November 2, 2012

MEGAN MCARDLE: Treat The Symptom, Not The Measurement.

Do the wealthy get to live in nicer houses and drive nicer cars than the poor? Yes, but I’m not sure how much this matters. I find the absolute quality of the housing stock and cars available to the poor much more important than the relative fanciness. Are their abodes warm and dry and safe? Are their cars reliable? As PJ O’Rourke once remarked, “The biblical injunction is to clothe the poor, not style them.” You can argue that the poor do not have enough–enough safe homes, education, health care, reliable automobiles, etc. But they wouldn’t have enough even if Bill Gates lost half his money.

Are the jobs available to the poor decent jobs, capable of supporting a family, and a decent family life? That’s the million dollar question. And there is no number that will tell us the answer.

Read the whole thing. And bear in mind Reynolds’ Law.