J.W. McCormack writes: The planet has been knocked off its elliptical orbit and overheats as it hurtles toward the sun; the night ceases to exist, oil paintings melt, the sidewalks in New York are hot enough to fry an egg on, and the weather forecast is “more of the same, only hotter.” Despite the unbearable day-to-reality of constant sweat, the total collapse of order and decency, and, above all, the scarcity of water, Norma can’t shake the feeling that one day she’ll wake up and find that this has all been a dream. And she’s right. Because the world isn’t drifting toward the sun at all, it’s drifting away from it, and the paralytic cold has put Norma into a fever dream.
[Watch how many times J.W. McCormack packs this discussion of Twilight Zone history with unrelated partisan political whining, pro-FDR, anti-GOP revisionist history, and Paul Krugmanesque drooling, navel gazing, and various unrelated anti-Trump nonsense. Is this really about the Twilight Zone? Or just another Op-Ed column?]
This is “The Midnight Sun,” my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone, and one that has come to seem grimly familiar. I also wake up adrift, in a desperate and unfamiliar reality, wondering if the last year in America has been a dream—I too expect catastrophe, but it’s impossible to know from which direction it will come, whether I am right to trust my senses or if I’m merely sleepwalking while the actual danger becomes ever-more present. One thing I do know is that I’m not alone: since the election of Donald Trump, it’s become commonplace to compare the new normal to living in the Twilight Zone, as Paul Krugman did in a 2017 New York Times op-ed titled “Living in the Trump Zone,” in which he compared the President to the all-powerful child who terrorizes his Ohio hometown in “It’s a Good Life,” policing their thoughts and arbitrarily striking out at the adults. But these comparisons do The Twilight Zone a disservice. The show’s articulate underlying philosophy was never that life is topsy-turvy, things are horribly wrong, and misrule will carry the day—it is instead a belief in a cosmic order, of social justice and a benevolent irony that, in the end, will wake you from your slumber and deliver you unto the truth.
The Twilight Zone has dwelt in the public imagination, since its cancellation in 1964, as a synecdoche for the kind of neat-twist ending exemplified by “To Serve Man” (it’s a cookbook), “The After Hours” (surprise, you’re a mannequin), and “The Eye of the Beholder” (everyone has a pig-face but you). It’s probably impossible to feel the original impact of each show-stopping revelation, as the twist ending has long since been institutionalized, clichéd, and abused in everything from the 1995 film The Usual Suspects to Twilight Zone-style anthology series like Black Mirror.Rewatching these episodes with the benefit of Steven Jay Rubin’s new 429-page book, The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia, (a bathroom book if ever I saw one), the punchlines are actually the least of the show’s enduring hold over the imagination; rather its creator Rod Serling’s rejoinders to the prevalent anti-Communist panic that gripped the decade: stories of witch-hunting paranoia tend to end badly for everyone, as in “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” in which the population of a town turns on each other in a panic to ferret out the alien among them, or in “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” which relocates the premise to a diner in which the passengers of a bus are temporarily stranded and subject to interrogation by a pair of state troopers.
The show’s most prevalent themes are probably best distilled as “you are not what you took yourself to be,” “you are not where you thought you were,” and “beneath the façade of mundane American society lurks a cavalcade of monsters, clones, and robots.” Serling had served as a paratrooper in the Philippines in 1945 and returned with PTSD; he and his eventual audience were indeed caught between the familiar past and an unknown future.
They stood dazed in a no-longer-recognizable world, flooded with strange new technologies, vastly expansionist corporate or federal jurisdictions, and once-unfathomable ideologies. The culture was shifting from New Deal egalitarianism to the exclusionary persecution and vigilantism of McCarthyism, the “southern strategy” of Goldwater and Nixon, and the Cold War-era emphasis on mandatory civilian conformity, reinforced across the board in schools and the media. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Frequently-Wrong Meteorologist Arrested While Doing Weather Forecast, Columnist Paul Krugman Fears He’s NextPosted: July 25, 2015
Law enforcement is so fed up with the miserably cold, cloudy, and damp weather in Newfoundland, Canada that it has arrested two local broadcast meteorologists.
