I expect a lot of abuse for this, so don’t feel that you have to hold back. Here is my Dom post article (that was supposed to be) from the prior weekend. It kicks off as follows:
The statement that we are worse off than we were is false, and society’s willingness to believe it is a clear example of the unwarranted victim mentality taken on by the middle classes in New Zealand. In truth, the middle class is better off than it ever has been – due to a mix of economic growth, and by extracting resources from the rich and poor of New Zealand.
Personally, I 100% agree with myself – which doesn’t often happen.
In fact, take this song by Janis Jopin:
Replace lord with government, and you have the attitude of a surprising number of people in New Zealand at present 😉
Eric Crampton explained this phenomenon well in a couple of tweets:
First cut: narratives around deserving and undeserving poor resonate strongly with our moral intuitions.
Left has mushed those two groups together. WFF is classic transfer to “deserving”, hard-left says “unfair”.
Personally I find the distinction between deserving and undeserving poor to be both a poor black and white analogy, and a morally abhorrent way of viewing things.
How can anyone judge who is worthy of a better or worse living standard? What sort of delusion do we live in if we think we can justify poverty for some, as we demand hand-outs for others who are significantly better off. I find the entire viewpoint distasteful.
I would also note that this point of view doesn’t imply that I don’t believe there is a case for some redistribution to the middle classes – as I mention in the article. Instead, I point out that we have had significant redistribution, the middle classes in NZ have done pretty damned well. Increasing effective taxes on investment to redistribute to the middle classes at this point seems excessive in its costs – and in many cases (eg in terms of transportation and housing) this may merely be leading to higher prices instead of actually improving anyone’s living standards 🙁
Furthermore, the simultaneous demands for further income boosts to the middle classes and income cuts (and harsher criterion) on the poor is a massive step too far – we are going past describing anything that resembles fairness towards inappropriate punitive punishment of solo-mums and people suffering from addictions.