It’s floor not gap or ceiling that matters

07/12/2011

The news that the gap between the rich and poor in New Zealand has widened again has led to inevitable calls for  action.

That action usually means taking more from the wealthy.

Dragging the top down would certainly narrow the gap but it wouldn’t necessarily help the poor.

The problem isn’t the ceiling or the gap between it and the floor, it’s the health and wellbeing of people on the floor.

A compassionate society has a role in looking after the vulnerable. That includes providing or assisting with necessities such as shelter, food, education and healthcare.

It means helping people get to a position where they can help themselves.

The question a compassionate society should be asking is not, how much do the poor have in relation to the rich, but do the poor have enough?

Enough, if someone else is paying, is sufficient for necessities , not luxuries.

The best assistance for the poor is a growing economy which provides more, better paid jobs, not higher taxes and more redistribution.

 


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