CBC News meteorologist Ryan Snoddon was the first to take the fall for the anomalous chill. You can watch his arrest – part of an apparent sting operation – below:
Next in the hopper was NTV meteorologist Eddie Sheerr, arrested while delivering the forecast on the evening news.
Both Snoddon and Sheer were charged with impersonating a meteorologist, failing to provide the essentials of summer – sunshine, good forecasts and blue skies – and trafficking of rain, drizzle, and fog.
Prior to their arrest, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary had issued a statement to the media noting Snoddon and Sheerr were persons of interest given the following state of affairs:
SUMMER was last seen in early August of 2014. When last seen, SUMMER was described as being between 20-30 degrees Celsius (68-86 degrees Fahrenheit), blue skies with a bright and warm source of light in the sky. There have been sporadic sightings of this bright object, but these sightings have been rare since May 2015.
Sheerr – who is from the U.S. – faces possible deportation, the arresting officer said.
Of course, the arrests were just a humorous stunt – the Canadian’s way of coping with conditions that are egregious even by their own standards. Read the rest of this entry »
‘The First Rule of Economic Fight Club is…’ Stephen Moore, Paul Krugman Meet for ‘Economic Fight Club’ at Freedom FestPosted: July 10, 2015
I was fortunate to catch the majority of this debate live, via Periscope, watching it live on my phone’s screen (mostly just listening to the audio) and I agree with this description: “All in all this was a very interesting discussion. Of course I was not convinced by anything Krugman had to say but I did think it was a good-faith conversation on a variety of topics.” I’ve not found the video online yet, but stay tuned, when we find it, we’ll post it. In the meantime, enjoy a sample of this account by PJ Tatler‘s Liz Sheld,
“I have to give some props to Krugman for showing up, as he had to know this was going to be a tough crowd. And this panel was one of the best I’ve seen at a conference — it was thoughtful and did not get hostile at all, while both Moore and Krugman addressed each other’s points.”
Liz Sheld writes:
One of the big spectacles at Freedom Fest was the showdown between Stephen Moore and Paul Krugman that took place this morning. Moore founded the Club for Growth and was formerly on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. The former chief economist at the Heritage Foundation was billed as the “supply-sider.” On the other side of the debate was Krugman – New York Times columnist, professor of economics at Princeton, and Nobel prize winner. He was billed as the “Keynesian.”
The topic was “What happened to the American Dream?” or “How can we best restore the American Dream?”
“I wish we had more of this and less grandstanding at our center-right conclaves.”
I have to give some props to Krugman for showing up, as he had to know this was going to be a tough crowd. And this panel was one of the best I’ve seen at a conference — it was thoughtful and did not get hostile at all, while both Moore and Krugman addressed each other’s points. I wish we had more of this and less grandstanding at our center-right conclaves.
Since this was an hour-long debate, I’ll sum up some of the most interesting exchanges between the two economists. It didn’t take long before each was urging the moderator to pull up one of their charts. Charts really add some gravitas to the discussion. As they say on the streets, sh!t got real when the charts started coming out.
Moore pointed out that everything done by the Obama administration has thwarted recovery from the economic disaster of 2007-8. But to be fair, he included Bush along with examples of Obama’s mistakes: cash for clunkers, stimulus, bailouts, and tax increases, for starters. He said that Reagan also inherited a bad economy but did the right things for a much faster turnaround. Moore said that we have 8 million fewer jobs under Obama than we would have had if Obama had taken Reagan-esque action.
Read the rest of this entry »
James Pethokoukis writes: US productivity growth, at least as measured, has been in low gear for a decade. And especially so since the Great Recession, averaging just 0.6% annually from 2010 through 2014. We’re aren’t going to consistently hit 3% GDP growth, much less 4%, like that.
Then again, productivity growth has slowed in most OECD countries over the past decade. A new OECD research note doesn’t think the problem is a lack of innovation, so much as an inability to spread innovation broadly throughout advanced economies. “A breakdown of the diffusion machine” is what the OECD calls it.
