Friday, March 13, 2009

If all people are equal, then all labor is, too...

In comments at the Les Jones post ref'ed last night, "persimmon" stated:
That John Galt thing is the first constructive idea I’ve heard from Republicans during this crisis. If they all start working less, it will open up jobs for others, and jobs with good pay too. Bring it on!
I had to respond:
Does it hurt when you try to think?

The people that make $250,000+/yr are the kind of people who own businesses that employ other, less-skilled or -qualified, workers. When the doctor or lawyer cuts back, they lay people off. The cashier from Piggly-Wiggly is not going to step up and start performing cardiac catheterizations or doing patent attorney work to fill that “open job”.

Worse, if the Piggly-Wiggly cashier has been going to night school to become a medical receptionist or a paralegal, she’s screwed now, because there are fewer job openings and more unemployed paralegals and medical receptionists competing for them.

So, "persimmon", which gap are you going to step in and fill? Going to try out that career in neurosurgery you've always wanted? Criminal law, maybe? Some of those greedy rich people are going to be opening up good paying jobs for you!

BONUS! They keep talking. See, they think this is some spiteful, organized response by rich Republicans that are going to organize and cut their own throats to spite the working classes.

This is because these are the only dimensions in which they can think: "organized", "spiteful", "protest", and "cut your own throat". They don't realize that a lot of the people that may be throttling back might have even voted for their guy. That it's not an organized thing. That it's not being done as a "protest", either.

Look, most folks on that entrepreneurial treadmill are doing it for deferred gratification. They are plugging away, putting up money, and really not spending much time enjoying it. As long as the ducats are rolling in, they can keep telling themselves they'll spend that month at the beach house next year. So they don't get the houseboat out on the lake as often as they meant to; maybe they'll retire a couple of years early and enjoy it then.

Remove the incentive to work harder, however, and some people won't. If the extra effort is just going to get taxed into oblivion, why put forth the extra effort in the first place? After all, if you can have a pretty good life at $249,999/yr, why put forth the effort for more?

Pull the oat bag away from the horse's nose and pretty soon it starts wondering why it's pulling us around in this wagon in the first place.

You don't have to gin up theories of complicated organized social protests, little leftie; simple self-interest is the lather for Occam's razor here.


Kevin said...

Engineering, perhaps?

Borepatch said...

Tam, maybe when Darleen quits Piggly-Wiggly, she can start doing Lasik at home:

"LASIK@Home is the same patented surgical procedure performed at eye clinics around the world, but without the unnecessary equipment and staff."

Should open up Persimmon's high paying job. Other than that going blind thing.

Oops, sorry, the government should do all the healthcare! Dang, this socialist utopia business is complicated!

Tam said...


That oughtta work.

"I just feel like this bridge is strong enough, in my heart."


This is me, rolling my eyes.

Retardo said...

Good paying jobs for unqualified workers? Yeah, in the Executive Branch.

Why am I not laughing?

Reed said...

My head hurts now... I think I lost 10 IQ points just trying to understand the dumb/crazy in that statement.

Anonymous said...

Being a huge proponent of voting with my wallet and how I spend my money, here is what my family is doing. Its called silent insurection. We have cleared our non housing debt, cxl'd any extranious expenses i.e. cable, cell etc, and cut our income to fall two tax brackets lower w/o suffering any adverse side effects. We just refuse to fund the leviathan anymore. I mean why have a cell phone when a decent pair of radios will xmt all over our small town. Grow and can some food, only eat and shop at family owned establishments, and become involved in local affairs.

perlhaqr said...

To me, it seems, there are two basic categories of economics people fall into. Those who believe all economic activity is a zero sum game, and those who don't.

docjim505 said...

Look at it this way: "persimmon's" comment is a de facto admission that Republicans all work for a living (and at good-paying jobs, too), unlike democrats (spit) who are all unemployed crackheads.

cma_454 said...

