At the other end of the economic spectrum, special vitriol is reserved for a new kind of division of labor: the casual “gig” work associated with firms such as Uber. This opportunistic work provides important income to many people who could not otherwise get it as conveniently, and it performs the important function of allowing people of more modest means to convert their property into capital. But this comes with none of the old assurances: health insurance, pensions, the gold watch at the end of a long tenure of service, etc. It is easy to be sentimental about those old assurances, and to forget that almost nobody in 2019 really wants a 1950 standard of living (you can have it—cheap!), but we should keep in mind that the economy has evolved the way it has because people have made certain choices that comport with their preferences in the face of the unalterable reality that is scarcity.
Jonah Goldberg explains why demands to “tax the rich” are so unreasonable. Here’s his opening:
If I told you there was a movement to create a navy or an air force, you might respond, “Don’t we already have those?” If I said we need a movement to persuade bears to relieve themselves in the woods, you might say, “Wait. Isn’t that happening already?”
But if I said we needed to tax the rich, a lot of people’s first reaction would be, “Yes! It’s about time!”
And here’s John Tamny on the itch to tax. A slice:
Thinking about all of this in terms of the rich paying more, it’s all so very counterproductive. Let’s not encourage this. The federal government is not staffed by the magical; rather it’s filled with people who used to not work in government. By virtue of them choosing government, they in many instances are revealing a lack of ambition or imagination. Basically they want a paycheck without the stresses and strains that come with earning one in the profit-motivated world.