18 Jan 2012

A Modest Proposal

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Donald J. Boudreaux, at Cafe Hayek, makes a telling philosophical point about the inherent inconsistency of elite liberals’ obsession with inequality of income.

Paul Krugman agonizes [daily] over data that show high American income inequality. …

[W]hy focus on inequality of monetary incomes? What about other inequalities, such as the inequality of influence in public-policy debates? Mr. Krugman is certainly a one-percenter on this front. (Indeed, he’s a 0.001-percenter!)

Shouldn’t government ‘redistribute’ parts of Mr. Krugman’s New York Times column to me and other pundits who (according to the theory) can’t help but seethe with soul-shriveling envy at Mr. Krugman’s good fortune – good fortune that (also according to the theory) has less to do with Mr. Krugman’s merits as a columnist and more to do either with chance or with his pernicious and unfair influence with the Powers-that-Be?

Surely every ‘Progressive’ believes that those of us who now possess far less access than does Mr. Krugman to the opinion pages of the Times deserve to enjoy more of the access that he currently “controls.” And no ‘Progressive’ would let mere bourgeois obsessions with property rights and freedom block the state from forcibly redistributing such private property in the name of “social justice.”

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

2 Feedbacks on "A Modest Proposal"


There continues to be this incorrect premise that liberals’ objective is equality. Their objective is to have the power to redistribute resources toward people and uses that they favor and away from those that people choose when they are free to do so. Words like “equality” and “diversity” simply give better cover. Ask anyone who lived in the Soviet Union if equality was really the guiding principle there.


Agreed, SDD. The liberals objective as I see it is to redistribute resources to factions that will continue to re-elect them. Re-election is a 365 day a year job, since we abandoned term limits.


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