Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Conspiracy to Keep Us Confused about Income Inequality

Paul Krugman is stirring up a ruckus with a piece in Rolling Stone entitled "How the Super-rich are Screwing America". That article is not on-line, but perhaps the substance of the argument might be summed up well enough in a 2003 article in the Nation. When Krugman really wants to push a point, he'll keep writing the same piece to the point of exhaustion.

I don't really have a problem per se with the rich getting richer. What worries me is that they might use their added wealth to buy the democracy they think they deserve. They may well feel they deserve it -- after all, the well-off pay most of the taxes. Paul Krugman thinks this is already happening -- that it has been happening for over a generation. And that people need to be woken up about it. Krugman's arch-nemesis (and transgalactic-scale idiot) Donald Luskin of NRO, loves the tag-line, "The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid", but Krugman seems out to co-opt that thesis for progressive politics.

Paul Krugman has some intelligent critics on this point. Brad Delong wonders whether the wealth and income disparities that have emerged in America are perhaps far too large to be explained by anything the government has done or could do. Note, however, that he doesn't question that the changes are large. More to the point, he definitely does not accuse Krugman of lying, as Fox News' Cavuto did last week.


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