If you really care about the poor, wouldn’t you consider that you may be wrong?

I recommend reading Dan Mitchell’s column, If We Care about the Less Fortunate, Focus on Growth Rather than Redistribution.

He writes:

If we get robust growth, that will mean tight labor markets, and that’s a big cause of rising wages.

But here’s my hypothesis to explain why statists don’t support good policies. Simply stated, I think they hate the rich more than they like the poor.

One thing that caused me to evolve away from my liberal roots is that it occurred to me one day to ask myself, What if the policies I support hurts the people that I want to help? Shouldn’t I at least consider that possibility if helping them is what I really want?

I think Mitchell makes an important point. As I opened myself to learning how such policies backfire, one barrier in my transition was the animosity I had toward ‘the rich.’ Not the rich that I knew, who I knew worked hard to earn what they had, but the faceless ‘rich’ that had been portrayed as always just wanting to tilt to the advantages in their favor and exploit the poor.

When I started bringing up points for my friends and family to consider, I caught lots of flak, in conversations that went something like this:

Me: “Maybe rent control does limit the supply for housing, making it tough for people — including the poor — to find a place to live.”

Others: “Oh well, I see you are starting to side with the slum lords now who just want to be able to gouge the poor!”

2 thoughts on “If you really care about the poor, wouldn’t you consider that you may be wrong?


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