We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Imagine that someone invented a pill even better than the one I take. Letís call it the Dorian Gray pill, after the Oscar Wilde character. Every day that you take the Dorian Gray, you will not die, get sick, or even age. Absolutely guaranteed. The catch? A yearís supply costs $150,000.
Anyone who is able to afford this new treatment can live forever. Certainly, Bill Gates can afford it. Most likely, thousands of upper-income Americans would gladly shell out $150,000 a year for immortality.
Mr. Mankiw is correct that a society with haves and have-nots is inevitable in a free society and not always attractive. It's a source of envy and jealousy when some people have cool cars, some people have lame cars and some people are walking or using the bus. It is a lot harder to smooth over when some people can walk with their titanium knee implants and others hobble because they don't get the implants. It is probably inevitable, unless people club together (insurance, mutual aid groups) or donate out of charity (the Shriners).
A society that attempts to level outcomes and economic status may succeed only too well, because all historical examples show that the leveling lowers almost everyone's standard of living. It doesn't usually elevate the poor, it just drops the middle-class and upper-middle-class. The really wealthy tend to still be really wealthy.
"Medical care will never be equal." Just as talent and ingenuity will never be equal, and there is no way other than forced behaviors to make them so. The weenies of the left are always yammering about leveling the playing field before they are willing to play. But the beauty of the free enterprise/free market system is that so long as we are free to innovate and rise above the herd, the innovators among us will always lead the pack, will always create wealth rather than just spend it. "Leveling the playing field" destroys innovation and creativity, dumbs down education and forces the best and brightest of us to conform to the weakest and laziest of us.
P. S. And I think having money is nice, too. Wish I had more of it. I'm sure glad that the country allows millionaires to make money and keep it. I don't think the government should tax it all away in the name of "fairness."
What was it that Reagan quoted? "A rising tide raises all boats ..." It does too. .. at least it did when we still had our sailboat.
Cilla Mitchell ... You must still be young, my friend. I asked such questions when I was young. Now I'm 81 and creaky, and, like Meta, I would love to live quite a bit longer because I too am curious. I want to see how our country gets itself out of its current situation and into, I hope, a better place. Like Meta, I want to witness the marvels of discovery and science and how they will affect the human condition.
My husband's mother lived to be 98. In her last year of life, my husband asked her, if she had a choice, how much longer would she want to live. She answered, "At least ten years."
Sounds about right to me. But I may change my mind later.