Corruption & the Rich

QUESTION:

Dear Martin,

With all due respect I think you are not being fair on the question of earning or not a lot of money. First of all there LOTS of people that earn a lot of money with corruption or just because they were lucky or through family links have managed to get in privileged positions.

Secondly, I have a PhD in maths and decided to dedicate my life to both teaching and doing research in academia and 20 years on I am earning less and got nowhere in the academia career from the point where I started: the bottom.

And speaking of truck drivers, they earn more than young physicians and in neighbouring Spain they earn a lot more than I do.

Greetings from Portugal (the miracle of Europe, so they say in Brussels!)

MM

ANSWER: I fully appreciate your perspective. Where you are perhaps too focused is on lumping all people with any wealth into a narrow category. That is like saying everyone who does not have wealth is on welfare. The categories of wealth you have mentioned are corruption and links to family. This typically involves politics. There are people who inherit money from their parents or have inherited a business. Typically, they say the first generation makes it, the second generation diminishes it, and third generation wipes it out.

This is why I believe we need to end career politicians and implement one-term limits to help reduce corruption. But additionally, there should be no income tax and that will go a great way to end bribing politicians for special treatment. At worst, there should be a flat tax which would also tend to end that. The rest of the corruption is centered on lobbying for regulation exceptions.

What you are experiencing is in truth taking place to all wage earners. The rise in taxation has been dramatic postwar and that has reduced the standard of living. On top of that, there is systemic inflation. Whatever they took from you for a pension 20 years ago is by no means the same today. This is how life insurance companies make their money. They sell you a policy today that is one million euros. But in 20 years, one million euros will buy a fraction of what it does today. I bought a Porsche in 1970 for $10,000. You cannot even buy a used one for that today. The purchasing power of the money routinely declines. People from Venezuela are being paid their pensions. They cannot even buy a cup of coffee today. This is the systemic corruption propagated by government overtime even if they never intended it to work out that way.