A French “thinker” writes a book about global poverty and, predictably, The New York Times goes limp in the knees.
All out was the putsch last week by the Gray Lady’s opinion staff to promote the book aimed at toppling the evil rich around the world. Leading this charge was the paper’s famous, bearded Marxist Emeritus columnist Paul Krugman.
Mr. Krugman is, he tells us, an expert on income inequality.
“I’ve been involved in debates over inequality for more than two decades, and have yet to see conservative ‘experts’ manage to dispute the numbers without tripping over their own intellectual shoelaces.”
So high has Mr. Krugman scaled the heights of income inequality that City University of New York, it was revealed earlier this month, will pay him $225,000 to talk about said income inequality. (That really is true.)
As Kermit the Frog taught us, it ain’t easy bein’ green.
In his screed last week about wealth, however, Mr. Krugman failed to mention his latest windfall from the public university that could feed a starving village in Mali for years. Indeed, Mr. Krugman knows how to keep his intellectual shoelaces tied!
Anyway, the book is called Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It was written by some guy named Thomas Piketty, which — I am sorry — just doesn’t sound very French to me. That — along with the praise heaped upon him by Mr. Krugman — has me thinking “fraud.”
In the book, apparently, this guy Mr. Piketty looks around and discovers that there are some seriously rich people in the world. Then he goes someplace else or sends assistants someplace else or turns on his television and discovers that there are some seriously poor people in the world, too.
Now you have to forgive me if I don’t get all the book’s details down right as I have not read the book. And I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover so I have scrupulously avoided even looking at the cover for Capital, which is what we sophisticates apparently call it for short when we talk about it. Like Mr. Krugman, I like to keep my intellectual shoelaces tied.
Anyway, Mr. Piketty apparently says the only way to address “income inequality” is to slap massive new taxes on rich people all over the world. But this new global IRS would not tax the income of these filthy rich people around the globe, but rather take away what they already own.
Mr. Krugman is breathless over this new, “serious, discourse-changing” idea.
The book is a “bona fide phenomenon,” he said. “And conservatives are terrified.”
Just four columns to the left on the very same opinion page on the very same day is just one of those terrified conservatives, dutifully touting “The Piketty Phenomenon.”
You see, the Gray Lady is so slavishly devoted to “diversity” that she employed her “conservative” opinion writer to boost the book, too.
David Brooks is a New York Times kind of conservative. By which I mean he sounds very intellectual and he is boring enough for public television.
If this new global IRS begins pillaging the current possessions of the rich, Mr. Brooks reasons, “Think of what would happen to the Manhattan or Bay Area real estate markets.”
“Think about how much more affordable fine art would be.”
It is not entirely clear that Mr. Brooks is actually embracing this New World Order IRS, but he does say fairly complimentary things about the book. Such as, it is “very good” and “interesting.”
But what is truly shocking here is that nobody in the New York Times stable of diversity seems to remotely grasp what “conservatives” find so offensive here. It is not that people don’t see the vast inequalities or that people somehow oppose level playing fields.
Quite the opposite. People realize that those in power use governments to pick winners and losers, therefore obliterating level playing fields.
And with the small-time grifter governments we now have so shamelessly tossing $225,000 to columnists who shamelessly promote the power of said governments, just think of the universal atrocities that some new global IRS would cause.
You know the really great thing about getting $225,000 from a public university to talk about “income inequality?” You can afford to buy yourself the most expensive pair of French loafers and never again worry about keeping your intellectual shoelaces tied.
Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @charleshurt.