Monday, February 04, 2008

The Free Market Ate My Baby

I am ashamed to admit that one of my best friends is a one issue voter. His issue is taxes. It actually goes deeper than that; he is a full blown Randian Free Market Whack Job™. He is completely opposed to any type of government handouts, basically any altruistic activity. What I find so ironic is that he fails to see the conflict with his position and the fact that he recently began day trading his wife’s inheritance after a prolonged period of joblessness.

We often get together to drink and argue. He says that my problem is that I care too much about others. I tell him that his problem is that he is pretending to be something he is not. No matter how much data and evidence I show him regarding who actually pays the majority of the taxes (answer: the middle class) and who the Bush tax cuts benefit (answer: not the middle class) he returns to this Atlas Shrugged argument about taking care of oneself and the welfare state. At this point I usually find the nearest sharp object and jam it deep into my ear canal. He then continues with the story citing the importance of high profits for the leaders of companies because without them we would not have jobs and they support all sorts of side industries (vendors) and they take all kinds of risk and they should be deified and perhaps have their faces carved on Mt. Rushmore. I then calmly explain that living wages are down, profits are up, and that the gap between executive pay and employee pay is at an all time high. Despite being faced with these arguments he still returns to the ideas that in a free market these supposedly abused employees could just go find another great paying job and move on. Because of course in a free market all things are equal (except of course for the tariffs and subsidies the government uses to manipulate various industries).

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