Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pity The Rich Bastards !

So, Greg Mankiw has made headlines again by trotting out yet another version of his lame argument that the rich deserve to keep all their money because they earned it and are the gooses that lay golden eggs for the rest of us troglodytes. I'm not going to provide any fancy counter argument since Krugzilla and all the other people in the links quite eloquently stomp his argument into the dirt.

Look, it's real simple: most of what determines your relative success in life has nothing at all to do with your effort or skill. You simply pop into this world and these things are handed to you. That's not say that effort and skill don't count but if you're one of the lucky ones you should spread that wealth around because you got it mostly out of pure stupid luck.

And I say this as someone who could - some might even say should - be on Greg Mankiw's side of the argument. You see, I dropped out of high school and did just about every drug possible but then went on to finish a *master's degree in french*. And, yes, it took a hell of a lot of hard work but it was mostly do to pure stupid luck. I'm just lucky that I don't have the addict gene. Some of the people with whom I participated in those teenage shenanigans are trailer living drug addicts now. I've never, aside from a puff off a joint here and there at a party, touched drugs since.

This is pretty obvious stuff folks so it makes one wonder how someone as demonstrably brilliant as Greg Mankiw can't figure this out. The answer is that people like him have the emotional makeup of your average 14 year old. Go talk to an average 14 year old about politics or economics and you'll see they make the same kind of black and white all or nothing arguments albeit in a much less sophisticated form. For some of us age brings wisdom for others it simply adds polish to there immature bullshit. Either that or they're just sociopaths. I'm convinced the Republican party is chock full of 'em.

P.S. - I'm not just running my mouth off here either. In moving from Seattle to Montreal I tripled my marginal income tax rate and doubled  the amount of sales tax I pay as well. And guess what: I'm tickled pink; I love it. It makes me happy to think about how anyone who has a mishap or gets sick can simply go to the hospital and get treated and they never even see a bill. And I'm overjoyed that Quebec's high school students consistently place at the very top of the PISA ratings in math, science and reading. And the list could go on and on. And guess what guess what: I want them to RAISE taxes! Because as far as I'm concerned Quebec doesn't have a debt problem it has a revenue problem and I'd be more than happy to kick in a little more so I can wake up every morning and think about what a civilized place I live in.

Update (June 27, 2013) -  When I say I did a "master's degree in french" I don't mean I studied the French language. I did a master's in economics at a university where all the courses were taught in French and this after basically teaching myself French at 30 years old. I'm again lucky that I have some natural talent for learning languages.