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Zero Plus Zero Equals Resentment in Liberal Math

Zero Plus Zero Equals Resentment in Liberal Math

In Slate, the usually foolish Matt Yglesias holds true to form by demonstrating why we shouldn’t allow liberals to make public policy based on what they consider fairness.  He points to the “mega-yacht” that Steve Jobs commissioned long before his death as “a valuable reminder of the best argument for reducing economic inequality.”

The absurdity of these watercraft and the fact that there’s clearly a large positional element to the race to acquire them (the goal is to have the awesomest yacht in the marina not necessary to meet any absolute standard of yachtness) shows that beyond a certain point it becomes extremely difficult to transform additional money into additional happiness.

What a revealing assertion.  That Yglesias thinks he knows what makes people happy, or even whether Jobs was chasing happiness when he decided to build this thing, is typical of liberals who believe they know what’s best for everyone.

As Brad DeLong writes “The time and energy and work devoted to making, toasting and serving a $40 bagel at the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street in Manhattan would, in a more equal America, buy a full dinner for four at Sizzler Steakhouse for a family to whom going to Sizzler is a once-a-month treat – and thereby produce more human happiness.”

By the same token, one man’s super-yacht could have been more spacious accommodations for a dozen regular families.

The notion that the economic pie is fixed, with the size of “one man’s” piece determining how much remains for everyone else, is absurd on its face—and is in fact debunked by this very yacht.

Given that Jobs died a year ago, the craft’s construction was the full employment act for some shipbuilding company over at least a two-year period, possibly much longer.  And the jobs created weren’t minimum-wage.  Dozens, if not hundreds, of men and women whose advanced skills went into every detail of this yacht were paid quite well—and their wages soon became mortgage payments, insurance, dry cleaning, food, gasoline, income taxes, savings deposits, etc.

Which is to say that this private-sector yacht Yglesias preferred to see as free housing for “regular families” actually grew the economy for regular families.

Why it grew the economy of the Netherlands, rather than the United States, is the real story here.  But one suspects that Yglesias wouldn’t have liked what he found, if he’d bothered to look.

As for the hourly wages of the person who toasts and serves a $40 bagel “in a more equal America,” Yglesias is apparently endorsing a $400/hour minimum wage.  How’s that? It takes five minutes to toast and serve a bagel (plus a prorated 30 seconds or so for someone else to mix and bake the bagel in a large batch), while a dinner for four at Sizzler costs about that same $40.

Do the math.  Please.  Doing the math is a job that Americans like Yglesias refuse to do.


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Guys like Yglesias seem t think that when a rich person buys something, the money is destroyed, not recycled through the economy. We might remind him what happened to boat builders when there was a luxury tax imposed on boats. The boat builders cratered and jobs were lost.

Obviously, because it’s not giving Matt the answers he wants, math is racist. 🙂

The totalitarian mind at work: defining, then rationing, “happiness.”

Notice the dripping-with-condescension reference to Sizzler. If it’s between Sizzler and a place selling $40 bagels, I know where I’d expect to find the hoity-toity clown who wrote this article.

I wonder if Mr. Yglesias consulted Senator Kerry about the relative status of various yachts, yacht design and the best places to keep your yacht to avoid taxes.

Jack The Ripper | October 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm

There is nothing that prevents Matt Yglesias and Brad DeLong, if they were so include, from using all of their money to treat people to dinner at Sizzler.

They could donate all of their money to a soup kitchen.

They could use all of their money to buy Sandra Fluke’s contraception, abortions, or sterilization. [Some plastic surgery might be good, too.]

A LIBERAL IS SOMEONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO DO GOOD WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY. Well, who wouldn’t? [Then again, the problem with socialism is that eventually, you run out of other peoples’ money. – Margaret Thatcher.].

Bleeding heart liberals need transfusions of common sense daily or they become vampires looking to feed on the rest of us.

casualobserver | October 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I’ve yet to hear a sound argument (oxymoron for progressives?) from people who think like Yglesias as to why greed is worse than envy or vice-versa. Even some of the more prolific social ‘scientists’ and progressive economists I’ve read cannot hide the envious feelings behind a lot of their work. The word “justice” in all its combinations, like ‘social justice’ has been used as cover to point of being abused. But even then, the arguments are still left incomplete without an eventual dip into the emotional.

“At some point you’ve made enough,” rings true to progressives. But the point of ‘enough’ is rarely supported by fact. Non-progressive economists more often use facts and analysis to dispute many of the claims greed being categorically destructive. As Mr. Engel says, you can always do the math.

Progressives dream while non-progressives (even classical liberal types) rely on facts and history.

These guys make me puke with their sophomoric attitudes about wealth and overconcern with the wealth of others.
Let alone how silly they make themselves look to typical Americans.
Pick on Jobs but ignore the Kennedys and the Kerrys.
But wait. Ted Kennedy spent money on approved things: Supporting the family of the woman he may as well have killed.
Thats honorable. Sure thing.

