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“You mean Paul Krugman isn’t our greatest living philosopher,” declared Dan Henninger in the Wall Street Journal after reading Mamet’s piece. There’s another bull’s eye.
Krugman is practically having a nervous breakdown in public these days obsessing that “income inequality in America today is the greatest that it’s been since the 1920s.” He gets all this from two French economists, Thomas Picketty and Emmanuel Saez, who — apparently without even setting foot in this country — have decided that America now resembles the days leading up to the French Revolution.
Picketty and Saez took data from personal tax filings and came up with the astounding figure that the bottom 80 percent of Americans are now living on only $25,000 a year. (To see what’s wrong with that, think of what happens when your own teenager files a tax return for his or her summer job.) Meanwhile, according to Picketty, Saez and Krugman, the bad guys — the “superrich” — have scarfed up all the nation’s economic gains since 1980.
How could a pair of intelligent economists spend even two weeks in this country and believe that was true? (Saez is still in Paris while Picketty has landed in Berkeley, which perhaps explains everything.)
One of the biggest controversies going on all over the country right now is the practice of knocking down older suburban houses from before 1970 and putting up “mini-mansions” in their place. You drive past these structures and say to yourself, “Can that possibly be a single-family home?” They’re the size of resort hotels.
WHO IS PUTTING up all these houses? Is it the top .01 percent — the “superrich” that so fever Krugman’s imagination?
Or is it just possible that prosperity in this country is far more widely distributed than Picketty and Saez have been able to discern from picking over tax filings? (To see where the two French economists went wrong, read any of Alan Reynolds’ many writings, including this study, or his book, Income and Wealth.)
There is inequality in this country. The main inequality is between people who have a college education and those who do not, people who have stable families and those who do not, people who go to work and earn a living and those who do not.
But of course none of this impresses Krugman. For him the problem is the whole system. “Americans, understandably, have lost confidence in the prospects for a return to real prosperity. They have also, I’d suggest, lost confidence in the integrity of our economic institutions…..[T]he subprime crisis…has resurrected the sense that something is rotten in the state of our economy.”
To liberals there are never any manageable problems. Instead it is always a new dawn. We have just spent a whole century discovering that when “people lose confidence in the integrity of economic institutions,” what they put in its place is likely to be something far worse.
I’m not surprised that my 22-year-old son hasn’t yet learned this lesson. I’m astonished that it is still a mystery to the likes of Krugman as well.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?