Trip­ping over in­come in­equal­ity with in­tel­lec­tual shoelaces

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY CHARLES HURT

ABOCA GRANDE PASS 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, it 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 and on Twit­ter @charleshurt.

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