Desperately Seeking Memes

A letter to the Globe & Mail:

Jeffery Simpson writes: “Conservative-minded types don’t much like talking about income inequalities, but Canadians think they exist and are widening. A staggering 88 per cent believe the gap between rich and poor has widened in the past decade, and 81 per cent believe the government should reduce the gap.”

Liberal-minded types like Mr. Simpson don’t much like talking about the inadequacies of citing income disparities as a meaningful instrument to measure of social progress.

For example, say Mr. Simpson and I are sitting together. My salary is $50,000. Mr. Simpson has a salary of $100,000. Therefore, our average salary is $75,000, which makes me comparatively poor and Mr. Simpson comparatively rich.

Then, in some fortuitous blessing, Mr. Simpson leaves me. Thus I now have raised myself out of poverty, as I now earn the average salary.

The question is, Am I now better off? Aside, of course, of no longer having to bear Mr. Simpson’s tiresome worldview, no, I am not better off. My salary remains the same. Mr. Simpson’s income had nothing to do with my income, and so our relative income gap was meaningless.

The reason “conservatives don’t much like talking about income inequalities” is because raising this topic says more about a person’s level of envy than it does about our society’s actual quality of life. Perhaps Mr. Simpson could for once try to explain this concept rather than feed that misinformed “progressive” meme.

h/t sda

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