Saturday, January 11, 2014

Questions For Inequality Fetishists

This from an op-ed by economist Donald Boudreaux appearing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (12/25) and reprinted in today's WSJ.

Suppose that Jones chooses a career as a poet. Jones treasures the time he spends walking in the woods and strolling city streets in leisurely reflection; his reflections lead him to write poetry critical of capitalist materialism. Working as a poet, Jones earns $20,000 annually. Smith chooses a career as an emergency-room physician. She works an average of 60 hours weekly and seldom takes a vacation. Her annual salary is $400,000. Is this “distribution” of income unfair? Is Smith responsible for Jones' relatively low salary? Does Smith owe Jones money? If so, how much? And what is the formula you use to determine Smith's debt to Jones?
While Dr. Smith earns more money than does poet Jones, poet Jones earns more leisure than does Dr. Smith. Do you believe leisure has value to those who possess it? If so, are you disturbed by the inequality of leisure that separates leisure-rich Jones from leisure-poor Smith? Do you advocate policies to “redistribute” leisure from Jones to Smith — say, by forcing Jones to wash Smith's dinner dishes or to chauffeur Smith to and from work? If not, why not?
Boudreaux asks some other pointed questions in his column, linked below.

Also, the best commentary concerning the insanely unbalanced media treatment of the Christie scandal vs. the myriad and far more serious Obama scandals comes from Jonah Goldberg at NRO. (below).

I'm no big fan of Christie - his love fest with Obama during the big Hurricane Sandy photo-op was a ploy to make him look like a moderate centrist to the blue state New Jersey electorate. He was telling the truth when he said that he didn't "give a damn about the election", meaning the 2012 election. What he was doing was giving a big damn about the 2013 (NJ) and 2016 elections. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign was badly hurt by Christie's self-serving behavior.
Having said that, the media frenzy over the Christie scandal, though completely expected, is just nuts.

Now I am not condoning or even trying to minimize the significance of “Bridgegate” — an idiotic term by the way. What these bozos did was bozoriffic. But come on. Do you think Rahm Emanuel hasn’t played games with which streets get plowed first after a snow storm? Do you think that the Cuomos have issued every business permit and license on a first-come, first-serve basis? Wait you do? Oh man, that is adorable. Bless your heart.

You have to wonder how some of the folks in the media can look at themselves in the mirror. The three network news shows have devoted orders of magnitude more coverage to a story about closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge than they have to the IRS scandal. I know this is not a new insight, but WHAT THE HELL!?
The sheer passion the New York Times-MSNBC mob is bringing to a partial road closure is a wonder to behold. What about the children? The chiiiiillllldrennnn!!!!!

The Christie scandal isn't even the most prominent one this week. That distinction belongs to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' revelation that both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama opposed, for political reasons, President Bush's courageous and ultimately successful surge in Iraq.

From an op-ed by Jordan Chandler Hirsch in today's WSJ:

Mrs. Clinton "told the president that her opposition to the (2007) surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary." President Obama then "conceded vaguely" that he opposed the surge for similar reasons.

Which political impropriety warrants more intense media (and public) outrage? - A calculation to risk the lives of American soldiers in a war and disregard American interests in that war in order to appeal to primary voters or shutting down a few traffic lanes in an attempt to exact revenge against a mayor of the opposition party?

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