You can just pay more taxes/wages/etc!


I had a nightmare last night where someone argued that the safety of a train shouldn’t be improved, because you can just drive a car instead. Yes, even my dreams have weird interests. Yet that line of thinking is very much real.

When wealthy people advocate for higher tax rates, they’re told they can just pay extra. When a restaurant owner advocates for higher minimum wages, they’re told they can just pay their staff more. When someone falls off a cliff, they’re told they can just avoid being pushed off next time.

They’re absolutely true, and absolutely miss the point. Absolutely! The opportunity to lift all boats isn’t challenged by just lifting one. It’s basic arithmetic, though it eludes armchair economists.

I’m also starting to become wary of the word “just”. It’s a sign that someone’s about to belittle or downplay an issue. That’s not very just.

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