We are ruled by poor logic

Speaking about Walter Williams, his latest column, Should the Rich Be Condemned?, is worth a read.

The whole column is so good that I put it under the fold.  Here’s one key paragraph:

President Barack Obama, in stoking up class warfare, said, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” This is lunacy. Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire produced the raw materials that built the physical infrastructure of the United States. Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft and produced software products that aided the computer revolution. But Carnegie had amassed quite a fortune long before he built Carnegie Steel Co., and Gates had quite a fortune by 1990. Had they the mind of our president, we would have lost much of their contributions, because they had already “made enough money.”

Exactly!  When it is reasoned that the rich have enough and we should take more from them, we don’t realize that we are really taking it from ourselves.

We say, oh well, so they’ll have one less car in their 50 car garage.  That may be true.  But it is equally likely that we don’t get a better a light bulb, a new vaccine or some other thing that may improve our lives. And I never hear that considered in the ‘take more from the rich’ logic.

For me, it’s the same poor logic that produces massively harmful things like the housing policy.

For example, the poor logic: “Home ownership makes people responsible, so let’s make it easier for folks to own homes by lowering the bar of responsibility.”

Better logic: “Responsible people buy homes.  So, let’s encourage responsible behavior.”

With rich people, “They have a lot money and it doesn’t seem fair, especially while others are struggling.  Let’s take more from them.”

Rather than, “For the most part, wealthy people earned their wealth by finding ways to add value to the lives of others.  So, let’s encourage people to find ways to add value to the lives of other.  Then we all come out ahead.”

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