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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Quit Interrupting And Listen For Once!

Economist Arnold Kling is writing a series of essays that he wishes his mostly liberal friends (that is, most of his friends are liberal) would read and think about. When he converses with them they rarely allow him to complete his train of thought before interrupting him. They tend to attempt to bury him in rhetorical put-downs rather than follow his arguments. Sound familiar to anyone?

He begins with the issue of the likely failure of the Wal-Mart law in Maryland to help the employees. The law forces the retail giant to pay up to 8% for employee health-care (foisted on the company from non-employees of Wal-Mart) to help the workers at all. Either Wal-Mart will leave the state, reduce pay accordingly or reduce its low-end workforce. And this helps those workers and Marylanders in what way?

Kling concludes by stating:

Liberals see the market as an arena in which evil corporations inflict their greed on innocent victims. I wish you would see that motives matter less than consequences. I wish you could see that greed is at work when laws are passed that regulate markets, because regulations always produce winners and losers. I wish you could see that those winners and losers are often not who you think they are. I wish you could see that competitive behavior and free choice are forces that operate in the market as a check against greed. Finally, I wish you could see that greed is most difficult to restrain when it is exercised through the medium of government.

I would add that they do not see that there are limits to what a business can pay its employees or, for that matter, all other costs if they do not allow for a profit after sales. Unlike the government that can deficit spend, businesses must profit or they will be denied credit (from banks, investors or shareholders) and will go bankrupt. It is the simple economic lessons that are lost on the do-gooders.

But let's look again at the salient comment in the quoted paragraph above: motives matter less than consequences. If this were considered by liberals, most of the social programs from the New Deal through the Great Society would be discontinued.

1 Comments:

At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read »

 

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