Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Translating Sperling

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor:Gener Sperling: No Pain, No Savings: "Before President Bush can ask Democrats to go along with any tax or benefit changes that affect average Americans, he needs to ask this most fortunate group to help bear the burden of reform."

Bearing the burden can also mean providing a disincentive to the rich. See, for capitalists of all stripes, the rich are the leaders of the charge. They invent, build and succeed, thus allowing the rest of us to either work for them or teaching us how to do it on our own. Without the incentive to get there through tax incentives and the like, many would be complacent in mid-success (middle income). One only has to look at the sluggish growth rates in Europe, where taxes are prohibitive, to see that incentives to promote growth here in the US work.
I believe that Gene is a very smart man, but much of it is for the camera. He lives under the illusion that by being a martyr (using term loosely) for the poor and middle class, that he saves his place in economic history, and he very well may succeed. That, however, does not make what he is saying any more palatable, as it just ignores what has made this country as wealthy and generous as we are. Our country has traditionally looked up to success as an ideal, encouraging our young people to strive for that ideal. Foreigners flood our borders also in hopes of achieving great things. To disincent those that wish to be business leaders would be much like saying that their dreams are self-centered and misguided.
It seems wiser to me to follow Adam Smith by allowing that people work only in their self-interest, but by doing so often end up working in the interest of all.

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