the work of economists, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, the expanding gap is menacing not only the United States but all of the rich world. The latest addition to this argument is presented in the new book by Saez and Zucman, “The Triumph of Injustice.” These two advisors to Elisabeth Warren’s Presidential campaign, are revered across the progressive world. The widening disparity between rich and poor is taken as gospel, bringing forth demands the rich “pay there fair share.” Unfortunately, much as it was with Piketty’s 2013 book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” this book is riddled with false assumptions and poor methodology leading to erroneous conclusions. Don’t take our word for it; recent articles in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and by the Cato Institute, among others, do an excellent job of dismantling this thesis brick by brick. Just leaving out the effect of transfer payments and taxation was bound to have it go off the rails. Apparently, you can find academics to back up any point of view no matter how far out, if you look hard enough. Logic and experience needn’t get in the way of currying political favor. How else can you explain Trump’s trade advisor, Peter Navarro?

Yet, increasing the general individual wealth is a worthy goal. It’s just taking it from the successful and giving it to others after the government takes a healthy processing fee that’s self-defeating. That idea relies on a deadly sin, envy. We’re better than that. In any case, this never works. Any community is far more vibrant top to bottom with more wealthy entrepreneurs. Any community adopting policies and taxes that force them to leave can only be more impoverished. Remember our rule, “if people are clamoring to get in, you’re doing something right, and if they’re rushing to get out, you’re doing something wrong.” Instead of beggaring your more affluent neighbor, it would be better to consider ways to make you wealthier. Does the government assist you in finding better economic conditions, or does it in fact work against you?

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