A Well-Put Letter to the Editor

College Republican, Katie Pavlich wrote a smart letter to the editor in today’s issue of the Daily Wildcat:

Preventing rich from getting rich will remove incentive to succeed

In response to Friday’s column “Rich no more ‘deserving’ of wealth than the rest of us,” I am going to present Taylor Kessinger along with the UA population of students with a simple scenario they can understand, rather than countering every point Kessinger made about the rich not being deserving of what they earn.

If Kessinger truly believes that the rich are no more deserving of the wealth they earn than the rest of us, I think he should support the statement that students with 4.0 GPAs are no more deserving than those with a lower GPAs. So why not spread the GPAs around? Those in the 3.5-4.0 range will be deducted one point, students in the 3.0-3.4 range will be deducted half a point, and those below a 3.0 will not be deducted points at all and will actually be given half a point. This way everyone can be equal and feel good about themselves; after all, those who worked hard to get those 4.0s aren’t really deserving of them right? I’m sure this will really motivate all students to do well in school. It’s only fair! Right?

This is the same situation with the “rich.” If you punish people for their success, whether it is how much money they make or what GPA they earn, it does not stimulate production. Why would someone study hard to get an “A” in all their classes when they will end up with a lower grade regardless of how much work they put in?

The students who are fine with getting “C”s will not work any harder to attain “A”s because they are automatically given half a point from the hard work of 3.5-4.0 students. Eventually, all students will end up at the same C level, no one will work hard, and no one will succeed in getting a decent GPA.

Katie Pavlich, journalism junior

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8 thoughts on “A Well-Put Letter to the Editor

  1. People who do great things and market those things to create wealth for themselves, I’m all in favor of. Scheming hedge fund managers that, as Jon Stewart masterfully put it “burned the house down and walked out, rich as hell,” not so much. And that was the point of Kessinger’s article.

    *looks at Thursday’s Wildcat*

    Actually, I think I’ll go ahead and just point out Rob Dawson’s letter to the editor rather than waste my breath trying to explain why I think the letter wasn’t at all “well-put” and her analogy is crap.

  2. If GPA’s have no relationship to merit, and professors just handed out grades randomly, her argument might actually be convincing. As it stands, the relationship between wealth and innovation/entrepreneurship is tenuous at best, and the richest have usually done nothing to deserve it besides being born to the right parents.

  3. “the richest have usually done nothing to deserve it besides being born to the right parents.”

    I resent that statement. I’ll agree that spoiled heiresses like Paris Hilton prove your claim, but many rich people have created their own wealth. An example of this is singer Jay-Z who was raised ina housing project, and last night, he earned over $700,000 for performing at my university. He’s very well-off, and it wasn’t because he was born into wealth. Nor was Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. It’s unfair to assume that the richest only have money because of their families.

  4. Joseph is full of crap and severely underestimates the link between wealth and entrepreneurship. Sounds to me like yet another person jealous of people with wealth. Behind every successful person is a group of haters.

    That being said, and while I think incentives help innovation, I still disagree with the fundamental belief that it has to be that way, and that great businesses would not be founded otherwise. Almost every successful entrepreneur who has spoken publicly on the subject has said that while yes, they ended up rich, they had not set out for that goal, but rather wealth was the side effect. The general consensus amongst businesspeople is, in fact, that if you set out to create a business solely for financial gain, you probably won’t succeed anywhere close to the level you would have if you created your business based on being passionate about what you were doing.

    Virgin America, for instance, has all its profits go to renewable fuel research.

    The world would be a better place if we stopped pulling the “entrepreneurs wouldn’t exist without financial incentives” card and instead spent time trying to teach the next generation of entrepreneurs that being passionate feels way better than being rich.

    1. “being passionate feels way better than being rich.”

      Exactly. The wealthy tend to be passionate about something. Doctors may be passionate about helping people. Lawyers may be passionate about justice. One of my close friends wants to go into business because he’s passionate about…being rich. It’s still a valid passion, and that kind of drive leads to success.

  5. Hmm yase, if we raise marginal taxes on high earners to 90%, no one will work hard or try to be rich and the economy will stagnate. Just like the 1950s.

    1. Haha. Some people will always want to make more money, even if they’re taxed the highest. I disagree with your claim that the wealthy are undeserving their money. They can stand to pay for taxes, but they also work hard for their paychecks and often sacrifice certain aspects of their personal lives.

  6. Few Things:

    I’m way late on this discussioon.

    GPA analogy is bogus and reduces an insanely complex set of circumstances regarding wealth into a lame straw man. Yes, 70 kids, each given equal footing in a class is similar to American socioeconomics.

    Citing a few entrepreneurs is a cop out. Transfer of wealth usually remains due to opportunities created through social and institutional networks (this is basic sociology shit). Maybe someone in the bloodline learned how to rape a nation through laying railroads or logging, but once entrenched in wealth, it’s rather difficult to fall from it.

    I felt like saying “rape a nation,” rather than talking about entrepreneurs who do good, which there are plenty of in the world.

    Every passion is valid, some are more noble than others.

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