Lucky Me

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Will Wilkinson notes that Matt Miller seems to be building a career on milking the same goddamn elementary point about luck and justice from the first chapter of A Theory of Justice, most recently in The New York Times this weekend.

Luckily for me, that means I can just deploy the debater's favorite time saving refrain: Cross-apply my argument from the last time he did this schtick.

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  1. I think commenter ‘cartoon’ had the most insight into this last time around …

  2. I was “unlucky” enough to be born and raised in a manner that made me a lazy sack of non-working shit. I can’t even rouse myself out of the bed to answer the fucking door. Damn this luck! If only I were born and raised to become a hard worker! But, alas, I had no say in this.

    It’s obvious I was “unlucky” enough to be cursed with these lazy tendencies, and I have no control over them. Now, gimme some money.

  3. “Measuring equality of opportunity requires data on why successful parents tend to have successful children. In particular, it requires data on the degree to which a society has minimized obstacles to economic success that we know how to alter, such as parental neglect and ineptitude, inequitable distribution of effective teachers, and labor market practices that favor the well-born.”

    How do we close the gap? The most effective policy levers appear to be spending on higher education (?College graduation is probably the outcome with the strongest effect on children?s economic prospects?)[…]

    This trite little gem ignores simple economic sense. The more we “spend” on college education, the more people will have access to degrees. And the more people have degrees, the less they’re worth. After all, with some exceptions (specialized degrees), undergrad degrees are just a way for employers to “weed out” prospectives.

    It’s already begun. 30 years ago, the baseline for success was a high school degree. Now, that counts for about as much as a preschool certificate did back then. Now, due in large part to gov’t subsidation, the baseline is creeping towards the college undergrad degree. Yesteryear’s undergrad degree is today’s masters.

    The fact is, the more money that is artificially pumped into the undergrad degree market by the government, the closer we get to the breaking point, where degree rates begin to fall…because kids are paying tens of thousands of dollars, and burdening themselves for 10 years or more, in order to get something that doesn’t guarantee much for them.

    Thus, the grand problem with government subsidation of “equal opportunity” is illustrated perfectly. The job market is finite in many respects—at least, more finite than the population. As it should be. So, regardless of Washington’s attempts to “equalize”, businesses must be selective and make choices. So, they will always be looking for distinguishing factors, even if the government is constantly trying to iron them out. Subsidizing “equality” makes no economic sense whatsoever.

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