[FoRK] Bar Stool Economics

Ken Meltsner meltsner at alum.mit.edu
Mon Sep 27 12:13:46 PDT 2010


Both simple and simplistic.

The well-off not only contribute more to running a society than the
poor, they also receive more.  I'd have to dig up the statistics to
back up this assertion, of course, but in the past I've read estimates
of the level of government services consumed by different segments of
the U.S. population, and unsurprisingly, they are not equal.  I
hesitated to bring this up because I don't have the time needed to
track down the objective numbers, but the wealthy, given that they
tend to consume more, tend to consume more in government services as
well.  The poor may receive a broader range of services -- medical,
food assistance, etc. -- but despite the privatization of certain
services (e.g. private security instead of police, private schools
instead of public), they simply consume so much more than the poor
that the balance shifts the other way.

To over-extend the metaphor, it would be as if the wealthy individual
received several pitchers for his contribution, and the poorest only
received quarter-full glasses.

More to come -- I dislike making unsupported assertions, but I also
dislike the assumption that all of the beer servings are equal as
well.

Ken Meltsner


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