Free Markets

Myth of the Evil Rich

As long as rich people don't collude with government, they make our lives better.

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As Republicans struggle to agree on a tax plan, Democrats and much of the media label each attempt at reform a "gift" to rich people.

In one sense, they are right. Any tax cut disproportionately favors rich people since the rich pay much more tax.

But the media and Democrats (is there a difference?) are wrong because they routinely portray rich people as parasites who take from other people.

Flying Dog Brewery owner Jim Caruso objects to that kind of thinking. He took over a bankrupt brewery and made it successful by inventing new craft beers. I won't buy his beers—with varieties like blood orange ale—but enough people like them that Caruso has become relatively rich.

He's the kind of person Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rails about. "The top 1 percent," complains Sanders, "earned 85 percent of all new income."

That sounds unfair. But Caruso doesn't see it that way.

"My goal in life is to be the best part of your day," he told me. "You will have unequal outcomes [but] we all benefit from that."

He's right. Caruso provided consumers new choices and created more than 100 jobs.

But for my YouTube video this week, I pushed back: "The top fraction of earners has half the assets in this country. This ticks people off. They view it as evil."

"Think about it this way," responded Caruso. "Apple was the first company to be worth $800 billion dollars. I was curious, how much was (Apple founder) Steve Jobs worth in 2011 when he passed away? … Ten billion dollars! I did some quick calculations…"

His calculations revealed that because about 2 billion Apple devices were sold, Jobs collected about $5 for each device.

Isn't your cellphone worth much more to you than $5? Mine is. It must be, since I just paid $800 for a new one. I got a machine worth hundreds of dollars to me, but the inventor got only $5.

"Steve might have been underpaid," said Caruso. "The feeling tends to be that somebody like Steve Jobs took something away from everybody else… [but] what did Jobs take? …He had this idea: Wouldn't it be great to have a thousand songs in your pocket? [He created] one of the most massively important tools for productivity and communication in life!"

Generally, Jobs got a pass when the media attacked rich people, maybe because reporters liked Apple's products. But other rich Americans are routinely labeled "parasites." Sanders suggests that if some people have billions, the rest of us must have billions less.

But that's not true, Caruso points out. "It's that zero-sum game mentality: that somehow people who create stuff are taking it from other people. That's simply inaccurate. It's not a zero-sum game. They're creating stuff that didn't exist before."

He's right. It's not as if there's one pie and when rich people take a big piece, less is left for the rest of us. Billionaires like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, the Koch brothers (David Koch is a trustee of the Reason Foundation, which publishes Reason.com), etc. got rich only by baking thousands of new pies.

Entrepreneurs create things; they don't take from others.

Well, they do take if they conspire with government to get special deals—subsidies, bailouts, regulations that protect them from competition. But without government force, businesspeople get rich only by selling us things we willingly purchase.

We get to decide if we'd be better off with the products that creators offer to sell. Producers get to decide whether they can make enough money from those sales to make their efforts worth their while.

This mutually beneficial exchange is the heart of a market economy.

Government, on the other hand, only knows how to do two things: make you engage in exchanges you don't want, and prevent you from engaging in exchanges you do want. With every order it issues, government makes the pie a little smaller.

As long as rich people don't collude with government, they make our lives better.

COPYRIGHT 2017 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

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  1. “But the media and Democrats (is there a difference?) are wrong because they routinely portray rich people as parasites who take from other people.”

    Something something, SJWs, something something, project, something something.

    1. Something something? Something!

        1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,

          go? to tech tab for work detail,,, http://www.onlinecareer10.com

  2. Evil rich people turned me into a newt. But at least I have a cell phone.

  3. The evil rich are balanced by the stupid poors who vote Republican, against their own self-interest when the Dems are offering a plethora of free shit.

    1. There’s no such thing as a free shit.

      1. Voting for economic growth is voting against their self interest?

        1. If the “economic growth” is widely dispersed, but the cost of that “economic growth” is local? Then yes.

          That’s why when folks get laid off due to their jobs being outsourced to foreign countries, even though the net economic growth is positive their personal lives are shittier.

          1. Sometimes relatively rich first world people have to sacrifice some of their wealth so that relatively poor Third World people can get a hand up in life.

            Oh wait: what am I saying? Dirty brown people in a foreign country benefiting? Hell no!

          2. You’re sayythat Obama’s 1.6% growth helped people?

          3. I wonder, were they concerned about whose life was getting “shittier” when they loaded up their shopping carts w/ inexpensive goods at WalMart or the supermarket down the street? When they bought that shiny new Made-in-Mexico Tacoma instead of that Made-in-Detroit Escort?

            Everyone wants the benefits of economic growth as long as it doesn’t “negatively” affect them.

      2. Hang around me when I have diarrhea.

        1. A true libertarian gives nothing away for free. For shame.

    2. Also they vote against gun control then the gun turns around and kills them am I right?

      What are you doing here by the way?

  4. I don’t suppose it’s cool to dig the ten commandments, but they’re pretty awesome. In addition to more or less incorporating the NAP, there are commandments against socialism, “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet”.

    That covet one is a big problem for progressives.

    “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

    That’s one of the the big differences between capitalists and others–we’re not especially susceptible to coveting something that “is thy neighbor’s”–and it’s baffling to people like Tony. Progressives can’t see the difference between wanting something of your own and wanting something that belongs to other people. It really is a moral failure.

    “You didn’t build that” is a moral failure.

