Monday, September 20, 2010

Paul Krugman is Part of "The Rest of Us"? I Don't Think So

Hmmm. Paul Krugman, Ph.D. (from MIT) and now a Princeton professor, actually is jus' plain folks. No, he doesn't like those millionaires, and he realizes that if the top tax rate is lifted from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, not only will the economy get a boost, but those strange, rich people will get their comeuppance.

This is hilarious. But, Krugman is making the claim, not me. He writes:
You see, the rich are different from you and me: they have more influence. It’s partly a matter of campaign contributions, but it’s also a matter of social pressure, since politicians spend a lot of time hanging out with the wealthy. So when the rich face the prospect of paying an extra 3 or 4 percent of their income in taxes, politicians feel their pain — feel it much more acutely, it’s clear, than they feel the pain of families who are losing their jobs, their houses, and their hopes.
Sorry, people, Krugman the populist doesn't cut it. I've met the guy, talked to him at length, and I can tell you that he ain't plain folks. If there ever were an elitist, it is Krugman.

Let's get serious about wealth. Krugman is a millionaire, and I suspect that his mid-six-figure salary at Princeton perhaps may pay some of his taxes. This guy makes millions of dollars a year from his speeches (I don't know his fee, but it probably is close to $100K a pop), his NYT column, his textbooks, and his other books.

Keep in mind that I am not criticizing him for making this money. Granted, the textbook market is not a free market as such, but most of his wealth is earned the old-fashioned way: He sells products and services to willing customers.

However, when Krugman tries to tell us that "other" rich are bad people (unless they are like George Soros, who funds a gaggle of left-wing organizations), he fails to mention that he is wealthier than many of the people he claims should have their income confiscated in large chunks because, well, they don't spend their money quickly enough.

There is another problem as well, and that is Krugman's insistence that if government keeps the top marginal tax rate at 35 percent, it is "giving" something to the wealthy. Let me give an analogy. Say that I break into Krugman's house with a few of my armed friends, and I take his big-screen TV, some furniture, and other nice things.

However, I decide that I will not take Krugman's new laptop. Now according to Krugman's view of the world, I am "giving" him a laptop because I have not confiscated it. (Yes, breaking and entering a house and taking the contents is theft; when the government breaks into and enters your bank account, that is called "taxation.")

So, if Krugman is going to get angry at all of those rich people, then I hope that if the tax rates are left at 35 percent, he will voluntarily give the portion that was not taxed (since he is in that tax bracket himself) and give it either to the government or to a worthy charity, or to the poor.


jgo said...

You make me wonder how George Soros (a student of Karl R. Popper, a co-founder of the Mont Pelerin Society), could have turned out to be such a slimey-shrewd leftist and viciously rabid funder of radical leftists.

Dan said...

Keeping the marginal rate at 35% is a "gift" to the wealthy. Let's not forget that the Bush tax cuts were completely unfunded. Our citizens, including the rich, have been demanding much more from the federal government than they have been willing to pay in taxes over the past 10 years.

So to tweak your analogy, I'd say that the robbers in your house are actually repo men that have come to collect your goods to pay your creditors, and they're doing you a favor by leaving the laptop!

ToddO said...

"Our citizens, including the rich, have been demanding much more from the federal government than they have been willing to pay in taxes over the past 10 years." This is so laughable, I could almost cry. The main people demanding "more" from the government are the neo-con trash like Bill Krystol and Dick Cheney along with the coastal socio-elitists like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Outside of them, its the unions and the AARP (aka the collectivists), big pharma and ADM (the cronyists). The rest of us people would just like the federal government to stay within in its 9th and 10th Amendment boundaries.

Dan said...

"The rest of us people would just like the federal government to stay within in its 9th and 10th Amendment boundaries."

The rest of us wouldn't be all those folks who were in town halls last summer screaming about potential cuts to their Medicare & Social Security would it?

Do you think its a coincidence that when the fine people of the tea party movement speak of cutting government the words Medicare, Social Security, and national defense never cross their lips? Those plus interest on the debt constitute what...70+% of the federal budget?

burkll13 said...

"Medicare, Social Security, and national defense never cross their lips? Those plus interest on the debt constitute what...70+% of the federal budget? "

if you get your view of the tea parties from MSNBC and Palin, sure. theres another whole wing who talks about those issues regularly. the Ron Paul guard has been talking national Offense, social security (which has been talked about on here as well), and medicare/medicaid.

ruralcounsel said...

Repo men? Really, Dan? Only if you presume that all taxpayers consent to their governments expenditures and are recipients of its largesse. Methinks the repo men have broken into the wrong house. The wealth redistributionist proclivities of our government for the past 70 years makes an utter complete lie.

"In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile."

Dan said...

Of course not all taxpayers, but a majority has right? After all, the politicians that have driven the debt of the past 30 years have all been democratically elected...

I understand that you would probably be more comfortable in a Mad Max kind of world where the nation devolves into feuding tribes of survivalists...but until that happens we still owe the bills! free!

jason h said...

Oh I see how it works, tyranny of the majority. So 51% vote in favor of the other 49% paying all the taxes.

And of course all those whose support smaller government and lower taxes are automatically violent barbarians who reject rule of law. You said it yourself Dan, cutting Medicare, Social security, and Defense spending would go a long way. Seems life would go on.

However did we educate our children and grow our food without the blessing of the Dept. of Education and USDA?

Bob Roddis said...

Since Chartalists eschew morality, the winning 51% majority could simply vote to eat the losing 49%. And which is an almost accurate model of third-world multi-ethnic democratic socialism brought to them courtesy of our western “elites”.

Dan said...

OK Bob you just got a little bit too Newt Gingrichy...or is that Mike Tyson?

C HC said...

I agree that is is odd that Krugman seems to be condemning the wealthy, when surely he is one of them. I even found your blog because I was trying to confirm my suspision that he mad at leat $400,000.

BUT, in his column he is not saying he opposes rich folks. He's saying he opposes those who are overly-protective of their excess, who object to paying higher taxes.

I think Krugman would be completely willing to pay such taxes. So, he is not a hypocrit.

He just put in a stupid line--"you and me." But his intentions and point remain acceptable.

london_clash said...

He never claimed to be one of "us". He is a highly-credentialed academic, one of the most cited economists in the entire WORLD.
But of course in order to make this argument you had to first make the false assumption that he is out masquerading as one of the 99%.
Charlotte, he isn't condemning wealthy people for being wealthy, he condemns unethical people who happen to have enough money to matter. As an economist, and a human being, Krugman probably believes himself deserving of whatever six-figure salary he makes and requires that incentive to continue doing what he does. This is a simple economic principle.