Thatcher had it right. Yglesias would be OK with the poor being poorer so long as the rich were less rich.

As someone who’s eaten a $40 bagel in a NYC hotel I will point out that the baker gets probably 3 times the price for said bagel than he’d get in Newark. Taxes and high energy costs will do that, Brad.

The union wages of the toaster probably add 25% to whatever price it’d be in a right-to-work state (and the extra wages aren’t buying happiness, they are kicked back to the union as dues) and this hotel wouldn’t ever allow me to bring in a crust of bread from home so I could watch MY corporate expenses and perhaps pay my workers a raise.

I guess facts and research are heavy lifts for these guys or they’d know they were lying when DeLong whines about us not spending more on education. The US DOE notes $6200 per pupil was spent 20 yrs ago and in 2004-5 it was $9200. Please!

I should get out more because I’ve been in NYC since college and I’ve never heard of $40 bagels.

Jack The Ripper | October 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

The essence of liberalism is that someone, somewhere is happier than someone else, and that happier person must be made to pay.

Of course, determining how happy others are, is a very difficult undertaking. So, what do liberals focus on? Something that is tangible and easily resented – the trappings of wealth.

After all, life is supposed to be fair.

But, liberals don’t know whether that wealth was by luck at birth or by hard work, perseverance, thrift, risk taking, and stress. If liberals truly wished to be fair, they would be troubled by this inability to determine the virtue of the wealth holder. Happily for liberals, they need not worry about whether they are being unfair to the “deserving wealthy,” because, like simple-minded children, they simply assume that all wealth held by one person must have necessarily come at the expense of someone else (Life is a Zero Sum Game).

Liberals see wealth and they see physical labor (think labor unions), but they do not see the exertions, risk taking, prior defeats, and sacrifices of the successful business person, such as, say, Mitt Romney.

All they know is, Mitt’s got it. Someone else doesn’t have it. And that’s not fair. End of Liberal Analysis.

Jack The Ripper | October 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

“If it feels good, do it!”

Therefore, we should assault Brad DeLong and Matt Yglesias and take their money.

Seems like OwlGore’s houseboat out on a lake in Tennessee was IMMENSE.

Quite a carbon footprint as I recall, too…

But, hey, “It’s different when we do it.”

Lets keep it simple. Leftys + Math = ¥§ / Πæ > [¿,£] = nonsense

I wonder why Yglesias didn’t use John Kerry’s yacht for an example? You know, the one he bought from a foreign boat maker and kept in RI to avoid berthing taxes? The one the claimed to agree to repay the state of MA $500K in back taxes (which it is unclear that he even paid)?

FA Hayak pointed out on numerous occasions that what makes one person happy does not make another person happy, so people trade those items or services they don’t value highly to people who desire them more. In the act of an exchange of goods or services, BOTH participants are left better off when the goods or services are voluntarily exchanged. This is the basis of economic growth. It is not a zero sum game. Wealth is created, not taken from one and redistributed to another. This is why socialists never seem to have an economy that works as planned. Their assumptions are just false.

    Jack The Ripper in reply to Paul. | October 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    As Fonzi would say, “Correct-a-mundo!”

    Voluntary exchanges?

    Without the beneficient oversight of officious, intermeddling liberals?

    But how will people decide what they want and what they are willing to give?

    These people have not heard of, Hayek, or, for example, Smith, Ricardo, Friedman, Laffer, Chicago School, Austrian School, Schumpeter or Drucker.

    But they sure as hell know who Tina Fey, Will Farrell, Barbra Streisand and Michael Moore are. Remember Will Farrell’s mocking spoof about The Republican Health Care plan being just to let people die?

    Do you think a douche-nozzle like Farrell knows that you could confiscate all of the profits of health care companies in the United States and all it would get you is another half week, if that, of health care outlays?

    They know nothing about how living standards have risen throughout the world in the last 100 years.

    All they know is that someone has a bunch of wealth that someone else does not, and they resent it, unless, of course, it involves wealthy celebrities or athletes. That is something these libtards understand, because they can appreciate what the actors or athletes or musicians did to earn their dough.

    From now on, let’s refer to Liberals as “Peek-A-Boo” economists. They have infantile intellect and can comprehend only what they can see.

theyjustcantstop | October 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm

this is the stupidity of liberals,such as yglesias,there pushing a socialist agenda,for economic equality.
lets say yglesias has got a decent job,we’ll keep out the 1%ers,and say he earns $200,000.00 a year,has a nice house,maybe another little get-away house,2 nice cars,that means hes economicaly better off than probably 60-70 million americans,your their steve jobs,in the socialist agenda your going to get ate alive,you are their target,you can’t defend yourself.
people worth 100’s of millions,and billions of dollars are connected,and useful,and can be very mobile,these people will last generations,you won’t.
government,ie,irs,epa,doj,tsa,have the ability to put you in the poor house at their whim,anytime.
you say that can’t happen,it’s not constitutional,well in the america you want the constitution will be achived.
in the world your trying to promote,the irs will know exactly what your net worth is including retirement,they send the epa out with some invented charge,the fine will be your net worth,by the time you pay a lawyer to fight the doj,you will be broke,and still owe the fine,you’ve just been redistibuted,and so have your children if you have any.
maybe you’ll get lucky,and they’ll settle for half of your net worth.

