Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Friday, March 06, 2009

Paul Campos, Economic Illiterate

I'm sort of tempted to ask Professor Reynolds if this seems plausible to him. Does it seem plausible to him -- a law professor who is probably paid around 200K a year by the great state of Tennessee to do whatever it is he does while performing what is technically his actual job -- that he is "working" five times "harder" (using Wingnuttia's definition of "hard work") than a guy roofing houses in San Antonio in July who makes 40K a year? - Lawyers, Guns and Money, Working Hard or Hardly Working?
Now, Paul himself is a professor of law at the University of Colorado, and by all appearances about as socialist as they come, rather than economically illiterate, but really Professor, can't you do any better than that?

Of course, he precedes this by building a virtual army of strawmen which he then hacks at with great zeal, but here's the deal:

People get paid based on one thing, primarily: how valuable their skills are to others. Of course, their individual competence weighs heavily in there, too, but there are a lot of people who can do roofing. There's a somewhat lesser pool of those with the skills required to be law professors.

I, for example, am an electrical engineer. I'm well paid for the area in which I live, but compared to similar electrical engineers in other markets I'm probably average or a bit below-average in base pay. (Tucson doesn't pay all that well, but I refuse to move to Phoenix, for example.) However, the only reason the office I work at exists at all is because of one guy - an engineer who specializes in a pretty small field, and sits pretty high up in the rankings of that field.

Our home office is in California. When this engineer became available, they hired him in a heartbeat.

But he wouldn't move to California.

That was OK with the home office. They opened a branch here in Tucson.

For one guy.

We currently have 14 people in the Tucson office. I am thankful every day for the existence of this individual.

But does he work "five times harder than a guy roofing houses in San Antonio in July who makes 40K a year?" That's not the question. Can the guy roofing houses in San Antonio do the job of this engineer?

That's the only question that counts. Because if he could, he'd be making the kind of money this engineer does.

And somehow, in Paul Campos's world, having an ability that perhaps less than 1% of the working population possesses entitles the other 99% to a much bigger chunk of his income.

Campos says that the "wingnuts" paint the argument in terms of "hard work" versus "lazyness" - that rich people are rich because they "work hard" and poor people are poor because they're "lazy." This is, apparently, what we believe. (Sound like anyone you know?)

No, Paul. Rich people can be rich for any number of reasons, but quite a few of them got that way by having skills that other people don't have, and using them. Poor people, the truly poor, generally are that way because of bad decision-making skills. Granted, some get there through illness or bad luck, but tell me why someone making $250k a year who is making their mortgage payment on time should have to fork over a bigger percentage of their paycheck than that $40k/yr roofer in San Antonio? Is he "poor"?

We believe that people should be rewarded according to their worth in the free market, not "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." Because who put you in charge of determining either?

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