The gap between high productivity firms and low productivity firms is increasing. (Maybe also helping to explain rising inequality.) So why aren’t innovations spreading as fast as they used to? The WSJ’s analysis of the paper sums it up nicely:
One key reason appears to be that the process of “creative destruction” identified by Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter as essential to capitalism’s dynamism appears to have lost some of its ferocity. In the OECD’s words, “market selection is weak.” One reason for that is government policy, which the OECD said favors incumbents across a whole range of areas, from regulations designed to protect the environment, to taxation. As a result, older firms that suffer from low productivity growth endure, often “trapping” workers in jobs for which they are over qualified. Read the rest of this entry »
Trillions Spent, but Crises Like Greece’s Persist http://t.co/YPi6x3mG2z
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) June 30, 2015
Howard Kurtz: I’ve been trying to figure out why the mainstream media has all but decided to ignore one of ObamaCare’s chief architects saying the administration played on the public’s stupidity in passing the law.
After all, the press usually loves when hidden video surfaces, as it did this week with MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, and we get unvarnished comments showing what someone really and truly believes.
And yet there hasn’t been a mention on the network evening newscasts. CNN’s Jake Tapper, to his credit, played the clip twice, asked two senators about it and wrote an online column on the subject, but that was about it for the network. Nothing in the Washington Post but for a couple of online items.
(Update: The Washington Post finally got around to covering the controversy today, three days after it broke.) Not a word in the New York Times, which in 2012 ran a puffy profile of Gruber (“It is his research that convinced the Obama administration that health care reform could not work without requiring everyone to buy insurance”).
This is utterly inexplicable, except as a matter of bias. No matter what you think of ObamaCare, on what planet is this not news? Maybe on that comet where the spaceship just landed.
I tried to think of the possible excuses. Too busy covering other stories? Hey, nobody in America has Ebola anymore! The only real competition is a big winter storm and Eminem disgustingly dropping F-bombs at HBO’s Veterans Day concert.
Was Gruber’s point about health care taxes and mandates too complicated? Then explain it. Besides, it isn’t that this argument never came up before; it’s that Gruber fesses up to the attempt at deception. Read the rest of this entry »
Gilded Gelded Age
I offer this for two reasons. One, because I’ve never read anything by Kevin D. Williamson that I didn’t like and want everyone to read. And two, because there’s this very disturbing photo of Paul Krugman that I’ve been dying to get off my desk. Now you can have nightmares about Krugman’s face, staring scoldingly into the abyss. And I can go back to my usual nightmares about Obama cutting a nuke deal with Iran in order to speed up the coming global apocalypse. Which reminds me. Do you have Williamson’s book yet? I think everyone should read that, too. See the full text of Williamson’s article here.
For National Review Online, Kevin D. Williamson writes: The inequality police are worried that we are living in a new Gilded Age. We should be so lucky: Between 1880 and 1890, the number of employed Americans increased by more than 13 percent, and wages increased by almost 50 percent.
“…if your assumption here is that this is about redistribution, then you should want the billionaires’ incomes to go up, not down: The more money they make, the more taxes they pay, and the more money you have to give to the people you want to give money to, e.g., overpaid, lazy, porn-addicted bureaucrats…”
I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Barack Obama years will not match that record; the number of employed Americans is lower today than it was when he took office, and household income is down. Grover Cleveland is looking like a genius in comparison.
“…poor people are not poor because rich people are rich, nor vice versa. Very poor people are generally poor because they do not have jobs, and taking away Thurston Howell III’s second yacht is not going to secure work for them…”
The inequality-based critique of the American economy is a fundamentally dishonest one, for a half a dozen or so reasons at least. Claims that the (wicked, wicked) “1 percent” saw their incomes go up by such and such an amount over the past decade or two ignore the fact that different people compose the 1 percent every year, and that 75 percent of the super-rich households in 1995 were in a lower income group by 2005.
“The 3 million highest-paying jobs in America paid a lot more in 2005 than did the 3 million highest-paying jobs in 1995” is a very different and considerably less dramatic claim than “The top 1 percent of earners in 1995 saw their household incomes go up radically by 2005.” But the former claim is true and the latter is not.
Paul Krugman, who persists in Dickensian poverty, barely making ends meet between six-figure sinecures, is a particularly energetic scourge of the rich, and he is worried about conspicuous consumption: “For many of the rich, flaunting is what it’s all about. Read the rest of this entry »
‘This Video Has Been Removed By User’: Cowardly Washington State Democrat’s Controversial Campaign Ad Angers CriticsPosted: July 12, 2014
Washington Examiner‘s T. Becket Adams contributes to embarrassing a reckless Washington state congressional candidate. Does he stand by his message? Well, no. He yanked the YouTube link, as illustrated in the screen cap above. The Yakima Herald reports that Beltran pulled the ad on Saturday after Americans for Responsible Solutions, a pro-gun control group, criticized it. Here’s how Beltran‘s (now removed) ad begins:
“They say I can’t win in this district.”
