EppsNet Archive: Don Boudreaux

One Percenters

10 May 2014 /

“Progressives” love to complain about the alleged unfairness of the amount of income earned (“Progressives typically use misleading terms such as “claimed by”) the top 1 percent of income earners. Why not complain instead about the unfairness of the amount of tax revenues received by the top 1 percent of net-tax-revenue recipients? Why are the annual tax-receipt incomes of this small group less worthy of condemnation than are the annual pre-tax market-earned incomes of “the 1 percent” who are the regular objects of criticism, envy, and childish populist moralizing?


Childish Economics

22 Mar 2014 /

I have a very difficult time imagining the economic ‘theory’ that motivates proposals such as this one by Pres. Obama [to “streamline” the Fair Labor Standards Act so that more white-collar employees would be eligible for overtime pay]. The best that I can do is to imagine how a two-year-old child would respond if asked to propose a way to raise workers incomes.


Unconstrained Thinkers

10 Dec 2013 /

Unconstrained thinkers either do not recognize, or refuse to come to grips with, the fact that not everything that is good is worth the cost of its achievement — and that not everything that is bad is worth the cost of its obliteration. Unconstrained thinkers are also typically gripped by romantically unrealistic notions of the abilities of people wielding power, as well as of the trustworthiness of such people. Unconstrained thinkers, because they can imagine people with power exercising that power for the greater good and only for the greater good, are unwilling to suffer any imperfections in reality –- for why suffer such imperfections if a Great and Good Leader (or Great and Good Council) can possibly make the world a better place?


Do You Have a ‘Right’ to Health Care?

30 Sep 2013 /

The general point is that a positive right to health care – no matter how splendid you hold that right to be and no matter how lovely is the provision of that right – requires that its recipients receive at others’ expense the services to which these recipients have a ‘right.’ Someone (or a multitude of someones) must supply those services whose recipients self-righteously insist be supplied as a matter of ‘right.’ This fact is undeniable and inescapable.

Note that – although undeniable and inescapable – this fact does not by itself establish a case against treating health care as a right. But recognizing this reality does reveal certain potentially ugly aspects of all this ‘rights’ talk about health care – namely, to exercise your ‘right’ to health care requires that someone else be forced to serve you. Someone else must not merely refrain from interfering in your life and business. Instead, that someone else must be obliged to exert positive effort to help you – and not because you make it worthwhile for that person to exert that effort on your behalf, but because the government will ultimately execute him or her if he or she refuses to supply you with that to which you have a positive ‘right.’

I’m aware that such positive “rights” strike many people as being evidence of a highly progressive and especially civilized and caring society. They strike me as being quite the opposite: evidence not only of economic ignorance, but of collectivized and mutually destructive predation camouflaged with a pretty mask and falsely scented with absurd oratory.