True, but not compelling

Don Boudreaux quotes from Thomas Sowell’s book, Intellectuals and Society:

The intelligentsia … have encouraged the poor to believe that their poverty is caused by the rich – a message that may be a passing annoyance to the rich but a lasting handicap to the poor, who may see less need to make fundamental changes in their own lives that could lift them up, instead of focusing their efforts on tearing others down.

The intelligentsia have acted as if their ignorance of why some people earn unusually high incomes is a reason why those incomes are either suspect or ought not to be permitted.

No doubt.

Boudreaux then responds to a critic who says that firefighters, paramedics and other first-responders are underpaid with a quick lesson on supply and demand and prices.

My guess is the critic did not find his lesson compelling. I can imagine she thought, So, the reason these folks are paid less than I think they should be paid is because the supply of the people willing those jobs is high relative to the value provided by one of those individuals?

If your life has been saved by one of these first-responders you likely think the value of that individual is high.

I think this is an interesting topic. Boudreaux’s answer is correct, but I doubt it wins over many folks who think like his critic. How do we make it more compelling for the critic?


One thought on “True, but not compelling

  1. If you find a response to the “we’re doing it for the kids” statement, we’ll both have an answer. Someone noted that a bogus, leftist soundbite may only take 15 seconds, but refuting it takes 15 minutes. I think that’s often because the left uses soundbites that play to one’s emotions. They seek a quick response with no thought put into the downstream consequences of “paying firemen higher salaries”, etc. Progressives propose “solutions” that make them “feel good” while true conservatives favor solutions that actually “do good.” The problem – as you will surely recognize – is that feel good solutions require no thought, hence no time, while do good solutions require that one actually think about the short and long term consequences.


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