Estakio Beltran might as well have added “so let me take this opportunity to prove them right.”
“But what happens to an elephant that stands around doing nothing for too long?” he asked, referring to Republican Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington’s 4th District.
The Democratic candidate pulls the trigger and blows away the elephant.
According to The Seattle Times, the backlash over the imagery of the “Republican Party Symbol” has been heaviest among conservatives, who say the Democrats “would flip out if a GOP candidate blasted away at a symbol of the [Democrat] Party.”
Understandable, yes, it’d be a Democrats-with-hair-on-fire cuckoo-bananas flip out.
“Mr. Beltran’s ad showing him shooting a stuffed elephant — the longtime symbol of the Republican Party — is irresponsible and offensive. This kind of misguided imagery and rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum just furthers the lack of balance in our nation’s debate about guns,” a statement from Americans for Responsible Solutions read…(read more)
T. Becket Adams continues,
…this is slightly different from shooting a copy of the Affordable Care Act. There’s the Imagery of the party mascot and the suggestion that “this is what happens” to incumbent Republican politicians…
…Remember: Hours after Jared Loughner on Jan. 8, 2011, opened fire on a crowd in Casas Adobes, Ariz., killing six people and injuring 13, including Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, economist Paul Krugman penned a blog post blaming former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin:
Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing. Read the rest of this entry »
Liberals are increasingly religious about their own liberalism, treating it like a comprehensive view of reality and the human good
Before we begin, a little housekeeping is in order. Acting on judgement that defies logic, Damon Linker elects to insert “Paul Krugman” as the seventh and eighth words in the following essay–and then, stranger still, leaves them there, thinking it’s a good way to open his article, having bypassed what I assume were multiple chances to change his mind in the editing process. Revealing that he thinks Krugman is relevant, for some reason. Almost killing any chance a non-New-York-Times-reading liberal reader will want to proceed any further.
Or if they do make it to the second paragraph, taking anything in the article seriously. If Linker had buried that digression in the middle of the essay, it might have been easer to charitably overlook.
Funny how that works. By trying to avoid “sounding like Paul Krugman”, Linker succeeds in planting a poisoned seed right at the beginning–and he succeeds in doing what he claimed he wanted to avoid—sounding like Paul Krugman. Is this a good thing? I think not!
On the other hand, it might work as a test of his material. It reminds me of a method comedian Louis C.K. described for making sure his material is good. If the audience is in a good mood, giving away laughter too early, too easy, he starts the show by insulting the audience, making them unhappy, right off the bat. Bam. Discomfort. Uncertainty. Then, he knows that if they laugh at his jokes after that, the material must be good. As Louis C.K. concludes, “Okay, now we can get to work”.
So, if you can make it past words seven and eight (or the multitude of times you had to read Krugman’s name in my own annoyingly-long prologue, then you’re medically inoculated!) because the title sounded promising, you’ll find it’s actually a very good article. And it was worth making it past that lapse in judgement, and my unseemly introduction. Read on!
At the risk of sounding like Paul Krugman — who returns to a handful of cherished topics over and over again in his New York Times column — I want to revisit one of my hobby horses, which I most recently raised in my discussion of Hobby Lobby.
My own cherished topic is this: Liberalism’s decline from a political philosophy of pluralism into a rigidly intolerant dogma.
The decline is especially pronounced on a range of issues wrapped up with religion and sex. For a time, electoral self-interest kept these intolerant tendencies in check, since the strongly liberal position on social issues was clearly a minority view. But the cultural shift during the Obama years that has led a majority of Americans to support gay marriage seems to have opened the floodgates to an ugly triumphalism on the left.
The result is a dogmatic form of liberalism that threatens to poison American civic life for the foreseeable future. Conservative Reihan Salam describes it, only somewhat hyperbolically, as a form of “weaponized secularism.”