    1. “You didn’t build that” is a moral failure.

      I think of Uncle Vasili in “We the Living” who ‘started as a trapper in the wilderness with a gun, a pair of boots and two arms… wearing a scar of bear’s teeth… not heard from for ten years…..’

      Actually, he did build that business, this is what the redistributionists of all shapes forget. Sooner or later, it all comes down the the will and actions of individuals. We are not Borg, we are individuals.

  5. The fact is that both parties love lavish social programs (Medicare Welfare Part D was led by the GOP in 2003) so who is supposed to pay for them?

    The GOP says no one has to (just cut taxes and like Jesus said your ass will be saved) and the Dems want to plunder the wealthy.

    Which on is more realistic?

    1. You assume that cutting taxes means less revenue. The opposite is true.

      1. No it isn’t.

        It is true that as population and productivity increase tax revenue rises (see the last 50 years with the exception of 08-09. Tax cuts and tax hikes occurred dozens of times during this period.

        Taxes should be cut so that the earner benefits – not for some majic-trickle-down voodoo.

        1. Check out the revenues after JFK’s and Reagan’s tax cuts.

        2. There is no magic tickle-down voodoo, there is only natural order, where the less-well-off benefit from the productiveness of the consequently more-well-off, and there is violence to taken what is not offered. The former is moral, the latter is not; it should go without saying, but sadly it can’t be repeated enough, it seems.

    2. Palin’s Buttplug:

      Which one is more realistic the least obnoxiously retarded?

      FTFY.

    3. I guess both parties like running deficits and cutting taxes too, while we’re picking cherries.

      And speaking of being realistic, you won’t actually plunder the wealthy, they’ll leave first.

    4. Medicare part D came in under budget. When was the last time Democrats did that?

    5. Well let’s consider Parts A and B which were pushed through by team communist. And the only criticism the dems had about Part D was that it didn’t spend ENOUGH.

  6. Wow…your article contains many, many misguided statements. Unfortunately, it is just the kind of thought process that many people use to justify the inequities our middle class and working poor face on a daily basis. I could go through each paragraph and identify them one by one, but I fear that my analysis would be longer than the original article.

    1. Also people might point out you’re wrong.

      Unless it’s about Jobs. Who didn’t actually “invent” shit.

    2. Translation: “Wow…your argument hurts my feelz and is clearly misguided, because it does not correspond with what a sociology professor once told me in college. Unfortunately, I can’t respond to your arguments, because numbers are scary to me and I really don’t grasp economics, so I’m just going to engage in some verbal diarrhea.”

      1. ^ This person is fluent in internet-rhetoric

      2. You win the internet today. Just so you know, I’m going to steal this. I’n going to use it as a standard form letter:

        “Your argument hurts my feelz and is clearly misguided, because it does not correspond with what ______________ [authority figure: for example: sociology professor, Rush Limbaugh, chief of police] once told me in __________ [location where authority figure would impart ‘facts’: for example: college, his radio show, local newspaper]. Unfortunately, I can’t respond to your arguments, because numbers are scary to me and I really don’t grasp ____________ [subject at hand], so I’m just going to engage in some verbal diarrhea.”

    3. Damn straight.

      The rich are evil. This is known.

    4. Please do elaborate.

  7. “Well, they do take if they conspire with government to get special deals?subsidies, bailouts, regulations that protect them from competition. But without government force, businesspeople get rich only by selling us things we willingly purchase.”

    You mean like Steve Jobs and Apple getting a bailout from Microsoft and Bill Gates under threat from the Feds to give Microsoft the Ma Bell treatment.

    1. And the best part, now Apple works very hard to force you to stay in their ecosystem which constantly earns them more money. They even force a browser decision on you regardless of device. It’s almost like they want to deny competition. A lot like, say, Microsoft did in the 80s and 90s prior to their punishments.

      Of course, Apple folks will somehow say that because Apple also makes the hardware the browser rules somehow don’t apply. I’m curious if the Microsoft surface means they can only offer Edge in the EU.

  8. I’d have gone with a Bruce Campbell picture, by the way.

  9. Yeah, but they take your $ that you could otherwise have spent on…things you wanted less.

  10. “But the media and Democrats (is there a difference?)”

    Hey that sounds like Trumpian talk or something. You can’t write things that are so obviously true that no one even disputes them anymore.

    1. Democrats with bylines, as InstaPundit calls them.

    2. Funny how the author of a blatantly biased article on a blatantly biased website is complaining about someone else’s bias showing. It’s like “hey, if we just scream loud enough THEY’RE BIASED, THEY’RE BIASED, maybe people will ignore the fact that we are doing the exact thing we are accusing them of doing”. And I guess some people will.

      1. Except Reason doesn’t CLAIM to be unbiased. The Leftist agitprop fish-farms that style themselves the NYT and WaPo do.

  11. Round here in the DC suburbs, the rich don’t actually produce anything, except getting themselves a generous slice of taxpayer $. This is the main reason why Virginia is now a blue state.

  12. “As long as rich people don’t collude with government, they make our lives better.”

    What a laughable statement. The rich own the government. The republicans even admitted they were told by their major donors (rich people) either pass the tax reform bill or we turn off the donations. Are you claiming regular middle class American taxpayers had the same (or any) input to the wording of that bill as the rich did? That was written by the rich for the rich and everyone else will be hit hard when Medicare and Social Security get gutted to pay for it.

    1. Great post, totally agree.

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