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2010 November 24 Wednesday
Liberal Elite Fail To Recruit Support For High Taxes For Rich

Ron Guhname says elite liberals do not understand why the majority do not share their desire to soak the rich with confiscatory taxes.

These elite liberals are completely mystified about why ordinary Americans don't want to tax the rich aggressively. These supposedly creative people even lack the imagination to come up with a good answer. So as the son of a retired maintenance man, let me help them out. The problem is that they assume that we rubes are naturally good at hating, so how in the world could we not want to stick it to the people who clearly deserve our hostility? They make the mistake of believing that we think like them.

The reality is that ordinary American assume that they are just as good as rich people; they are just people like ourselves. They are not cardboard monsters like liberals want us to believe. They are just folks.

Guhname gets this right. There's not a high degree of inter-class hatred. In fact, the biggest haters are the elite liberals. They hate both rich people and the people in fly-over country. That's another reason why most people do not want to join the elite liberals in resenting rich people: Why take your lead from an elite that views you with disdain? Rich people like the masses more than elite liberals do.

In the popular mind some of the most visible rich people are more like celebrities. Look at Donald Trump. I end up wanting him to have money so he can act like himself. He needs his big tower so he can say "You're fired!" and have it come from the big man. He's like a great character actor who plays a rich real estate tycoon in real life. What a great personality to have as a rich guy. Most real estate tycoons are probably far less interesting though.

Or take Steve Jobs. He doesn't spend a lot of money on clothes because his "suit" is a black turtleneck and blue jeans. He's got a huge ego. But if you had done what Jobs has accomplished wouldn't you? He's got more creativity in him than a thousand elite liberals. He's raised the bar for many companies in multiple industries. We all get to use better cell phones, music players, and personal computers regardless of whether we use Apple products because other companies compete to raise their products up to Apple standards. That's great. I can't complain.

Or look at Sergei Brin and Larry Page. Google has made the internet a much more fun and useful place. I use Google services many time each day to great personal benefit. I know many people who think Google is great. Socialist countries with high marginal tax rates and fewer rich people do not produce companies as innovative as Google or Apple or other greats in the American computer industry.

Do some rich people not deserve their wealth? Sure. But I am skeptical that government attempts to redistribute the wealth will push more wealth toward those who make big contributions with little rewards. More likely, the money would go to parasites who will become more destructive if subsidized more by taxpayers.

By Randall Parker    2010 November 24 11:09 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (9)
2009 June 08 Monday
Mish Shedlock Does A Google Tech Talk

Mish Shedlock, whose Global Economic Analysis blog I read regularly, has cut such a big figure on the economics blogging scene that he was invited to give a Google Tech Talk:

Mish is a former computer programmer who is mostly self-taught on economics with a lot of informal tutoring by others. He's managed to attract a bigger readership than almost all trained economists. He's been heavily influenced by the Austrian economists.

I find it interesting that people such as Mish outside of the academic and financial mainstream of economics did a better job of calling the coming of our financial disaster than the mainstream. Group think by smart people is a big problem. Blogs are useful in part because they provide forums for dissenting view from assorted prevailing group thinks that are ridiculous in their obvious errors. It helps to look at non-official and basically dissenting sources of information on a variety of topics. The trick is to find high quality dissenting views.

By Randall Parker    2009 June 08 06:16 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (4)
2009 April 29 Wednesday
The Rich Are Worried About Economic Depression

Those poor rich people, woe is them.

The "Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America," set to be released Wednesday by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group, will show that 53% of the nation's wealthy are now worried that they could run out of money, in large measure because many of the respondents fear the country is headed for an economic depression.

Except they are as happy as puppies.

"The irony is that despite the worries and the cutbacks and having to be more resourceful or spend less to make their money go further, the percentage of families reporting themselves to be very happy is up," Taylor added. "Two-thirds of the families say they are very happy, which is up since 2007." Taylor believes that represents a turn toward optimism. Tuesday's consumer confidence numbers generally showed a big step up in confidence, although the overall numbers remained in negative territory. See Economic Report.

What gives? Do they enjoy worry? Or are they happier when they feel more helpless? Or what?

By Randall Parker    2009 April 29 11:58 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (9)
2008 August 31 Sunday
Garages And Fawning Servants Key To Manhattan Lifestyle

A couple of articles from the very liberal New York Times provide chuckles about what the Times thinks its readers want to know. First off, a garage in Manhattan is great and it boosts your real estate's market value.

A recent check of real estate Web sites turned up about a dozen listings for town houses with private garage space in Manhattan and Brooklyn, ranging in price from $1.195 million, for a brownstone in Crown Heights, to $18.75 million for a restored carriage house in Greenwich Village. "I can’t imagine any greater luxury than a garage,” said Kirk Henckels, a Stribling & Associates broker. ”It’s not the square footage in Manhattan that counts. It’s the amenities.”

Town houses with existing garages and curb cuts on the sidewalk command a premium when the houses are resold. That is partly because getting approval from the city to create a new curb cut involves navigating a thicket of building regulations and approvals.

The Gray Lady observes that permits needed for installing a garage are hard to get. But the idea of actually complaining about government regulations probably doesn't cross the minds of the reporter or editor of this piece.

The Department of Buildings has approved only 54 new curb cuts in Manhattan so far in 2008, and only 57 curb cuts in all of 2007.

However, they report the troubling fact that some who can afford their own garage in Manhattan find that it gives them a taste of suburban life and they decide to move to the suburbs. This brings into question the whole idea that Manhattan is a great place to live. So garages bring risks.

Another article for the upper class about thrifty ways to upgrade your co-up building offers the useful advice that if your doorman isn't sufficiently obsequious that, well, you deserve better than that and should get your servants better trained.

“If you’re looking to buy in a building, and the staff is curt or not polite or disheveled, that is very important in determining property values,” said David Kuperberg, the chief executive of Cooper Square Realty Inc., which manages about 200 co-op and condominium buildings, mostly in Manhattan. “And if you have a surly doorman, it’s going to affect your quality of life adversely, because there’s nothing better than coming home at night and being greeted by a happy face and, ‘Hello, how are you doing Mr. or Ms. So-and-So.’ ”

Many people settle for a happy greeting from a dog. But in Manhattan you must receive a happy greeting from a doorman or you just haven't arrived.

By Randall Parker    2008 August 31 09:31 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (7)
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