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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Paul Krugman, "Oligarchy, American Style": The Protesters Have It Basically Right?

In his New York Times op-ed entitled "Oligarchy, American Style" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/opinion/oligarchy-american-style.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss), Paul Krugman warns of the consequences of allowing America's rich to become richer and declares that "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy."

Krugman also swipes at fellow New York Times columnist David Brooks, who several days ago wrote an op-ed entitled "The Wrong Inequality" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/opinion/brooks-the-wrong-inequality.html?_r=1&ref=opinion), which concluded that lack of higher education is the most important barrier to economic equality. Krugman writes in response:

"Whenever growing income disparities threaten to come into focus, a reliable set of defenders tries to bring back the blur. Think tanks put out reports claiming that inequality isn’t really rising, or that it doesn’t matter. Pundits try to put a more benign face on the phenomenon, claiming that it’s not really the wealthy few versus the rest, it’s the educated versus the less educated."

Raise taxes on Americans in the highest income percentile? I have no problem with that, although it won't make a dent in the budget deficit or national debt. On the other hand, I find it offensive in the extreme when Krugman seeks to justify the moral rectitude of Occupy Wall Street. Krugman would have us know:

"That is, the protesters who portray themselves as representing the interests of the 99 percent have it basically right, and the pundits solemnly assuring them that it’s really about education, not the gains of a small elite, have it completely wrong."

OWS "has it basically right"? As reported by MSNBC regarding the OWS protests in Oakland (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45144941/ns/us_news-life/):

"Police in riot gear arrested more than 80 protesters in downtown Oakland, where bands of masked protesters took over a vacant building, erected roadblocks and threw chunks of concrete and firebombs. Five people and several officers were injured."

I agree with Krugman when he writes that "our political system is being warped by the influence of big money." Presumably, this includes fund raising activity undertaken by Jon Corzine on behalf of Obama and the J Street subterfuges of George Soros. However, I am nauseated when Krugman chooses to ignore the psychosis of Occupy Wall Street.

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