I really must object to your assertion that, "... democrats... are all unemployed crackheads."
I know for a fact that not all are, in fact, unemployed. ;)

M. Derosier said...

These people are the reason why "Going Galt" needs to be taken a step further. It's not enough to just work less, they (and we) need to disappear so that the parasites can see just how much they need the productive and selfish. They will not stop trying to take from our pockets until they have no way to.

I've had an idea about buying land in Montana...

Anonymous said...

About half the land for sale in Montana is from Ted Turner. He stills owes 9 billion on his UN pledge.

I'm sure he'll appreciate your purchase.

See how complicated this gets?

Anonymous said...

I like per's reply: "Oh, someone else will pick up the slack."


Shootin' Buddy, soon to be with 33% more free time!

og said...

Best part, is they're putting the horse's own shit in his feedbag.

Nice smackdown over there, Tam.

Dan said...

Wow, the disconnect amazes... no, no it doesn't, not anymore.

We used to joke in engineer school when asked why we chose to be engineers... we said we thought they said free beer or that train driving was a life's ambition. Yeah, lame but those who excelled at the less "practical" pursuits thought it was hilarious.

I wish them (and us) all the very best. ;)

wv: conagym ??? no, you will not even con me into a gym...

Strange reaction to the post it button... sent me back to wv... if this be double, please delete one. If not double, must have platypus-fingered it.

new wv: rougherm... rougherm than the the rest of erm?

Bruce B. said...


There's a timeout on the word verification. If you read all the comments and then plugged in the wv it would have timed out already.
Try refreshing when you're ready to comment and it won't ask for the wv twice.

dang, it did it to me too, guess I wasn't fast enough :)

staghounds said...

I have to speak up for Persimmon.

No, Darleen won't take up neurosurgery. But the $200,000 neurosurgeon will expand his practice.

In the professions, there is a loooong line of people waiting to take up the slack of anyone who dies, quits, or just slows down.

Not necessarily even less skillful engineers, doctors, and lawyers either. As one gets nearer the top earning rank of any profession, the skill difference recedes in importance to explain the very greatest success. Other factors, including just plain random chance, become more important. The $300,000 professional and the $200,000 professional probably are separated by other things than ability, or even actual performance.

Same principle on which everyone in Nashville knows singers who are just as good as Keith Urban, yet can't make a living.

I know that in the criminal bar in my town, the ordinary prosecutors and public defenders are more competent than the run of private lawyers, who generally earn about three times the pay. (I see regularly about 50 lawyers in action well enough to make a judgement.)

And I CERTAINLY can name four or five young lawyers whom I'd hire before I went to the most expensive- and definitely not "the best", at any aspect of the profession- criminal lawyer in this town.

And hey- aren't a few of the people scoffing at Persimmon the same ones who say that the war on some drugs is futile, because as long as there is a demand for something, someone will be willing to meet it, even at the risk of prison?

Studying and working really hard is way better than prison.

Going Galt is a personal solution, sure. But it's not going to be noticed.

And, really, going Galt is what the anti liberty people want. They DESIRE an income maximum, remember? Much better if the greedy capitalist pig architects accept it voluntarily.

Our masters remember the cat and the pepper...

Tam said...

"No, Darleen won't take up neurosurgery. But the $200,000 neurosurgeon will expand his practice."

As Moriarty pointed out out at the other place there's already a shortage of specialists (it's not like there's really all that many $200k cardiothoracic- or neurosurgeons,) and the ten+ year pipeline is far from full. This latest insult is only going to exacerbate a pre-existing situation.

staghounds said...

May well be true of surgeons. What's really going to sour that profession is getting their "how to doctor" instructions from DC.

I know with lawyers, the ones I talk to in private practice are complaining that they have too much to do.

And as we all know, if you're too busy to do your work, you ought to be charging more.

princewally said...

It sure is trendy to hate the productive and those who create wealth and jobs.

Anonymous said...

This is all very true. On behalf of Darleen at Piggly-Wiggly, I do have to ask you to remember:

Who was the Fishwife?

Objectivism, and the Gulch parable in particular, may not be as elitist as you imagine it to be. I have to go cook now; someone just ordered up another Hugh-Burger.

persimmon said...