“By the same token, one man’s super-yacht could have been more spacious accommodations for a dozen regular families.”

What these More-ons do not comprehend is THAT HAPPENED with the building, fitting, and mere existence of the yacht. And not a DOZEN families were benefitted…but many hundreds of families. Most of all, it was done EFFICIENTLY!

Markets ARE redistribution systems. They simply do that by voluntary exchanges, instead of COMPULSORY extraction and faked benevolence.

Working people…REAL working people…offer their skills, time, and talent for the money that other people earned by their skills, time, and talent. Everyone benefits. MOSTLY the “real working people”, who are able to improve their standard of living.

    They reject voluntary exploitation in favor of involuntary exploitation because they neither respect individual dignity nor trust the charitable nature of humanity. At least that was the motivation of the classical progressives, who did have cause to believe those flaws were real. However, the generational progressives are motivated by advancing their political, economic, and social standing through the exploitation of differentials, vulnerability, and people’s base nature. The latter class of progressives are simply competing interests for all the things which people routinely desire.

What standard represents a fair way to apportion beachfront properties in Hawaii?

This is why the generational progressives lost their way. Progressivism is not a principle-based ideology, but a response to real and perceived inequities. As with similar movements, they should have been shortly disbanded. But having recognized political, economic, and egoistic success, they instead chose to perpetuate their movement and sustain their fortunes and standing. They revel in avarice, envy, gluttony, lust, sloth, vanity, and wrath, and exploit and encourage the same character flaws in their supporters. They do not respect individual dignity. They do not recognize the intrinsic value of human life. Their articles of faith (i.e. selective) have engendered corruption of individuals, institutions, and society.

Those nice Bolsheviks set about turning the estates of the wealthy into housing for the peasants. It all turned out so well….if ONLY we’d build thousands of yachts and turn ’em into Section 8’s…because public housing turned out so well.

Brad DeLong is a Commie putz as is Yglesias. Show us some nice examples, fellows, of how forcing someone to pay for the family of 4 at Sizzler has turned out well. If only we could force all those damn rich people to become more like the rest of us…I demand a nice dinner tonight paid for by one of those nice rich people, because, damn it, I deserve it.

I can’t sleep well because there are richer folks than I. Why even bother working! I want my Sizzler dinner!

Are these people anything BUT insane, DeLong and Yglesias? Even if one wants to argue income inequality is bad, then ok, argue that the laws are skewed, that the tax code IS unfair, because rich folks pushed Senators and Reps to make it that way. I would be fine with having a much fairer and/or flatter tax code, with pretty much the same rules for all of us, except maybe a very small group at the bottom, those who truly cannot work or can make barely enough to get buy (which does NOT include nice cellphones for every single family member).

But this kind of juvenile crap they eschew makes me sick. How many people are taken in by such utterly stupid Commie class envy nonsense?

    The communists offered liberty to replace virtual slavery under the czar’s rule. The communists, however, operated on a premise incompatible with reality. On principles which denigrate individual dignity. It should have been foreseen that with the reduction and elimination of competing interests to keep the honest people honest, and prevent others from running amuck, that the corruption of individuals, institutions, and society would be progressive.

    As for your question, promises of instant gratification (i.e. material, physical, ego) and and equitable distributions, appeals to opportunists and the vulnerable, respectively.

Obama’s half-brother in Nairobi couldn’t afford a $40 bagel on his monthly income.

An American teenager working as a burger flipper at McDonalds could easily afford a $40 bagel on a single day’s pay … if he wanted it. But then … the average American teenager isn’t consumed with the pathetic envy of the average UC Berkeley professor.

Using Yglesias’s and DeLong’s logic, I can only surmise that in Nairobi, (a place I’ve never visited), the streets are lined with posh hotels selling $40 bagels … thus the dismal poverty of George and others like him. That must be it.

And don’t get me started on the grinding poverty and inequality caused by Kenya’s mega-yacht industry.

LukeHandCool (who worked in a couple of restaurants as a young man, and who can smell a cheapscrew bad tipper who overcompensates for his tightwad ways with gratuitous theoretical compassion for the average worker. Yeah, I smell DeLong a mile away)

It takes all sorts of people to build fancy boats. Don’t those people count?

Henry Hawkins | October 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm

My yacht: 1967 12′ aluminum Ouachita jon boat with 1958 3 hp Johnson outboard and a 1954 Phantam Bantam trolling motor. Everything has lost its original paint. Nothing is undented, scratched, or patched.

I would like to apologize to all the people doing without because of my selfishness. I’m not going to, but I’d like to.

Yglesias and DeLong have both always been nothing more than dishonest leftist shills. Why anyone ever paid them the slightest attention is beyond me.