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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zombie » From Each According to His Ability: “Progressive Pricing” Coming Soon to a Nation Near You

Zombie » From Each According to His Ability: “Progressive Pricing” Coming Soon to a Nation Near You

This bodes ill... Equality under the law is a bedrock principle of our society.

Last week the Swiss newspaper Blick broke the story of a guy who was caught driving above the speed limit through the town of Mörschwil and given a speeding ticket for $290,000. No, that’s not a typo — two hundred and ninety thousand dollars.

What could possibly justify such a large fine? One simple reason: The guy was rich. And under a new scheme of “progressive pricing” that’s becoming more and more common across Europe, rich people must pay higher fees for things because they can afford it — and because, well, they’re rich, and therefore deserve extra punishment.

...Underlying this whole drive toward “fairness” is what I consider a rather twisted worldview. The whole reason why anyone bothers to become rich in the first place is so that minor expenses don’t remain burdensome. If you’re broke and shivering and unable to pay your heating bill, your immediate response is usually, “I need to get a job!” But what if, having gotten that job and made more money, your heating bill is raised proportionally, to account for the fact that you can now “afford” to pay more. If this happens with every expense — and it already does happen to a certain degree with taxes — then what’s the point of making more money in the first place? You’ll always be at the same level of brokeness, since however much you earn, your expenditures will rise and fall in conjunction with your earnings. This, of course, is the recipe for individual inaction, which, multiplied a millionfold, becomes societywide inaction, which leads to the kind of cadaverous economies seen in communist countries.


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