He is at it again. Paul Krugman took a few moment away from polishing his Nobel medal to write his column for the New York Times. Unwilling to look into the reasons for the crisis, disinclined from providing solutions on how to get our way out of it, Krugman instead relies on vitriol for readership.
In an attempt to overshadow his own flaming contempt for all things conservative, he attempts to channel other people’s anger at some amorphous thing. “Anger is sweeping America,” Krugman writes . “[T]he angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.”
The “they” Krugman is referring to is the “rich” people in America. He argues (wrongly) that they are angry that President Obama is considering allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for top earners.
To be fair to Krugman, rich people are very upset with the way President Obama is running this country. But I have come across no instance in which they have openly complained about the tax cuts. For instance, Steve Forbes, whom Krugman mentions pointedly in his article, ran a cover story arguing that “Barack Obama is the most antibusiness president in history.” The story goes on to lament many of the President’s policies, everything from questionable offshore drilling decisions to his foolish reliance on stimulus, but nowhere does it mention the Bush-era tax cuts.
There are other wealthy individuals, many of them previous Barack Obama donors, who are beginning to come down hard on the President. Daniel S. Loeb is perhaps chief among them. Loeb, a registered Democrat, penned a letter to his investors saying that, “So long as our leaders tell us that we must trust them to regulate and redistribute our way back to prosperity, we will not break out of this economic quagmire.”
Or Paul Ottelini, CEO of Intel, who has criticized Obama because he “does not understand what it takes to create jobs. And I think they’re flummoxed by their experiment in Keynesian economics not working.”
These are the kinds of people Krugman is referring to when he says “craziness has gone mainstream. . . When it comes to defending the interests of the rich, it seems, the normal rules of civilized (and rational) discourse no longer apply.” None of the critiques he mentions even so much as skirts the boundary of “crazy.” These are smart, rational, and yes, wealthy, people who are laying out the economic case against President Obama’s policies.
They argue many things. They argue that the burdensome regulations found in many bills are diminishing their profit margins. They argue that having the second highest corporate tax rates in the world are driving down our ability to compete globally. They argue that enormous policy shifts like healthcare reform and uncertainty over capital gains taxes are driving up uncertainty while depressing hiring. But nowhere, nowhere, have I seen any of the rich businessmen complain that Obama is killing America because he wants to let tax cuts for the upper classes expire.
Instead, the people I hear complaining are economists. A new poll from CNN Money found that 60 percent argued that the best thing to do to help the economy would be to extend cut for all taxpayers. Only 10 percent said that we should extend tax cuts for only the middle class. As one of the surveyed economists said, “extend tax cuts for all income levels and do nothing else. More of the same piecemeal, patchwork policies put forth by this administration will undermine confidence and do little to change the path the economy is on.” The rich people aren’t the ones complaining, if for no other reason than they don’t have to, economists and politicians (including a good number of Democrats) are making the case for them – that it simply make no economic sense.
Nevertheless, Krugman sticks to his straw man argument – that rich people are bristling at the notion at paying higher taxes because of some “belligerent sense of entitlement.” He then goes on to lament the “spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity.”
That statement is the encapsulation of everything that is wrong with Krugman’s post. Nevemind that he wrongly imputes a position onto the rich that they themselves have not taken, the fact that he calls them “the world’s luckiest people” explains everything. This belies the growing liberal notion that the rich are the oppressive class. That they were only able to amass such wealth by plundering the poor and ripping off the rest of society. Moreover, they achieved this, not because of some unique skill or hard work, no, their only claim to success is luck. And it is because of this luck that America should not feel bad when we take what they have been given away. They didn’t earn it, they simply lucked into it, so there is no moral injustice is seizing it.
But in this free market society that we call America successful people make their own luck. Their hard work and skills put them at the right place at the right time to succeed. That isn’t to say that many people aren’t suffering, it’s to say that the wealthy are a scapegoat from the larger problems.
Krugman had it right – anger is sweeping America. But if the wealthy are furious, it is because the economic policies of Barack Obama are killing their businesses’ income, not because they have to pay more income taxes.
by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee