Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beware of Populism

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beware of Populism

Article excerpt

Many of our presidential candidates are strong for populism. That's a bad idea for a wealthy country.

And we are quite wealthy. For example, our 10th percentile have higher incomes than the 90th percentile in Italy. Twenty-eight percent of the world's people live on less than $1,100 per year: We - with indoor plumbing and fresh food in winter - live better than Louis XIV.

U.S. incomes are so high because - although we are only 4.4 percent of the world's people - we produce 22 percent of the world's output.

We are so productive because we work more hours, have greater economic freedom and have more and better tools (i.e., capital). But those tools are expensive.

The average American worker uses $334,000 worth of capital. If we had to supply our own, we'd be unemployed. …

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