The rise of dogmatic liberalism is the American left-wing expression of the broader trend that Mark Lilla identified in a recent blockbuster essay for The New Republic. The reigning dogma of our time, according to Lilla, is libertarianism — by which he means far more than the anti-tax, anti-regulation ideology that Americans identify with the post-Reagan Republican Party, and that the rest of the world calls “neoliberalism.”
At its deepest level, libertarianism is “a mentality, a mood, a presumption… a prejudice” in favor of the liberation of the autonomous individual from all constraints originating from received habits, traditions, authorities, or institutions. Libertarianism in this sense fuels the American right’s anti-government furies, but it also animates the left’s push for same-sex marriage — and has prepared the way for its stunningly rapid acceptance — in countries throughout the West. Read the rest of this entry »
“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas Piketty
Yes, it came out just three months ago. But the contest isn’t even close. Mr. Piketty’s book is almost 700 pages long, and the last of the top five popular highlights appears on page 26. Stephen Hawking is off the hook; from now on, this measure should be known as the Piketty Index.
So take it easy on yourself, readers, if you don’t finish whatever edifying tome you picked out for vacation. You’re far from alone…
For many, suffering under Obamacare is all too real.
For The Federalist David Hogberg writes: “There are plenty of [Obamacare] horror stories being told. All of them are untrue,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not long ago on the floor of the Senate.
Four years after the president signed the measure into law, there are, of course, many real stories of hardship under Obamacare. An extensive list of which is included at the end of this article. But when Reid made those remarks, he wasn’t repeating words carelessly dashed off by some 20-something staffer. Rather, he was repeating a meme that has become common among those who economist Thomas Sowell dubs “the Anointed,” intellectuals whose belief in their own superior knowledge and virtue leads to their misperception that they are an anointed elite more qualified to make decisions for the rest of us in order to lead humanity to a better life.
To grasp the magnitude of this realignment, imagine if the New York Times declined to renew veteran left-wing crackpot Paul Krugman‘s contract, and replaced him with Instapudit‘s Glenn Reynolds. Or if HBO fired Bill Maher, and offered a prime-time talk show to Greg Gutfeld. Yes, it’s like that.
Could this be a sign of intelligent life in media? What if Maureen Dowd was booted out of her nest at the NYT, replaced by Mona Charen? Imagine if ABC’s Good Morning America dumped its on-air talent and hired Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson, and Michelle Malkin. Or if editorial control of The Huffington Post was turned over to me, Nick Gillespie, and Jonah Goldberg…
Okay that part is wishful thinking. But you get the idea. It’s a big deal.
John Nolte reports: Very interesting day at The Washington Post. Left-wing Ezra Klein is out and the much-respected conservative legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, is in. Already the Jeff Bezos era is becoming an interesting one. Numerous reports claim that Bezos wasn’t interested in a multi-million dollar proposal Klein pitched, but he was apparently interested in giving Volokh full editorial control:
We will also retain full editorial control over what we write. And this full editorial control will be made easy by the facts that we have (1) day jobs, (2) continued ownership of our trademark and the volokh.com domain, and (3) plenty of happy experience blogging on our own, should the need arise to return to that…
After all, they approached us because of who we are and what we write. They know our ideologies. They know our blogging style. They know that we sometimes put up quirky non-law posts. They tell us they’re fine with all of that.
Both moves are a huge boost for the Post for a few reasons.
As much as Ezra Klein was worshipped by others in the elite media, he badly damaged the Post’s credibility as an objective news outlet. It was unconscionable of the Post to frame Klein’s hysterical leftism and Obama water-carrying as objective analysis and reporting. Klein is a wild-eyed Statist, and a wildly dishonest one to boot.
Linda Taylor, welfare queen: Ronald Reagan made her a notorious American villain. Linda Taylor’s other sins were far worse.Posted: December 19, 2013
Josh Levin writes: Ronald Reagan loved to tell stories. When he ran for president in 1976, many of Reagan’s anecdotes converged on a single point: The welfare state is broken, and I’m the man to fix it. On the trail, the Republican candidate told a tale about a fancy public housing complex with a gym and a swimming pool. There was also someone in California, he’d explain incredulously, who supported herself with food stamps while learning the art of witchcraft. And in stump speech after stump speech, Reagan regaled his supporters with the story of an Illinois woman whose feats of deception were too amazing to be believed.
