“They’re not accustomed to being engaged in politics this way,” says a private-equity investor. “Their skin isn’t toughened. They actually take [the attacks by Obama] personally. This is a profession with a lot of smart people, but who aren’t necessarily terribly introspective. They think they actually deserve to make all this money. So any attack on their livelihood is, ahem, unpleasant.”
Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?
In lieu of real posting, here’s an excerpt from a discussion I’m having on a message board:
Didn’t trickle-down economics fail pretty spectacularly under Reagan? Look, the the gulf between the rich and poor makes us look like we’re back in the roaring twenties:
In the last 30 years, the real income of the median household only rose 13 percent, but the income of the top 0.1% of Americans rose 296 percent. The capital gains tax rate is currently at its lowest rate ever (only 15%) Somehow, I just can’t feel like the ultra-rich are being squeezed to death.
(graph via Krugman)