A new book by French economist Thomas Piketty on “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has recently caused a major stir on the opinion pages of newspapers and magazines. Piketty has resurrected from the ash heap of history Karl Marx’s claim that capitalism inescapably leads to a worsening unequal distribution of wealth with dangerous consequences for human society.
Tagged: Income Inequality
The real inequality problem is that of the Two Americas: not divided between one that is rich and one that is poor, but between one that is protected by government and another is punished by it. It’s a class war, yes, but not along economic lines – instead, it runs along the lines of the unprotected vs. the protected.
Few French economists have achieved the kind of adulation Thomas Piketty has experienced recently from the media and the left. Within the context of the American political scene, Piketty’s dour predictions for the future of capitalism and his call for a “utopian” global wealth tax fit perfectly with the left’s frame of an inequality message.
The only way to permanently rid a society of a ‘gap’ in either wealth or income is by making everybody equally poor. If nobody has any more wealth than anybody else, then nobody can be ‘wealthy.’
President Obama’s speech yesterday on inequality is being lauded as one of the best of his life, by people who paid attention to it. It’s a sad speech to read, in some sense, since it contains within it the promise of a presidency that we never saw come to fruition – the sort of policy effort that might have been launched to bipartisan success in the first year of his presidency, instead of his effort on Obamacare.
In February, 2009, I wrote for the Wall Street Journal an article entitled Reaganomics versus Obamanomics. The article explained that the emerging Obamanomics was pursuing exactly the opposite of every policy of the[…]