“In Chicago, they found a woman who holds the record,” the former California governor declared at a campaign rally in January 1976. “She used 80 names, 30 addresses, 15 telephone numbers to collect food stamps, Social Security, veterans’ benefits for four nonexistent deceased veteran husbands, as well as welfare. Her tax-free cash income alone has been running $150,000 a year.” As soon as he quoted that dollar amount, the crowd gasped.
Four decades later, Reagan’s soliloquies on welfare fraud are often remembered as shameless demagoguery. Many accounts report that Reagan coined the term “welfare queen,” and that this woman in Chicago was a fictional character. In 2007,the New York Times’ Paul Krugman wrote that “the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen [was] a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews says the whole thing is racist malarkey—a coded reference to black indolence and criminality designed to appeal to working-class whites.
Though Reagan was known to stretch the truth, he did not invent that woman in Chicago. Her name was Linda Taylor, and it was the Chicago Tribune, not the GOP politician, who dubbed her the “welfare queen.” It was the Tribune, too, that lavished attention on Taylor’s jewelry, furs, and Cadillac—all of which were real.
As of 1976, Taylor had yet to be convicted of anything. She was facing charges that she’d bilked the government out of $8,000 using four aliases. When the welfare queen stood trial the next year, reporters packed the courtroom. Rather than try to win sympathy, Taylor seemed to enjoy playing the scofflaw. As witnesses described her brazen pilfering from public coffers, she remained impassive, an unrepentant defendant bedecked in expensive clothes and oversize hats.
Linda Taylor, the haughty thief who drove her Cadillac to the public aid office, was the embodiment of a pernicious stereotype. With her story, Reagan marked millions of America’s poorest people as potential scoundrels and fostered the belief that welfare fraud was a nationwide epidemic that needed to be stamped out. This image of grand and rampant welfare fraud allowed Reagan to sell voters on his cuts to public assistance spending. The “welfare queen” became a convenient villain, a woman everyone could hate. She was a lazy black con artist, unashamed of cadging the money that honest folks worked so hard to earn.
After her welfare fraud trial in 1977, Taylor went to prison, and the newspapers moved on to covering the next outlandish villain. When her sentence was up, she changed her name and left Chicago, and the cops who had pursued her in Illinois lost track of her whereabouts. None of the police officers I talked to knew whether she was still alive.
When I set out in search of Linda Taylor, I hoped to find the real story of the woman who played such an outsize role in American politics—who she was, where she came from, and what her life was like before and after she became the national symbol of unearned prosperity. What I found was a woman who destroyed lives, someone far more depraved than even Ronald Reagan could have imagined. In the 1970s alone, Taylor was investigated for homicide, kidnapping, and baby trafficking. The detective who tried desperately to put her away believes she’s responsible for one of Chicago’s most legendary crimes, one that remains unsolved to this day. Welfare fraud was likely the least of the welfare queen’s offenses.
The poor and the middle class are falling behind, and it has nothing to do with the 1 percent
Kevin D. Williamson writes: President Barack Obama gave a very silly speech in which he affirmed that economic inequality is to be the centerpiece of his remaining time in office. He has made similar suggestions about other issues — global warming and gun control, notably — and, President Obama being President Obama, it is very likely the case that his laser-like focus will consist of a series of speeches and very little else. The politics of the moment will determine which issue actually gets his attention, though he could go with his admirers at Washington Monthly, who contend that some of them are the same issue: Mass shootings, Daniel Luzer argues in a particularly batty piece of connect-the-imaginary-dots, has “everything to do with the distribution of wealth in America.”
It is difficult to take President Obama seriously on these issues, but it is difficult to not take seriously Josh Barro and Paul Krugman, both of whom have offered what seem to me to be inconclusive arguments, Mr. Barro under the headline “Sorry, Libertarians, Inequality Does Matter,” Professor Krugman under “Why Inequality Matters.” Strangely, neither of these erudite gentlemen quite manages to establish that inequality matters.
