Monday, December 19, 2011
The Brandeis Ratio of Rich and Poor
The Brandeis ratio, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/opinion/dont-tax-the-rich-tax-inequality-itself.html?src=recg, describes the disparity between rich and poor. The article, and believers in the the detriment of the inequality, claim that we need to take money from the rich and give it to the poor. I agree about the detriment, but not that this is the solution.
When I was growing up, Robin Hood was not a hero. No one claimed it was right for us to garnish wages because one was earning too much. We saw that Karl Marx's slogan, "each according to his ability, to each according to his need," popularized in 1875, was not to be our way.
There is another solution to inequality. But first, is it really the inequality that is the problem, or is it the poverty? Would it matter if we had ten times the number of billionaires if everyone else had what they needed?
I'm not so worried about economic power being in the hands of a few as long as we have a democracy. The other constitutes a large minority and (I believe) will eventually prevail.
Imagine if the conversation shifted to how can we reduce poverty? Do we really believe that taxing more would do anything for the poor? What it will do it to make the government (still) bigger. Why and how would these dollars trickle down to the poor? And would this enable the poor to produce more goods and services, make them more employable, and, in the end, reduce the disparity?
I believe that taxing the rich to reduce the disparity is a pipe dream. It is easy to say, "redistribute wealth to fix disparity." It is harder to say, "equip the poor with the means to earn more."