The Economy is Not a Zero-Sum Game
But perhaps more than anything else, I wish they understood that poor people aren’t poor simply because rich people are rich.
John Stossel has a new video from Reason about the issue.
John is right about income growth. That’s why I think it’s so important to have policies that enable more growth. When the economy does well, that’s good for the poor, good for the rich, and good for the rest of us as well.
We are much richer than 50 years ago and 100 years ago.
Heck, poor Americans are rich compared to people in many developing nations.
I also like what John said about income mobility. People can rise out of poverty. And they can fall out of prosperity.
By the way, I wish the discussion about unfairness also mentioned height and looks. There’s fairly solid academic evidence that taller people and better-looking people earn more money and have better lives.
That’s genuine unfairness, just like having better parents is a source of genuine unfairness.
P.S. I started today’s column by giving examples of things I wish leftists understood. Well, there are also issues where I wish my friends on the right had more insight. For instance, I would like them to understand that tax cuts very rarely pay for themselves. I wish they realized that spending caps are far preferable to balanced budget rules. And I wish they understood that disapproval of things such as drug use, gambling, and prostitution doesn’t mean those activities should be illegal.
P.P.S. I also mentioned at the start of the column that higher incomes for some people doesn’t imply lower incomes for other people. I should have included the caveat that this isn’t true if government is tilting the playing field. Bailouts, protectionism, subsidies, and other forms of cronyism enable the politically well-connected to prosper at the expense of everyone else.
Daniel J. Mitchell is a Washington-based economist who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.