Sunday, November 6, 2011

Occupy The Lunatic Asylum

This morning's Washington Post treats us to a fresh helping of silliness in the form of an editorial from Alec MacGillis, reliable lefty WaPost reporter and Senior Editor at The New Republic.  In it, MacGillis suggests a few additional targets at which the Zuccati Park crowd could aim their smelly, self-indulgent siege guns, including Bill Clinton (for lowering the capital gains tax rate), Harvard (as a cut-out for high tuition bills and student loan debt), Wal-Mart (for being non-union), Towers-Watson (executive pay consultants, presumably for doing their job), Tyson's Corner (a place in Northern Virginia where there are a lot of government contractors) and The Supreme Court (for not putting a grand Progressive stop to it all and allowing corporations to be people).

Underpinning MacGillis' rant are the totemic liberal chants of "income inequality and economic justice".  Just read:

No doubt, the Occupy Wall Street protesters were right to target the financial industry first. Soaring Wall Street pay has been a key force behind America’s income disparities over the past three decades, and banks have yet to be held accountable for the destruction they wrought in recent years. 

Besides, if you’re really serious about addressing income inequality and economic injustice in America, there are other institutions and figures worth challenging. 

It is also difficult to overlook that countries with stronger unions, such as Canada and Germany, show a far more equitable distribution of income across the working population.

But nowhere in the article does MacGillis take the time to explain to us exactly why inequality of income (which has existed in this country since, oh, well--forever), is bad. You won't find it in MacGillis' article, and you won't find it in the narratives of progressives and you won't find it in the blather rising from the Occupy Wall Street crowd.  That's because income inequality measures nothing but envy, pure and simple.   It is a measure convenient to wave about when one seeks to redistribute income, yet it does not in any meaningful way convey anything tangible about an economy.

Put another way--what impact does income inequality have on society?  What is the evidence that there are pernicious impacts?  Or is it simply that the rich get richer faster than the poor get richer (which is, sorry to say, what has happened).  

Now--what is it that contributes to income inequality?  Are these contributors worthy of study and discussion? Yes, I believe so.  The tax code is worth talking about--most of you know I don't support taxing income and capital gains at different rate.  Have unions in this country so artificially inflated wage rates that manufacturing has largely left our shores in search of more affordable labor?  Has the home mortgage deduction contributed to a less mobile labor force, stuck in dog mortgages and unable to bargain its labor more effectively to potential bidders?  All of these things are in and of themselves worthy of discussion.  That they round up to "income inequality" leads these Dunderheads to then say, "well, we need to stop that"--and the best way they know how is redistributing wealth, rather than looking individually at what causes inequality (it is after all, a condition, not a cause) and seeking to devise policies that actually do something other than palliate envy.


"The Hammer" said...

I do think executive pay is too high, but it's a result of legislative protections often times introduced and passed by liberal Democrats, not as a result of free markets. So if you want a little more sanity do away with the Williams Act among other things.

Also, if one looks at the top and bottom over just about any 10 year period (excluding the 70's and Obama's time in office) you'll see that by any measure it remains pretty constant; apart from one thing. It's always a different top and a different bottom.

People enter the work force at the bottom and ten years later are well into the middle-class and a small percentage are even in the top tier. And the top tier is constantly changing with people falling into the middle-class. That is the dynamic nature of capitalism, and it's good for everybody.

Tom de Plume said...

I look at the income distribution like Olympic scoring. Throw out the top 1% and the bottom 1% and let's judge it from that point.

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