An open letter to Paul Graham
Rick Webb

I read Paul’s essay and I thought it was very thoughtful. First it talked about the fact that focusing on reducing income inequality is probably the wrong number to optimize for. I was born in USSR and by making everyone equal the system made everyone poor. Thankfully my parents moved to US which turned out to be better for poor people in spite of all of the communist propaganda that showed capitalist fat cats oppressing working class. For the longest time we were very poor here in US, so I am quite familiar with what it means to be poor here (food banks, section 8 housing and public assistance). The biggest takeaway from the essay is that instead of making income more equal we should focus more on making sure that we have more accessible and affordable basics for everyone. The means of getting those basic goods and services could be many, taxation and redistribution of income is one, but we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just that. The fact that someone is a billionaire (I am not) is totally cool with me, if they make their billions providing more affordable healthcare or new and innovative education systems — even better. Focusing on inequality mathematically doesn’t seem to achieve the goal that everyone is really after.