NPR this morning: MY Complaint about Analogy
Comments on this Morning Edition: Money Matters
I sent this as an e-mail to NPR this afternoon:
This AM a spokesperson from the American Enterprise Institute said that Americans were not concerned with wealth inequity; they wanted “opportunity equity” . He said the economy was like an apartment house where the “well-off lived on the top floors and the poor lived in the basement, and it’s flooding. and the problem is: the elevator doesn’t work.”
This analogy was not questioned by the interviewer ( Jeremy?) at all. But right away, I thought, in my building, if I lived on the top floors and the elevator doesn’t work, I’d be the most annoyed and since I’m so wealthy I’d contribute to fixing the elevator. And if I lived in that building and I had a lot of money, I’d be upset about the mold growing in the basement and the erosion of the substructure because of the flooding. I’d contribute some of my assets to drain it and shore it up it.
The more I thought about the speaker’s analogy the less it made any sense.Yet the interviewer said nothing and accepted the image as a valid one, related to the economic situation. The speaker went on about the amazing ability of Americans, if given the opportunity, (Get on that Elevator!) to rise above their economic class (he didn’t use that word of course). However, study after study has shown that in the past decade such movement upwards in the class structure hardly happens at all. It used to be more true, when we had a fairer tax code and there was actually a growing middle class. But not now. How can a program that has economic savvy as its primary basis for existing tolerate such drivel and not call someone on it? I’m a lay person but I caught the fallacies while he was talking.
I am very disappointed in NPR’ host’s judgement.
140 Old Saw Mill Road
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