Thursday, November 24, 2005

If you're so rich, why aren't you smart?

Economist Robert Frank makes the argument that recent tax cuts that "benefit the rich" are actually hurting the overall well-being of the rich (along with the rest of us, of course). If the government doesn't have the resources to fund public health, road maintenance, and checking cargo containers for nuclear bombs, the results are going to impact even the well-off, and at some point these costs outweigh whatever benefit the priveleged classes get from having more disposable income.

He doesn't speculate as to why, then, the Bush administration and its backers insist on cutting taxes while debts are mounting. Is it possible they aren't even good at being selfish? I don't think it's any sort of actual anti-government ideology, or they'd be cutting spending as well as taxes. Stupidity then, or more specifically blind animal greed that can't even recognize its own self-interests.


goatchowder said...

Well, it's postmodernism: brilliantly defined by born-to-be-an-academic Al Gore as "the union of nihilism and narcissism".

Party like it's 1999! Whoo hoo! These people think they can escape economic apocalypse, either through gated communities and private security forces, or "the rapture" spiriting them away. Their narcissism feeds their nihilism, and vice versa: "fuck all of you, I got mine".

Loved your headline. During the bubble, I often heard the converse. I think the bubble proved that smart != rich. I think the actions of today's rich proves it too, but in the reverse direction: rich != smart.

goatchowder said...

Whoops sorry:

(not (eq? 'rich 'smart))

Wong Online PoKér Hu said...

Yeah, that move is quite unprecendented. The reverse is actually happening in other governments which are raising taxes just to alleviate debt.