I periodically see tweets that deserve attention because they reveal something very important, usually in a clever and succinct fashion.
- Best tweet about capitalism vs socialism.
- The most depressing tweet.
- Trump’s worst-ever tweet.
- The best-ever counter-tweet.
Today, let’s add to this collection.
When making this argument, I sometimes ask people whether they would rather be a poor person in Hong Kong or France? There’s no welfare state in the former, but lots of opportunity, whereas France has plenty of handouts but not much hope for upward mobility.
But no matter how often I’ve tried to analyze and explain why we shouldn’t fixate on inequality, I’ve never come close to cramming this much insight into such a concise observation.
Compassionate people care about poverty.— Jon Stewart Mill ?? (@Jon_StewartMill) February 2, 2020
Envious people care about inequality.
Kudos to @Jon_StewartMill. In just ten words, he captures the key insight that I’ve tried to get across in several dozen columns.
I’m not sure, though there is polling data to suggest that some people really are motivated by envy and resentment of success.
But I suspect that politicians who play the class-warfare card simply think it’s a way of maximizing votes.
Even worse than the politicians are the “poverty hucksters” who deliberately lie about poverty in hopes of advancing a redistributionist agenda.
P.S. The most powerful numbers on why growth matters more than inequality come from China.
P.P.S. The most reprehensible effort to reduce inequality (by making everyone poorer) came from the IMF.
P.P.P.S. The most accurate political analysis of inequality came from Margaret Thatcher.
P.P.P.P.S. The best satire on the issue of inequality can be found in this “modest proposal.”