I won't be picking up any neurosurgeon slack, nor will Darleen at the Piggly Wiggly. That slack will be picked up by neurosurgeons who:

earn less than $250k

consider the additional tax burden their fair contribution to our country and the challenges it faces

remain motivated by the smaller dollars over the $250k threshold

derive enough satisfaction from their work that monetary rewards are not an overriding concern

prefer less spiteful responses to changes in the tax landscape, such as increased charitable giving or pursuit of tax credits

Anonymous said...

persimmon, I have looked up the "Under-$250K Neurosurgeon" list, and post it here:

You're welcome.

Tam said...


Congratulations on your refusal to let your complete ignorance on the topic deter you from making your opinions known.

persimmon said...

Did you cut-n-paste that reply from your list of generic put downs to use when you can not froth up a real response?

The idea of using neurosurgeons as an example in this thought experiment came from...wait for it...Tam. If it's an inappropriate example, I guess we know whose ignorance was exposed.

staghounds said...

Persimmon left out

"Incompetent neurosurgeons working above their abilities and getting away with it."

Ultimately he's still right. The maximum tax tates now are MUCH less than they were even recently. The economic boom of the 1950s took place with marginal rates in the 90s. The things that make people powerhouse earners, like the things that make people olympic athletes, are mainly internal anyway. The money and medals may be counters, but there are other motivations too.

Higher taxes are poisonous punishments for productivity, AND a contribution to our country and the challenges it faces.

The lines will be drawn somewhere- we just have to argue about where.

I suppose that if we, as a society, want to get only neurosurgeons that are worth $250,000 a year, then we'll get them. Enjoy your DMV health care.

My larger problem is with the barriers we place at the bottom end.

That's how we got housing projects filled with fatherless illiterates. Doesn't just work at the bottom end.

(I wonder if that's net or gross on those $400,000 Neuros. What with student loans, office staff, malpractice insurance, and so forth.)

Anonymous said...

pers, I am marginally acquainted with a sub-$250K architect, just to pick a profession that ought to inflame Randites. Trust me, you don't want to go there either.

You'll have to stay healthy (I know, that's part of your theology anyway), and stay out of buildings. And off trains. And not walk under bridges. But possibly, five junior spacecraft designers @ $50K/yr might do just fine in place of one senior engineer at the cutoff. You're going, right?

Michael said...

That slack will be picked up by neurosurgeons who:

earn less than $250k

consider the additional tax burden their fair contribution to our country and the challenges it faces

Wow - that's funny! Yeah, I want to pay the additional tax burden because the thousands and thousands I pay in taxes for illegal aliens, deadbeats, ACORN, the NEA, et cetera is not enough! By god I need to pay my fair share!

Larry said...

Its true that the marginal tax rates used to be a lot higher, but it's also true that there used to be a whole lot more deductions and loopholes. Also, rich people always have the "beach in tahiti" option that most of the rest of us don't have.
Bottom line, if you confiscated all the wealth in the world and distributed it evenly throughout the populace, and then just sat back and watched it happen, within a couple of years the rich would once again be rich and the poor would once again be poor. The reason is that rich people know how to get that way, and poor people don't know enough how not to.

Anonymous said...

Larry, "This is known as bad luck"

perlhaqr said...

anonymous 11:46

If you *actually* believe that, then you're saying that you truly think a neurosurgeon's time isn't worth any more than a burger flipper at Mc'D's.

I find it hard to believe anyone could truly be so stupid.

ace said...

my wife and I are "self inflicting" a cut in pay. She works as a contract petroleum engineer. Currently pays both sides of SS at 15.4%, 36% federal, and 6% state. I have a decent business that I put in roughly 50 80+ hour weeks in. We did the math and if she works part time and I put in less effort (drop clients and possibly one employee) we will be at the magic 250k. I will spend more time with my son and not pay the additional 60k to the overlords. Sounds like a winner to me until we get a government that respects the fact that we work hard for the money they take at the end of a gun.