John Stossel: Popular economic beliefs often nonsense
Those are samples of popular nonsense peddled today.
Leftist economist Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has been No. 1 on best-seller lists for weeks (with 400 pages of statistics, I assume “Capital” is bought more often than it is read). Piketty argues that investments grow faster than wages and so the rich get richer far faster than everyone else. He says we should impose a wealth tax and 80 percent taxes on rich people’s incomes.
But focusing on this disparity ignores the fact that over time, the rich and poor are not the same people. Oprah Winfrey once was on welfare. Walmart founder Sam Walton was a farmhand. When markets are free, poor people can move out of their income group. In America, income mobility, which matters more than income inequality, has not really diminished.
I’ve had hundreds of employees whom I paid nothing: student interns. Unpaid internships were allowed for years, because it was understood that interns learn by working. My interns learned a lot. Many went on to successful careers in journalism. One won a Pulitzer Prize. Many said they learned more working for me than at college (despite $50,000 tuition). They benefited and I benefited. Win-win.
Geez, who wants that? Of course I got an advantage from my interns. That’s why I employed them!
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