Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wealth inequality the new Harlem Shake?

This has been going around the internet for a while and there are three major flaws with this video.

The first is that it assumes that there is an "ideal" income distribution, and even more; we know what it is.  It repeatedly states that there is a certain amount of wealth that the various classes "should have." What gives anyone the right to make this claim?  It is immoral to claim that any individual is making the "wrong" amount of money and that it is someone else's job to rectify that situation.

The second is the repeated claim that the poor in America are "suffering." Even the, shall we say, least wealthy Americans still own gadgets like TV's, PC's cell phones, and game consoles.  But don't take my word for it, ask the Census Bureau.

The third one is that common mistake that so many people make in assuming that how much money you make should be directly related to how hard you work.  This is wrong.  How much money you make should be related to what you actually produce. Sure, there are some who make 380 times more than the average middle class employee, and no, they don't work 380 times harder.  But (most of the time) they simply produce more with the time that they do work, and it's probably 380 times more valuable than the guy who fills out the TPS reports.

This third one is why you hear every once in a while that a CEO makes so much money that if he walks down the street and sees a $100 bill lying on the sidewalk, it makes no sense for him to pick it up, because he earns more money per second that it takes him to do that.  This is absurd, but here's why: CEO's don't get money simply by existing.  They don't "earn money" every second they are alive, simply because they are the CEO.  They aren't hourly.  They get paid money to do certain, very specific, value added things.  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates didn't have a cash machine continually ticking up and up every second like the National Debt Clock does.  They earn money for inventing.  For ideas.  For achievement.  Breathing isn't an achievement that earns you wealth.  The production of valuable things and ideas does.

One other minor detail: the scare quotes around "Dreaded" when describing socialism.  Yes, it's dreaded, dude.  It has ruined millions of lives throughout history.  History:  It's a real thing.  You should learn it.

I have to give title credit to a Yahoo article which, other than that title, is actually kind of mediocre.

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