Mr. Barro writes: “Economic growth is not the same thing as well-being. The point of economic growth is that it leads to improvements in standards of living. If the gains from economic growth are not broadly shared, but instead accrue disproportionately to people already at the top of the income distribution, then a lot of economic growth will only generate a little improvement in living standards for most people. For this reason, rising inequality is a problem even if it does not hold back GDP.” This is true in a sense, but it reverses cause and effect: Incomes among the bottom half of earners are not stagnating because of increasing inequality; inequality is increasing because incomes among the bottom half of earners is stagnating. It could have been the case that incomes among the bottom half of earners were stagnating while incomes for the top half were absolutely crashing, in which case you would have a situation in which there was less inequality but everybody was worse off, or at least no better off. Conversely, we could have an economy in which the poor and the middle class see strong gains in their income and their wealth, but the very well off experience twice those gains, which would mean a society of increasing inequality in which everybody is better off. I have encountered progressives who state their preference for the outcome in which we are all poorer but more equal over the outcome in which we are all richer but less equal, which puzzles me.
Paul Krugman, Republican
- “Here’s the world as many Republicans see it: Unemployment insurance, which generally pays eligible workers between 40 and 50 percent of their previous pay, reduces the incentive to search for a new job. As a result, the story goes, workers stay unemployed longer.”–former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, New York Times, Dec. 9
- “Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of ‘Eurosclerosis,’ the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.”–“Macroeconomics” by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells, second edition, 2009
How A Progressive Regresses
Kevin Glass writes: Ever since President Obama endorsed a federal minimum wage hike in his State of the Union speech, progressives have lined up in lockstep support. Economists, bloggers, tv hosts all have come out saying that a minimum wage hike is clearly the right move. You’d be forgiven if you thought that it’s been a very short while since the very existence of a minimum wage was considered controversial.
In the late 1980s, the New York Times advocated for an abolition of the minimum wage. With 25 more years of research, much of it showing that the minimum wage is an inefficient distortion of labor markets, the New York Times reversed position and advocated for a minimum wage hike to historic highs.
But old white Democratic males are okay
Dennis Prager writes: The latest left-wing tactic to discredit conservative views is to dismiss the age and race of conservatives. “Old white males” and “old white people” are the Left’s latest favored negative epithets for those holding conservative views.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC, Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman of the New York Times, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid (“angry old white men”) are among the many on the left who have used this epithet.
Last week, on her nightly MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow showed a picture of an ad for Washington, D.C., talk-radio station WRC that featured the station’s talk-show hosts. You will notice, she said, that they are all “old white Republican males.” It was brought to my attention because I am one of those talk show hosts. (And, it should be noted, nearly all of my colleagues and I are younger than her colleague, Chris Matthews, an old white Democratic male.)
What is going on here?
The answer is: quite a bit. The Left’s dismissal of old people is much more than another left-wing ad hominem attack. Therefore, to understand it is to understand much of what animates leftism.
Loves it. Truly, madly, deeply. Can’t make it through a news cycle without reading every page. Generously linking to NYT articles, daily. Sometimes, multiple articles in a single day.
Unbeknownst to the rest of us, apparently, It’s a must-read paper! Can’t miss it. While many of us could go several weeks without reading a single word of the increasingly-irrelevant New York Times Editorial page, even several months, and not miss a thing, or even notice, the folks at Hot Air? Unthinkable! Hot Air staff would be in acute withdrawal, if they miss a single day.
Bravo, Times Editors. You’ve got fans in conservative media, some of them depend on you, and hang on every word! A toast to Brooks, Krugman, Friedman, security guards, janitors, everyone. To the whole NYT staff and management. Courageous talents, tastemakers, and trendsetters in Manhattan media, your input is truly needed. Keep up the good work.
“You have mischaracterized and you have lied about every position and every particular of the Ryan plan on Medicare from the efficiency of Medicare administration to calling it a voucher plan, so you’re hardly credible on calling someone else a liar.”
–Mary Matalin to Paul Krugman on ABC’s This Week
via >> The Corner
- Krugman Makes a Fool of Himself: ‘The Press Just Doesn’t Know How to Handle Flat Out Untruths’ (newsbusters.org)
- Krugman on Medicare vs Vouchercare (americablog.com)
- Mary Matalin Calls Paul Krugman A Liar (radio.foxnews.com)
- Mary Matalin Calls Paul Krugman A ‘Liar’ For Telling The Truth (supersaiyan.newsvine.com)
- Mary Matalin Calls Paul Krugman A Liar (alan.com)